The Tinsel Bar brings Push Pops, party pies and pop rocks to South Brisbane
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when we moved from childhood to adulthood, but for most of us, there came a time where we forwent fairy bread, pop rocks and party pies for more grown-up sustenance and never looked back. Sure, too much Wizz Fizz isn’t exactly a healthy dietary choice, but who said we had to leave our childhood favourites in the past forever? Brisbane’s queen of craft Rachel Burke is a big believer in staying young at heart, and is giving locals a space to do just that with The Tinsel Bar, which opens in South Brisbane this Friday October 18.
Rachel Burke is a maestro when it comes to transforming various craft materials into into wearable art. For the past few years, the creative powerhouse has seen her wares grace the shoulders of big names, and her signature tinsel jackets and dresses, gem-encrusted earrings and eye-catching flower crowns sell out almost as soon as they become available. In addition to people, Rachel also adorns spaces – her ‘tinstallations’ have covered all manner of nooks in immersive tinsel hangings, turning venues from drab to fab with layers of glittering foil. It was these installations that fed into the initial inspiration for The Tinsel Bar, an Instagrammable colour-soaked bar-meets-creative space imbued with a sense of nostalgia, one evoking memories of childhood parties and the carefree fun they entailed. A self-confessed hospitality novice, Rachel reached out to friend and accomplished bar owner Maris Cook (Maeve Wine, Hello Please) to see if he had any wisdom to share. As luck would have it, Maris loved the idea, offering to team up on the concept and volunteering the Hope Street space formerly occupied by his fish-and-chip concept Ol’ School for its home. With Maris on board, the duo had the essentials covered – Maris immediately started conjuring up a food and drink selection that aligned with the core concept while Rachel took the lead on the venue’s aesthetics.
As the name would suggest, The Tinsel Bar boasts a lot of shimmering tinsel. The bones of the venue have been left untouched, but after Rachel’s decorative efforts the space is largely unrecognisable. Reams of coloured tinsel hang from a ceiling net, the walls, the bar and from a signpost on the building’s exterior – multi-hued strands gently swaying in errant breezes. Ol’ School’s original mint-green colour palette has been complemented by a lick of bright pink on the furnishings and concrete pillars, while a luminous neon light fixture adds an extra pop of colour. Adding to the fun, all tables at The Tinsel Bar are covered in paper, with cups of coloured pencils close at hand if you get the sudden urge to unleash your inner artist.
The food and drink
When it comes to the nosh, The Tinsel Bar’s offering is split into two streams. During weekdays the venue will act as a deli, feeding and watering locals and nearby corporates with a range of freshly-made specialty sandwiches, toasties, salads and juices. On Friday and Saturday nights, The Tinsel Bar comes to life as a cocktail and nibbles hotspot, taking the nostalgic eats we used to consume as kids and giving them an adult spin. The tasty treats on offer include fairy bread, cupcakes, hot chippies, party pies with tomato chutney, sausage rolls with smoked tapenade, Push Pops, baguettes smothered in pate onion jam and bolognese toasties. Over at the bar, guests will be able to sip on colourful concoctions such as the Frosty Fruit Frappe, Cottees Cordial Cooler, Tinsel Town Spritzer, the Unicorn Gin & Tonic, and Bambi’s Milkshake, while a selection of beers and wines by the glass or bottle are on hand to boot. The Tinsel Bar will be available for private functions during the week, and Rachel herself will be hosting regular themed events (including Arty Parties celebrating an array of famous artists) at The Tinsel Bar once a month.
The Tinsel Bar officially opens to the public on Friday October 18 at 5:30 pm. Guests on opening night will go in the running to win a door prize of one of Rachel’s iconic tinsel jackets. For operating hours and extra details, head to the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.