There is no doubt Melbourne’s food scene has been gathering momentum exponentially for years now – the likes of George Calombaris, Shane Delia, Andrew McConnell and Jacques Reymond are elevated to the status of rockstars and restaurants are worshiped and attended with fanfare and anticipation.
It’s interesting then, that while the Melbourne drinks scene is on the same trajectory, it doesn’t share the same high profile. We have award-winning bars and bartenders in this city, yet the excitement attached to the innovation and talent in this area has taken a back seat… until now.
Creatives Lochlan Tangas and Dean Schmideg were pondering this exact subject while having a beer on Lochlan’s rooftop, when the concept of BAR/D UP came to life. A video media outlet partnering up with bars, brewers, distillers and winemakers across Melbourne, BAR/D UP creates short and sharp videos of Melbourne’s prime watering holes, connecting the bar industry to consumers before they’ve even had to venture out.
“We were already working on events together – Lochie as a videographer and myself as a photographer, and we wanted to come up with a concept where we could bring both of our skills to the table and have a bit of fun at the same time,” Schmideg says.
“Cafes and restaurants get a lot of coverage in Melbourne. When people want to go for a dining experience, they have a million ways to find out where to go; but when people want to check out a bar, there aren’t a lot of ways to get a feel for the place before they arrive. So BAR/D UP is about creating that experience for them before they even get there.”
BAR/D UP is already getting traction across Melbourne and beyond, teaming up with sponsors in the industry
as well as creating videos for over twenty local establishments including The Noble Experiment, Eau de Vie, The Nelson and Gin Palace.
“What we’re trying to do is create a voice for the bars. It’s about helping the bars communicate what they do to the general public, and in turn, about helping the public find great places to go and have a good time,” Schmideg says.
“It’s been great because we’ve really learned how to experience our own city, and it’s opened up our eyes to bars even we didn’t know existed. We really appreciate what these talented people in the industry can do with often really confined spaces, turning them into something great and creating their own individual message,” Tangas says.
BAR/D UP are also teaming up with local Australian craft brewers and distillers in order to feature local and locally produced Australian brands. “Initially we were creating a video directive about the bar scene in Melbourne, but that’s expanded to helping alcohol suppliers market their products both to bars and to the public. So it’s been great because we’ve been able to connect suppliers to bars that really love their products as well.”
Prior to their launch, BAR/D UP has already taken their business beyond Melbourne, being approached by interstate bars and suppliers looking to team up with the boys. But Schmideg says their hearts will always belong to the Melbourne bar scene.
“Wherever you go in Melbourne, there are so many places you can find, and each place is individual. I think it’s because Melbourne is such a melting pot of cultures – there are places that specialise in Spanish food and drinks, there’s rum bars, there’s whiskey bars,” Schmideg says.
“And I think in Melbourne there’s a real focus on people being individual, being themselves. Everyone’s accepted. So if an establishment is serving really high-end cocktails, you can still turn up casual alongside the people dressed up to the nines and all have a great night out together.
“That individuality extends to the bars themselves – every bar’s doing something different, and there’s no feeling of needing to conform. And that’s what makes the bar industry so exciting in Melbourne – bars aren’t scared to push the boundaries and push peoples’ palates to try to taste different things and experience different combinations of drinks. And that’s what makes our bar industry so exciting.”