Out of Africa – and into the CBD: Melbourne gets a double shot of African-inspired fun in one little building
We’d happily whittle an evening away drinking crisp African beer and gnawing on biltong at Polēpolē, but now we’ve got a reason to head upstairs: Glamp, the second African-inspired watering hole in what was once the Kitten Club. Both bars are captained by fun, young husband-and-wife team Dean and Jeanelle Mariani – they’ve got a crush on the continent, thanks to a four-month trekking trip in 2011.
Polēpolē’s fitout is pretty restrained; Glamp’s (courtesy of Studio Equator, the creative agency behind Bluetrain, Alumbra and Salon De Sushi) is more Carry On Up The Jungle. There’s an indoor safari tent with cushions and curtains, a life-sized rhinocerous called Heavyweight guarding the DJ decks and entrance, and a Lion’s Den with hand-painted walls, African hanging baskets and a psychedelic lion rug that Tony Montana would have killed for. The basket wall mural opposite the bar is a commissioned collaboration between two street artists – one from Cape Town, one from Melbourne. There are rumours of African drummers on Friday nights.
The same sense of fun extends to the cocktail list, devised by Ben Hehir (formerly bar manager of London’s L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon). Expect playfully named concoctions – Masai Warrior etc – flavoured with ginger, banana, marula fruit, rooibos and other regional teas.
Like South African-inspired Shebeen, Glamp has a serious side: Heavyweight was purchased from Taronga Zoo to help fund rhinoceros conservation, and Glamp will organise fundraising initiatives that will contribute directly to the not-for-profit organisations YGAP, which supports social entrepreneurs in Africa, and Women for Women in Africa, which supports Kibera, Africa’s largest slum.
Fun, boozy, tasty and good for the world. Cheers to that.
Level 2, 267 Little Collins Street
|Opening hours:||Wed-Sat 6pm-late|