Rockpool Dining Group will salute the legendary lobby bars of the world when it raises the curtain on R Bar at Crown Towers Melbourne on Friday, 26 July.
Rockpool Dining Group has taken over the space that was formerly The Waiting Room and managed by Crown Melbourne (Rockpool last operated the space in 2012).
Exuding Art Deco glamour and inspired by the Golden Age of cocktails, R Bar brings an elevated bar experience and fine craftmanship to the lobby of Crown Towers, where it is nestled alongside Rockpool Bar & Grill.
R Bar seats 110 guests, including 16 in an intimate private bar. The drinks focus is on barrel-aged cocktails, martini service, a rotating line-up of hotel bar classics, and contemporary creations featuring Australian spirits and native ingredients and garnishes. A hit list of gourmet, delicatessen-inspired bites and classic bar snacks is available from breakfast until late.
R Bar is a little bit luxe with a whole lot of soul. The design palette is a plush ensemble of dark timber, bronze mirror panelling, sweeping velvet curtains and curved banquette seating. The double-height space heroes a creeping chandelier of hand-blown black, clear and amber glass, and 40 sculptural pendants by Glowing Structures in collaboration with local glass artist Mark Douglass. A show-stopping wall of barrels aging spirits and pre-batched cocktails makes another big impact.
This dazzling, bucket-list bar with an elegant lobby backdrop is the perfect events destination, accommodating up to 300 guests cocktail-style, including up to 40 cocktail-party guests in the private bar.
Rockpool Dining Group Culinary Director Neil Perry said R Bar is a one-of-a-kind, hotel lobby bar experience in Australia.
“R Bar is an ode to the cocktail of the Great Gatsby era,” he said. “We’ve taken our inspiration from some of the world’s best hotel lobby bars and put our Rockpool spin on it, which means working with boutique Australian producers and distillers and adding our signature razzle dazzle to the drinks list and fabulous food offerings.”
“I’d go as far as to say that the barrel aging that we’re doing on site is on the largest scale in the country, with amazing cocktails aging gracefully in thirty 20-litre barrels that we’ve turned into a dramatic feature wall.”
Breakfast includes a selection of panini, pastries and croissants, house-made crumpets and health-boosting items such as superfood bowls and breakfast rice with bananas and organic honey. Sri Lankan tea by Somage and Lavazza coffee sit alongside fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies, and breakfast cocktails including strawberry and rhubarb Bellini topped with prosecco, and Bloody Mary, featuring Ketel One vodka, tomato juice and jalapeño shrub.
From 11am, the menu moves on to a spray of oysters, a caviar service, tinned fish, olives, charcuterie and cheese. Savouries and snacks include skewers, crostini, finger sandwiches and hot items such as arancini, crab cakes and meatballs with sugo.
More substantial items include classic salads such as Caesar, Waldorf and Russian; burgers and pies; and sandwiches that hero everything from the humble chip butty to The God Mother, which is an artful build of seven cold meats, lettuce, onion, tomato, pickled chilli and hot sauce that is inspired by Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica.
House-crafted desserts and pastries include cream scones, chocolate profiteroles, lamingtons and macarons. Weekends bring an afternoon tea tray service, with two options: a classic collection of finger sandwiches, savouries and pastries, paired with French-pressed coffee and Somage teas, and a more indulgent offering with caviar and French Champagne.
R Bar delivers classic and contemporary cocktails with equal measure. Barrel-aged cocktails, including Negroni, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Boulevardier, Sazerac and Vieux Carré, are aged for a minimum of 30 days in a combination of port, sherry and bourbon 20-litre barrels that have been broken down and repurposed for R Bar by Tasmanian Cask Co. Barrels from iconic Australian wineries, such as Seppeltsfield, and American whiskey heavyweight Woodford have also been repurposed into custom-made casks for R Bar.
A sophisticated martini service features all-Australian produce and spirits and delivers two wet, two mid and two dry vodka and gin martinis that are poured and garnished table-side.
L-R: Davidson Plum, Bloody Mary, Manhattan, Gone Bush
With a nod to some of the world’s most iconic cocktails first created in a hotel bar, a rotating showcase will kick off with the legendary Singapore Sling served at Raffles Hotel in Singapore, the Bellini from Harry’s Bar, and the incredible Manhattan Sour from Manhattan’s Bar. R Bar’s own creations span sours, spritzes and fizzes.
Spirits from a rotating cast of Australian distillers will be given a cocktail finish, while others will see their raw spirits barrel-finished on site, including rye from Tasmanian distillery Belgrove. An exciting partnership with Victoria’s Starward Distillery will follow.