What would Thor do if he built a badass carvery and whiskey bar today? That's the exact question master barman Sven Almenning asked himself as he opens his latest boozy business venture, Mjølner. Owner and director of The Speakeasy Group — which operates Eau De Vie and The Roosevelt as well as Boilermaker Housee in Melbourne — Almenning is no stranger to fancy digs. Still, it's safe to say that Mjølner is his most audacious project yet.
Opening tonight — 'Thorsday', March 30 — in an old tobacco factory on Cleveland Street, Mjølner takes its name from the thunder god's mighty hammer, with Almenning describing the venue as "contemporary Viking luxe".
"Imagine that The Avengers are real," Almenning said when we spoke to him last year. "One of the Avengers is Thor, the Norse God, and he's the protector of human kind. So he fights down on earth, but he misses home. So he builds this bar, to recreate the feasts and merriment of Valhalla. And that, my friend, is what we are doing."
As for the drinks list, think whiskey — they'll have around 600. "My business partner and I have been wanting to do a heavily whiskey-focused bar in Sydney after we opened Boilermaker down in Melbourne [in 2015]," says Almenning.
But as great as that much whiskey sounds, what we're really excited about is the food. "We're running with a carvery, which will kind of happen in your face in the restaurant," he says. "So you'll be able to sit there and we'll have the chefs out with big-ass knives cutting up big bits of meat. It's going to get bloody."
The rotating menu will feature one red meat, one white meat, one fish and one vego dish, as well the whole animal, like a whole suckling pig (if you're lucky). When you order, you'll be presented with a leather-bound selection of hunting knives to choose to eat your dinner with. This is just one of the quirks of the venue — you can also drink your beer out of one of the communal horns that sit on the table or purchase a piece of meat and store it in one of their meat lockers for return visits.
The 300-square-metre venue, which is part of a new development, will be open from 5pm Tuesday through Saturday and then from midday on Sundays. "Closing at midnight unfortunately, because it's Sydney," says Almenning ruefully. "I'd love a 3am license."
Mjølner will open at 267 Cleveland Street, Redfern from 5pm on Thursday, March 30. For more info and to book a table, visit mjolner.com.