Food and Drink


Balvenie Craft Bar Closing Night

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If you’ve wandered down Flinders Lane this week, you may have wondered why, sitting plum between Russell and Swanston, a furniture store is filled with whiskey. And not just whiskey; Zenith Interiors has been transformed this week to showcase local Australian craftsmanship and celebrate the beauty of the handmade whilst paying tribute to Balvenie whiskey.

Scottish whiskey company The Balvenie prides itself on creating top quality whiskey on a traditional malting floor: a rare craft of sorts, with coopers at the casks and coppersmiths at the stills. The whiskey makers have teamed up with six craftspeople whose artistry, they believe, reflects their bespoke (slightly boozy) values.

Whiskey at the Balvenie Craft Bar comes in two forms: cocktails and flights. While the cocktails are smooth and sweet with honey water and plum bitters, the flights are matched with Bruny Island Cheese.

While you sip on the whiskey and nibble on the cheese, six cases show off the work of the craftspeople, whose contributions are also visible throughout the space. Metal smith Cinnamon Lee created the light fittings above the bar and also designed whiskey flasks for the event.

The musical creations of luthier Tim Kill feature prominently as his instruments play in the background. Works of glass blower Ruth Allen appear as part of a chandelier and as water bottles fashioned out of old Balvenie bottles. Furniture designer Brad Nicholls developed much of the furniture for the interior, while Kris and Kim Torma handcrafted the bar.

Although the Balvenie Craft Bar is only making a fleeting appearance in Melbourne, and can’t quite shake the atmosphere of being a promotion – albeit an engaging one – the attention it brings to the nuanced work of talented Australian craftspeople is invaluable. Moreover, everything is for sale. Head down tonight before it’s all over.

The Balvenie Pop Up is happening at Zenith Interiors, 179 Flinders Lane until Thurs 14 Nov.

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