11 months ago



INSIGHTS SURREPTITIOUS CELEBRATION QHA REVIEW | 26 Although it came and went in a haze of draconian government legislation, the American prohibition era of the 1920s left an indelible mark on society, bringing concepts such as bootlegging, speakeasies and the mafia to the forefront of popular culture. Arguably, what the mafia did for cinema, speakeasies did for bar culture. Those dim dens of illicit alcohol sale and consumption have provided the inspiration for a particular flavour of retro bar down the years, the closest to home now being Brisbane’s Walrus Club. Fittingly located below street-level (word has it beneath the Regatta Hotel in Toowong) and accessible via two inconspicuous stairway entry points, the Walrus Club’s commitment to authenticity earned it last year’s QHA Award for Excellence for Best Themed Bar. Everything about the way the bar is marketed is offered with an air of secrecy and cultural nods to the roaring 20s. Using not-so-1920s communication channels such as social media and web content, the Walrus Club spreads the word about “stealthily

INSIGHTS USING NOT-SO-1920S COMMUNICATION CHANNELS SUCH AS SOCIAL MEDIA AND WEB CONTENT, THE WALRUS CLUB SPREADS THE WORD ABOUT “STEALTHILY SOURCED” SPIRITS, THEMED EVENTS AND “HOUSE RULES” WITH LANGUAGE, COLOURS AND ICONS OF THE TIMES. sourced” spirits, themed events and “house rules” with language, colours and icons of the times. One clever promotion saw the bar host the Original Sailor Jerry Pop-up Barbershop for men’s health week in June. The set-up featured a free-standing vintage barber chair reminiscent of a classic gentlemen’s club. Upon entering the hideout, guests are transported to the era via all five senses. Sight: The brick interior of the bar’s basement location is exposed and dimly lit with candles, the venue’s only light-source, to enhance the speakeasy effect. Authentic 1920s paraphernalia lines the walls and bar areas. The team dresses for the occasion sporting dapper getups complete with bowties and suspenders. Sound: A playlist of the best jazz, swing and big band numbers keep things dapper and drive the cocktails. Live entertainment highlighting local jazz, blues and rockabilly artists keep the dance floors packed on the weekend. Taste: A decadent cocktail menu developed by the Walrus Club’s cocktail connoisseurs caters for the ladies, while extensive rum offerings please even the most worldly gent. Touch: Guests can playfully experience the paraphernalia including a vintage typewriter that still works. Smell: A musky fragrance reminiscent of the 1920s mischief is achieved through incense which is lit throughout trading. The Walrus Club features a broad range of rare and unique spirits – more than 300 mid-range to premium drops – which have been sourced from local distilleries to the far corners of the globe and everywhere in between. To round it off (and if you’re so inclined) ask about their secret stash of cigars. Just be careful who you tell. QHA REVIEW | 27