This Bar Profile featured in the July edition of Australian Bartender magazine
Michael Delany talks Poof Doof, Tarentino and pubs with cocktails
Address: 579 Little Collins Street
Phone: 03 9529 3001
Getting to the bottom of something
When Michael Delany-Korabelnikova gets his hands on something we usually sit up and take notice. So in September last year when he gave us the heads up on his latest venture – The Bottom End – we pencilled in some editorial space just as soon as there was room.
“We’re at the bottom end of Melbourne’s CBD,” Delany explained to Bartender when asked about the name. “Peter Iwaniuk owns the site and has operated nightclubs, restaurants and bars in Melbourne for over 30 years,” he continues. “He is a tireless advocate of the hospitality industry.” Delany is the venue’s creative director and has once again brought his flamboyant touch to the space, renovating and reinvigorating the interior to bring Melbourne a seriously serious nightclub.
“The Bottom End is licensed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for 1500 patrons… that’s the primary difference between us and other venues,” Delany explains. “The other difference is the mix of activities in the building. The street level of the site is a pub, diner and disco. It’s always free to get into, the diner operates until very late on the weekends and we have DJs. On the middle level of the building we run SURVIVOR! A Saturday night mega rave dance party club. And on the floor above that we run POOF DOOF, a Saturday night gay club for homos.”
Iwaniuk got Delany on board at The Bottom End by asking him to renovate the ground floor. Delany says that initially he had no intention of actually operating the venue. “As I spent time in the space [however] I grew to really like it. For a long time I have had a vision of a normal food and beverage venue that hid a nightclub behind or above it, and at The Bottom End I found the building to suit the vision.” The site itself has been operating as a nightclub for over 20 years, so there are sure to have been a few stories along the way. Safe to say that now with these two new operators behind the venue, there will be another couple of decades ahead, and, a few more stories.
“The Bottom End will work because it’s bold and different – I believe there are enough bold and different lovers to pay our bills.” Michael Delany-Korabelnikova, The Bottom End, Melbourne
Once the ball was rolling the revamp took six months and for Delany and Iwaniuk the biggest challenge was, “repositioning the venue as a new entity after its previous life as the notorious Bubble nightclub – that and painting all the bricks on the ground floor individually.” This sort of chronic attention to detail is not uncommon for Delany though. He has been behind some of coolest refurbs going around, including Honkytonks, Sorry Grandma! and Third Class (Melbourne), and The Flinders, The Norfolk, The Carrington, The Abercrombie, Forresters and Fratelli (Bridge Street) in Sydney.
When you get him started on The Bottom End’s design Delany is typically excitable about describing the details, and he paints a vivid picture that goes well beyond the brickwork. “The venue was once a pair of massive hulking warehouses and that atmosphere remains with mammoth brick arches dominating the space. At street level, the pub, is a Tarantino-esque set for a movie about Rapunzel, if she lived in a diner.”
SURVIVOR! Is a high tech rave barn with an 8m x 1.5m LED screen and LED happy tubes lighting up the heavy timber trusses above the dancefloor and a wonderful ‘let’s get lost’ layout. POOF DOOF is like stepping back into a mid seventies NYC gay club. Chic, ‘warehousey’ and dark.”
Tippling time at The Bottom End
“We are a pub with cocktails, not a cocktail bar,” Delany firmly explains. “We have an extensive tap beer and cider range, a deep back bar and maintain a focus on simple and tough drinks with some sublime and ridiculous cocktails balancing things out.
And we have rave juice of course.”
If you’re after something to eat at The Bottom End Delany says that they’re offering an
Australian version of American diner food. “It’s late night, guilty pleasure stuff and utterly delicious. Burgers, Po Boys, Tacos and the most fiendish grilled Parmesan and artichoke dip you will ever taste.” Just don’t weigh yourself down with too much food though, as the other Delany touch – the music – is going to get you on that dance floor whether you like it or not.
“We have a lovingly put together hipster, balearic, Thai pop/rock playlist during the day and a cross section of Melbourne DJ colleagues in The Bottom End,” Delany explains. “In Survivor! we have the very best underground/crossover house/tech local, interstate and international DJs, and in POOF DOOF we are honoured to have as resident Australian legend Gavin Campbell, who started the first club ever to mean anything in Australia, Razor, 25 years ago.”
The Bottom End’s unique offering of food, drink, design and dance is attracting a mixed bunch – all of whom are welcome. “Being in the CBD we cater for city workers during the day after work,” Delany tells Bartender, but things don’t stop there. The night time crowd, according the man himself, are ” a more normal inner city sexy bunch looking for lust in the darkness.”
Delany’s confidence in the venue is obvious, and with such an experienced and talented operating team behind the idea it’s not hard to imagine why. “The Bottom End will work because it’s bold and different,” Delany finishes up with. “I believe there are enough bold and different lovers to pay our bills.” Right on.