Last night industry, regulars and friends of legendary Melbourne bar Black Pearl, donned their childhood-dream-like best to celebrate the Fitzroy institution’s tenth birthday.
Dressing to the theme “What you wanted to be when you grew up” guests were transported back to the schoolyard, as Australia’s spiritual home of bartending turned into a one-night only grown-up’s version of a tuckshop: redskin infused negronis, vodka jellies, fairy floss and Monkey Shoulder banana milkshakes.
The sugar-rush paused momentarily as Sean Baxter and Rossco Charman auctioned off each Black Pearl bartender, raising in excess of $10,000. The night also saw the launch of the Black Pearl 2013 Calendar (think moobs, strategically placed hats, and tats). Copies are available over the bar for $20, and all proceeds (along with those from the night) go to prostate cancer research.
Bar culture in Australia has never been stronger, and as competition intensifies – most notably in Sydney where at this time of year, new bar openings are a weekly occurrence – Time Outer’s are repeatedly asked the question “What makes a good bar?” The staff? The decor? The service? The location? 7 burly blokes astride the bar butt naked?
Perhaps there’s an element of all those things (save the last) – but if the Pearl, rightly regarded by many as Australia’s spiritual home of bartending is anything to measure against, a heartfelt sentiment from owner Tash Conde bears contemplation. She didn’t speak long, but in thanking her guests, she concluded, “Hopefully we can enjoy each other’s company for another 10 years.”
We’ll drink to that.