Palm Springs meets Acapulco at Fortitude Valley’s Ivory Tusk
One of Fortitude Valley’s popular mainstays is exchanging its rustic craft-beer bar aesthetic in favour of a colour-packed, Cali-Mex-inspired vibe. That’s right – Woolly Mammoth Alehouse has undergone a shake-up, trimming away the shaggy fur and debuting with a fresh new cut as Ivory Tusk. The boozer is officially relaunching today, Thursday August 22, debuting its range of Mexican eats, a plethora of tap cocktails and lively atmosphere.
The Valley is experiencing a period of evolution, and Lachlan Bird is moving with the times. The owner of Woolly Mammoth Alehouse on Ann Street has a knack for capturing hospitality’s current zeitgeist and moving in tandem with it – he transformed Woolly Mammoth into a craft-beer haven just before Brisbane’s beery boom, and has also brought a cavalcade of on-trend musical acts to the bar’s live-music outpost, the Mane Stage. For the venue’s next iteration, Lachlan is pivoting the look and offering of both levels in a direction that is a far cry from the masculine man cave of years past. Ivory Tusk is described as the sister of Woolly Mammoth – a lively and vibrant bar and casual diner that takes cues from Palm Springs’ mid-century modern aesthetic, the unabashed vibrancy of Mexico’s coast and a splash of the eye-catching eclectic decorative approach of Motel Mexicola in Seminyak, Bali. Luis Nheu of BSPN Architecture was recruited to oversee the new design, which has been applied to the cavernous ground-floor space and the Garden Terrace upstairs. The downstairs space boasts an aesthetic that traverses the California-Mexico border, with scattered references to Hollywood glamour and agave-soaked mezcalerias of Mexico. Upstairs, the Garden Terrace has retained its street-facing windows and the retractable ceiling, while the space has been brought to life with lush greenery, colour and Aztec-inspired decorations. While downstairs is designed to cater for the usual influx of The Valley’s dining and drinking denizens, upstairs is perfectly suited for functions. The Mane Stage has also been given a sprucing, with new booths, a DJ platform and a bar redesign implemented alongside a top-notch lighting rig for the stage itself.
The birth of Ivory Tusk brings with it more than a visual redesign – the food and drink elements are also brand new. Executive chef Graeme McKinnon (formerly of Covent Garden) has worked with head chef Jack Thompson (The Line & Label) to piece together a memorable array of bites. Summed up succinctly, Ivory Tusk’s approach to fare can be described as ‘fun feasting’. Mexico again provides the core inspirational thrust – we’re talking a selection of eats that includes Baja fish tacos, pork chicharrones, lamb barbacoa, eye-fillet steak skewers, chorizo sliders, Mexican street corn and gazpacho shooters. Set table menus give guests a taste of the best bits and takes the guesswork out of proceedings. Both the main bar and Garden Terrace bar are now equipped with cocktail taps, with eight batch-made concoctions available upstairs and down. Cocktail tasting paddles are available for the indecisive folk, while a party-starting frozen margarita jug to share will quench a group-sized thirst. Tequila is also well represented (naturally), with ten kinds on hand as well as tequila flights for those looking to sample a few. Rounding out the bar selection is a range of cerveza (Corona, Negra Modelo, Ivory Tusk’s own house beer and several craft brews are available) as well as a hand-picked selection of grapes and bubbles.
Ivory Tusk is celebrating its official launch tonight, and will look to host special venue-spanning events in the near future (including some lively ‘Rockaoke’ nights). Both levels of Ivory Tusk will also be hosting live showcase performances for BIGSOUND from September 3–6. Head to the Stumble Guide for opening hours and contact information.
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