Food and Drink

   

Aloha Sailor

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In this eclectic area of Collingwood, it’s tough to stand out as a landmark. As I wander back and forth for anything that could resemble a tiki lounge, I feel a bit lost; isn’t this something that would scream for attention? As I wander past the given address of 284 Smith Street and peek into The Noble Experiment, which turns out to be the adjoining restaurant, I’m compelled to dig into my event contacts and find out more.

‘Is it the 2nd Floor Cocktail Lounge, above The Noble Experiment?’ ‘It’s actually in the basement!’ And down into the rabbit hole we go.

Based on the first known Tiki Bar, Don Beachcomber, situated on Don Beach in Los Angeles, Aloha Sailor is a complete Tiki experience. The management team credit the unique setting as a tribute to Ernest Raymond Grant, who opened and ran Don Beachcomber in 1934. Venue managers Kristin and Daniel Lemura run the charge with Cameron Bell (Ledbury, Tom’s Kitchen) on board for feeding the masses, and Linus Schaxmann (Platform 3) delivering premium, carefully crafted cocktails.

We’re welcomed by beautifully dressed women with smiles bigger than their carefully styled, propped up bangs. In true Tiki style, they’re swathed in fitted floral dresses, bright red lipstick and matching, shimmering personalities. The gents are a little more laidback, teetering about the bar in huge Hawaiian shirts and oversized chinos.

The vibe is not as quirky as you’d expect. There’s a certain amount of sophistication, an edge that’s not overwhelming or in your face. They’ve created a ‘unique, memorable drinking experience’ that is ‘theatrical, fun & memorable’… a concept epitomised only by Tiki. Daniel has crafted the entire interior, demonstrating tremendous talent in woodwork with the handmade bar, tables & cushy booths, as well as the skull wall to the back of the bar.  Large screens hang off the walls directly across from the cosy booths, edged with ornate gold frames playing old Elvis movies.

The menu speaks to the modern Melbournian, offering splendours such as chili chicken wings, suckling roast pig & taro fries. The launch offers little canapé tastings, and my first thought as I chow down is that this is what food is supposed to taste like. A juicy little piece of pork atop a lovely slice of steamed bread and accompanied by coriander, spring onion and shallot is absolutely sublime and unspeakably tender. But, if we’re going to be honest, we came for the cocktails.

We’re given a tasting of two kinds of drinks; the Aye Papi, which is a blend of Maraschino and Yuzu liqueur with lime, pink grapefruit, apple and hamomile soda; and the Rum Runner, a concoction of Appleton, Havana Club, banana and black raspberry liqueur, citrus, orange, passionfruit, pineapple and pomegranate juice, served up in a sturdy vessel with tribal patterns. It’s just a taste of the concept that Linus has worked so hard to produce, and we’re so hooked we go back for seconds. They then offer us our thirds. So you can also count on top notch hospitality!

If you’re looking for a little bit of an adventure, a new haunt to check out, somewhere different to go on a Friday night, Aloha Sailor is the place to be. Following a VIP launch on Friday May 8th, the bar opened to the public at 8.00pm. They accept bookings online, and for $100, you can book a booth for an entire evening, which includes a treasure chest filled with five litres of Tiki Cocktail.

Aloha Sailor
Basement, 284 Smith Street, Collingwood
alohasailor.com.au


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