Not all that glitters is gold, but at Brisbane’s latest and most Instagrammable pop-up bar all that glitters is, well, tinsel.
Tinsel, pom-poms, sequins and tulle are materials that most would reserve only for crafting, extravagant party decorations, or the dress mum made for your third grade dance recital. For Rachel Burke, co-creator of Brisbane’s newest watering hole, The Tinsel Bar, these elements are the building blocks on which her brand has been constructed.
Since establishing herself in the Brisbane fashion scene, the self proclaimed tinsel maven’s projects have grown in scale exponentially. Her famed tinsel jackets have not only been donned by adoring fans, but also by the likes of Melbourne based artist Alice Ivy, and the Glitter Queen herself, Kesha. Like Burke’s garments, the ‘more is more’ mentality is in full force at The Tinsel Bar, the brainchild of Rachel Burke and Maris Cook of Hello Please and Maeve Wine Bar fame. Tinsel is festooned from floor to towering ceilings in the space, while splashes of bubblegum pink and blue peek through glittery gaps. Popping up in the beating heart of South Brisbane, the technicolour daydream burst at the seams with nostalgia and the collective memories of an Australian childhood.
“Given the success I’ve had with my work, I felt like there was a good amount of people in Brisbane who would love to party in a space like that,” Burke states emphatically, referring to her popular online shop and accompanying Instagram account. The Tinsel Bar celebrates staying young at heart. “The space isn’t taking itself too seriously. Adults like to have fun and party too,” Burke says. “You don’t just reach a certain point and start hating cute shit.”
Dubbed The Tinsel Deli by day, the salad bar menu is packed with school canteen inspired goodies. The old school vibes continue after dark when moonlighting as The Tinsel Bar on Friday and Saturday nights. For the creators, the tactile wonderland is more than just an Instagram photoshoot hotspot. “The experience [goes] beyond taking a cute photo,” Burke says. “[It was important] that the food and drink would be nostalgic and cute too.” An elegant and pared back menu complements the over-the-top decor, and Cook’s signature refined palate shines even at The Tinsel Bar. “Everything is really extra in the space, so we haven’t gone insane with the menu and cocktails,” says Burke. “We want people to have a tasty time! We don’t want saccharine sweetness, so the cocktails are real cute, but still enjoyable.”
The humble ham and cheese toastie receives a makeover with the addition of piccalilli, combining cheesy goodness with a hint of spice. Fairy bread, gourmet party pies and sausage rolls add a healthy dose of childhood nostalgia to the simple menu, while the cocktail selection dazzles. Boozy milkshakes, Unicorn Gin, Frosty Fruit Frappes, and an adults only take on the iconic Cottees cordial. Not a sweet tooth? Tinsel caters to even the grown-ups among us, boasting an excellently curated selection of beers and wine. Watch this space for Tinsel Bar’s next pop-up location in 4101 in coming months.
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