Sydney’s The Rook and Melbourne’s Black Pearl Are Swapping Bars
Because you should never be too old to go on exchange.
April 30, 2014
Melburnian and Sydneysiding bartenders take their craft truly seriously. Twisting limes, straining shakers and floating on spoons in their sleep, these lovers of a good muddle are a proud, dedicated hoard.
But which city owns the mad skills: the salty sea dogs of Sydney or the metropolitan marauders from Melbourne? The convolutedly titled but cleverly programmed World Class World Cocktail Week has had enough of shouting over the fence. In a momentous stately exchange, Sydney and Melbourne will front up their finest three bartenders from two celebrated cocktail bars and swap venues for two evenings of pure exhibitionist swagger.
Melbourne’s Black Pearl will take over Sydney bar The Rook on Tuesday, May 13, to sprinkle a little Victorian savvy on the lobster-loving CBD bar. On Saturday, June 17, The Rook will return the visit, with bartenders Cristiano Beretta, Jason Williams and Rollo Anderson venturing south to claim the Black Pearl as their own. Both carefully crafted teams will be whipping up their own concoctions from the stores of each venue, undoubtedly provoking some smuggery at where certain bits and pieces are kept behind the bar.
Throwing down every last twist and roll, the grudge match forms part of the neat libation-loving event program of WCWCW. Carnivores will be able to pair their love of meat and liquor at the Newtown Hotel for ‘Meat Meets Whiskey’ (May 6 – May 13), where you can consume Bulleit Bourbon via bone luge, as well as many other meat-inflected concoctions. Vegetarians should probably avoid like the plague.
Sydney's Hinky Dinks and Melbourne's Belle's Diner will both be tempting their fair share of nostalgics with 'Pimp Your Shake'. That entails Zacapa rum-spiked milkshakes paired with heady American desserts — the Plenty a Platano is served with warm banana doughnuts and the Peanut Buttered Rum Shake with a slice of pecan pie ($22 each). There's also a nationwide #garnishoff happening on Instagram, and your dinky orange slice ain't going to cut it.
To brush up on your cocktail terminology and know what you’re looking for in an Old Fashioned, have a tipple with the bartenders in your city here and here. The end of Prohibition has never tasted so good.
World Class World Cocktail Week runs a series of Australia-wide events from May 6-13, curated by celebrated Sydney foodie Ms Darlinghurst. Check out the website for more information.