Newtown bar The Midnight Special is taking over the Northern Foyer of the Opera House’s Concert Hall for Vivid. It’s the second year in a row the dive bar has crafted an immersive drinking experience in the space for the festival, after turning it into the ’70s-themed Goldie’s Music Hall last year. The 2019 iteration will see the foyer – blessed with one of the best views in the city – converted into a bar that reflects the moody opulence of Dutch still-life paintings and new-wave punk music.
British post-punk band The Cure are the headline Vivid Live act this year, and the inspiration for the bar’s aesthetic. It’s been named Spellbound, after a Siouxsie and the Banshees song of the same name. Cure frontman Robert Smith toured with the Banshees and has expressed his admiration of the group in the past.
Long banquet tables decorated with illuminated fruit centrepieces, bouquets of flowers in pewter urns, sheet music and skulls will sit under neon lights. Black-felt pool tables and leather lounges will top off the gothic look.
On the menu you’ll find brioche sliders with confit duck rillettes and traditional croque monsieur sandwiches (choose from mushroom or grilled ham and cheese). The Midnight Special team has crafted botanical cocktails made with Pyewackets shrubs, and there’ll be beer from Aussie breweries Young Henrys, Moo Brew and Grifter Brewing Co.
Local DJs including Lucy Cliché, Mitch Tolman and Cristian O'Sullivan of Low Life, and Will Harley (Straight Arrows, BB & the Blips) will spin ’80s tracks to create a similar vibe to the Blitz club in London, which cultivated some of the biggest artists of the New Romantic movement, including Boy George, Billy Idol and Sade. Expect tunes from New Order, Iggy Pop and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds to fill the opulent space.
Spellbound runs from May 24 to June 3. Entry is free and open to the public.