Melbourne’s newest basement bar opens

05 March, 2019 by
Madeline Woolway

Melbourne-based hospitality group Made in the Shade (The Everleigh, Heartbreaker, Connie’s Pizza, The Everleigh Bottling Co. & Navy Strength Ice Co) will launch its third venue, Bar Margaux, in Melbourne’s CBD this May.

Located in a basement on Lonsdale Street,  it’s the newest venture from the expanding hospitality group, which was founded by Michael and Zara Madrusan.

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Having spent six years in the early 2000s tending bar in New York City with his sister, Michael Madrusan has long held an ambition to open a New York-style Parisian brasserie in Melbourne. Inspired by venue’s Madrusan frequented — Schiller’s, Pastis and Balthazar to name a few — Bar Maguax is the product of this goal.

The 80-seat venue will be open seven days, from the afternoon through to late-night.

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Cocktails and wine will be flowing alongside a full dinner menu, which can be enjoyed at the bar or at a table in the main dining room, with an intimate private dining area suited to groups of up to 10.

Daniel Southern (ex Vue Group and L’Oustal) has recently taken on the role of group executive chef and will oversee the Bar Margaux menu, delivering a menu of French classics til midnight followed by a substantial supper menu til 5am.

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Michael will direct the drinks program, as he does at all Made in the Shade venues, working alongside Marty McCaig, the group’s manager of three years and co-owner of South Yarra’s South Press. McCaig will champion the wine program, which will feature an epic Champagne list. Heavy on classic French varietals plus a blend of natural wine producers, it’s set to be on the most diverse offerings in Melbourne.

Michael’s cocktails will play a key role in the Bar Margaux experience with an interesting selection of wine- based, aperitif-style cocktails, and half sized martinis and manhattans set to grace the list.

The interior will also take cues from the Parisian-influenced brasseries of New York – think white subway tile, deep red banquettes, a zinc bar top and checkered flooring. The Madrusan’s are working on the final touches of the interior with custom lighting and vintage furnishings.

“Every new project is a lesson,” says Madrusan. “We release it out into the world, we watch, we listen and we evolve.”

“This one’s been on the plan since I opened The Ev. Had I had the money back then, I’d have put her downstairs, where Belle’s is now. So it took a few  years to realise, but I’m more passionate about the concept now than I’ve ever been.”

Zara adds: “We personify all of our projects and this one is no different. Margaux is going to be a combination of all our venues’ offerings; she’ll be sophisticated and feminine, but lively and late. We’re big on the vibe and always serve people before drinks. The drinks will be quality, and the food will be tasty.”

Bar Margaux is located at basement level, 111 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, and will be open from 4pm to 3am Sunday to Thursdays and until 5am on Saturdays.