Entering Stellas, the listening bar upstairs at the Saint Hotel, your eye might be drawn to the green marble bar, to a bartender charring the top of a cocktail with a blowtorch, or to the glamorous people seated around the room.
But they all play second fiddle to the towering audiophile-grade speakers, made by Hobart-based audio company Pitt & Giblin. The three-metre-high beasts pack twin subwoofers in their bases and gorgeous bronze cones at head height. Each one is work of art in itself – and Stellas has two of them, the first pair ever built.
Pitt & Giblin also designed and built the bar’s handsome DJ booth, and chose the high-end Varia Instruments rotary mixer that sits inside. Built in Switzerland, it looks like something rescued from a World War II aircraft. DJs chosen by Wat Artists work it on a monthly basis, playing afro, jazz, funk, house and more until 3am.
Here, eating and drinking are just as important as listening. The food menu lifts grown-up snacks and small plates from the downstairs menu, so you can eat well without touching cutlery. There are cheese boards and charcuterie platters, prawn katsu sandos on house-baked shokupan, duck croquettes with pickled plums, and dainty parmesan choux pastries stuffed with sauteed mushrooms.
Beer and wine are on hand, but a quick flick through the technique-driven menu could have you in the mood for cocktails. The Funky Kong, for example, consists of Starward Two Fold whisky, Killik Silver Rum, spicy mole bitters, toasted koji and coconut water.
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