The first venue to be opened through the Speakeasy Group’s Pathway to Partnerships Program has finally opened its doors in Little Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Pearl Diver Cocktails & Oysters (PDCO) has been created, developed and opened by Alex Boon and Pez Collier, having been chosen as first to receive the program’s $250,000 in set-up support. The program enables the participants to open their own venue with the support, mentoring and financial backing of the Speakeasy Group and its Directors Greg Sanderson and Sven Almenning.

PDCO, as you might guess, is a cocktail and oyster bar, which aims to deliver the freshest cocktails from around Australia as well as specialising in seasonal produce-driven cocktails.

“At PDCO we champion oysters and their terroir with the same level of detail and respect that you would find a sommelier talking about wine or a bartender talking about spirits; but more than anything we aim to create a fun and memorable experience,” says Alex.

When the pair were originally chosen for the program, Pez told The Shout’s sister title Bars and Clubs, what their inspiration was for the bar.

‘I think the inspiration has always been to create a venue we would love to go to as guests. We want to create a fun and engaging environment and deliver a unique experience in terms of product and service.

“Alex and I both have a long-standing love for well-crafted cocktails and oysters and we really want to champion that combination. We are lucky here in Australia in relation to the quality of produce available to us for using in food and drinks and we draw a lot of inspiration from these ingredients.

“Much of the concept is built around highlighting and emphasising the quality of these products, notably seasonal fruits and fresh oysters.”

Alex told Bars and Clubs: “The PDCO Cocktail menu will be broken down into three sections:

“Market: This section is all about seasonality! Cocktails created to highlight the freshest seasonal produce available at that time, we will be looking to change this menu once a month or so. Cocktails in this section will be fresh and fruit forward, vibrant and lively.

“Signature: This section is all about highlighting the creativity of the team and offers us an opportunity to be more adventurous in terms of ingredients, preparations, techniques and delivery.  This part of the cocktail offering will change approximately twice a year.

“House: This section is our re-worked classics section, where we break down some of our favourite drinks and rebuild them in the PDCO manner, without straying too far from the core elements of the original.

“We will also have our namesake cocktail available at all times also, once again we will be breaking down the classic recipe of Don the Beachcomber’s tiki variation of a hot buttered rum and using the core elements to rebuild the drink in our own way.

“The atmosphere we wish to create is one based on genuine hospitality and good times, first and foremost we want to create a space were everyone feels welcome and comfortable to enjoy themselves. Whether you love or hate oysters you are always welcome to come in for a great drink, a chat and a great time.”

Located in the Theatre District at the top end of the Melbourne CBD, PDCO underwent a six-month renovation and has emerged a space that will undoubtedly play host to a relaxed but lively crowd. The 100-seater is divided into comfortable banquets, bar seating, high tops and an impressive shared table that doubles as a private dining room, featuring an iced oyster well running its length.

Bathed in natural light from the Little Bourke Street facing façade, PDCO’s high concrete ceilings are fitted with stylish drapery ensuring that while lively, the venue is never uncomfortably noisy. Wooden panelling, textured motifs and soft furnishings adorn the cohesive space creating a stunning bar, along the lines we’ve grown to expect from the group’s other venues such as Eau-de-Vie, Nick & Nora’s, Boilermaker House and Mjolner.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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