New Perth bar Foxtrot Unicorn is set to open in the coming week, the first foray into bar ownership for the award-winning bartender Dimitri Rtshiladze.
You may know Rtshiladze from his long-serving stint at seminal Perth bar, Mechanics Institute, where he served as the general manager (he also picked up the gong for 2017 Bar Manager of the Year at the Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards).
And as you might expect from his work at Mechanics, Foxtrot Unicorn is going put the emphasis squarely on enjoyment.
“We will just try and turn everything up to 11,” Rtshiladze says. “People go to bars to have their happiness facilitated. Good music, good drinks, good food, good selection, good staff — probably the most important ingredient — equals a good bar.”
With that in mind, don’t expect any overarching theme or central mission statement, he says.
“Just a bunch of good people in a good space, making good drinks with good booze and better times. We want it to be a bar for everyone that’s relatable yet progressive, ever-changing and fun. It can be a simple as you like if you want to come by and smash a lager, or a nerdy as you like if you want to talk ferments or argue if 1:1, 2:1, or caster sugar makes a better Daiquiri.
“I like to think of it as the Seinfield of bars, about nothing but it’s good,” Rtshiladze says.
The 100-capacity bar is built almost entirely of repurposed materials — expect plenty of jarrah hard wood — and they’ve pulled a lot of the furniture and decor from “at least seven or eight now-extinct Perth watering holes.”
Rtshiladze is something of a booze-utopian: he once told us that there is “no such thing as bad booze.” Foxtrot Unicorn will have something for everyone, with a strong focus on local and indie drinks particularly in regards to wine and beer.
“The cocktail list will be five drink categories (for instance opening list will be Highballs, Vintage, Native, Classics, No & Low) with four or five drinks under each category. The list will give us freedom to switch up either individual drinks, or entire categories or ‘themes’ as often as we like, keeping it fresh yet nerdy, relatable and exciting all at once,” he says.
Rtshiladze has built up quite a collection of spirits at home over the course of career, and punters can expect to find some gems from home gracing the back bar at Foxtrot Unicorn.
“I’ll also throw in some of my vintage booze collection from time to time for those nerds like myself who want to drink stuff that’s older than your grandad (they will also be used in the vintage cocktail category),” Rtshiladze says.
Foxtrot Unicorn has pulled some of Perth’s finest together to get the doors open: not only will you find Rtshiladze behind the stick (he’s referring to himself as the head glassy), but long-time former Mechanics Institute collaborator Tom Kearney will be running the booze show, and Jessica Arnott (whom you may remember from a certain season of a competitive cooking show) is taking care of the food (we’re expecting to see plenty of cheese, frankly).
Rounding out the team, says Rtshiladze, is “Shirley Yeung (ex-Clarences, Panama Social) making banging drinks, Brocc Rogers (ex-Bar Lafayette) doing the same, and Charlotte MacMaster (Mechanics Institute) also pouring plonk and breaking glasses.”
Provided the bar-building gods are kept happy, Rtshiladze hopes to have Foxtrot Unicorn open and serving the masses from Monday 9 December.
You’ll be able to find them in the basement at 101 St Georges Terrace, Perth, and they’ll be trading from 4pm six days a week.
Oh, and Rtshiladze might have hit upon the must-eat bar snack of the summer: “We will also be serving rainbow paddle pops,” he says.
101 St Georges Terrace Perth