What to expect when Bar Margaux opens from the team behind The Everleigh

Zara & Michael Madrusan.

There’s a new bar coming for Michael and Zara Madrusan, the people behind the Made In The Shade Group which owns some of Melbourne’s best bars, The Everleigh and Heartbreaker. The group plans to open Bar Margaux in May, in a basement on Londsdale street in the Melbourne CBD.

The idea behind the 80pax venue comes from Madrusan’s time in new York when he worked at Milk & Honey. He would often visit classic New York City style French bistros like Balthazar.

You can expect half sized Manhattans and Martinis, as well as some “ABV-concious drinks,” says Madrusan. “We put great importance on the moments before enjoying a meal, and will encourage our guests to slow down before they sit down to eat. The pre-dinner cocktail is a great dividing line between your working day and the evening ahead.”  

But the focus is going to be squarely on the experience guests have, Madrusan says.

“Above all, like all our venues, the take home experience won’t be defined by a drink, or a dish,” he says. “That’s not enough, people deserve more than that. We’re service focussed through and through. It’s about meeting great people and having a great night. Margaux is going to be a lot of fun – we can’t wait to introduce you.” 

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Here’s what Madrusan had to say about what to expect from Bar Margaux below.

What’s the thinking behind the half Martinis and Manhattans?
We’ve been serving these up at The Ev for ages. First of all, anything served in those half size coupettes is gorgeous. Aside from that we have a big pre and post dining culture in Melbourne and entertain so many before dinner at The Everleigh. A lot of the time people are intimidated by the idea of a full size stirred drink before their meal. For those who are driving or simply after something less boozy, it’s an elegant option. All of the flavour and double the fun! It’s also a great way to try a top shelf spirit at an approachable cost.

The half-size Martinis and Manhattans will feature alongside a range of cocktails at Margaux, including abv conscious drinks. We put great importance on the moments before enjoying a meal, and will encourage our guests to slow down before they sit down to eat. The pre-dinner cocktail is a great dividing line between your working day and the evening ahead.

What sort of spirits will you be working with for the aperitif cocktails?
The aperitif cocktail list will feature mostly wine based drinks with a lot of vermouth and sherry.

How long has this project been in the works and how did it come about?
My sister and I planned this concept about 8 years ago when we first took The Ev space. I didn’t have the funds to take both floors, but we would have loved to have put it downstairs, where Belle’s is now.

When I told Deanie (my sister) we’d found this underground space, she replied straight away with “White Tile joint!”. The white subway tile is such a defining feature of the venues we were inspired by. It’s a category in itself! I have to say I’m more passionate about this concept now then I’ve ever been. The ideas behind it are so deeply rooted within me, it had to happen one day, it was just a question of when and where. It had to be late night, and late night dining isn’t 11pm, it’s 5am.

Foodwise, what is that you love about the French classics, and bistros like Balthazar?
Butter… What’s classic is familiar, and what’s familiar is full of love and nostalgia. As with our approach to drinks, the recipe, format and process is simple, and the quality is second to none. Our steak will be the best steak we can get our hands on – the stuff we’d eat at home. We’re putting out a menu of food that we love – that we know people love. We’re ambitious, and this one’s a real challenge, but one we’re so excited about.

Margaux is a bar that does French food. Like all of the NY spots we love, it will be pretty on the eye, but informal and approachable. There are a number of amazing French restaurants in Melbourne, but generally the setting is refined and formal. Our offering will be simple and consistent and the vibe will be warm and personal. As with all the late night NY eateries I was inspired by, the music will play a big part in here too.

Above all, like all our venues, the take home experience won’t be defined by a drink, or a dish. That’s not enough, people deserve more than that. We’re service focussed through and through. It’s about meeting great people and having a great night. Margaux is going to be a lot of fun – we can’t wait to introduce you.

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