Casting our vote at Polit Bar
by The Editor
We discussed it briefly yesterday, and were quite excited by the prospect of a tongue-in-cheek venue opening up in Manuka. Much like our illustrious leaders who are very much in campaign mode, the brash new independent, Polit Bar, is on the charm offensive.
So, what did we find at a soft launch for a bar that has fixed their opening night soiree an a yet-to-be-called election night? Was this the equivalent of a ‘hung opening’?
Firstly, don’t be deterred by the carpeted stairs lined with LEDs that lead from Franklin Street up to Polit. Once you ascend the stairs you cannot help but be engaged by the elegant and serene environment that has been developed over the last couple of months. Black booths, and black and white wall murals are set against the glittering gold lighting and fabrics to create a classic, elegant feel.
The most engaging aspect is the lighting – a contrast of elaborate chandeliers across the seating areas contrasted by bare bulbs with an industrial feel that hang over the bar. Over in the far reaches of the space – nestled against the window that looks down over Franklin Street – is a classic Art Nouveau figurine lamp that shines perhaps a little too brightly with a cool bulb that creates perhaps an unnecessary distraction from the otherwise perfect lighting. Anyway, enough of the minutae of the mood.
On an opening night (that coincidentally read like a who’s-who of Canberra’s bar chasers), owners Mary-Jane and Deborah were bedecked in gorgeous black outfits, ready to greet those who rose up the stairs on a rainy, cool and (ultimately) State of Origin evening. Maximum style points go to Deborah, whose black dress and Glomesh gold clutch matched the dark yet glittering interior of her new bar. Très agréable, madame.
Now, let’s get down to some serious debate.
For those that swan around the Inner South, there is a strong focus on debating the strengths and weaknesses of any politic, policy or, perhaps on this occasion, Polit.
And here comes the rub.
As old hands in the game, we recognised that most of the people in the room had some experience in what the owners were going through. These punters wandered up the stairs on a Wednesday night, watched the staff test their systems, watched the owners draw short breaths as challenges were recognised, and waited patiently as staff chased down their bills.
They all paid full price because they were excited a fresh crew was stepping up and having a go with a breath of fresh air that appeared to have no baggage attached to previous or current venue owners around town. The big challenge for Politic, if they don’t get their systems sorted before too long (including the music volume), is that very few people will pay $10 for a gin or $22 for a martini (a full $6 more than Kremlin or Playground) unless you are absolutely fucking shit hot.
Not to put too fine a point on it, of course.
Nearby neighbours Public Bar learned this lesson very quickly, dropping their prices after something of a lashback from their customers. Let’s hope Polit can make good on the statement of intent made by their price-list, or adjust accordingly before the sugar-hit of being the new kid on the block inevitably dissipates.
However all this remains to be seen, and early signs are encouraging. The creator of the Centenary Martini was there to inspect the quality, and could only speak highly of his Plymouth iteration. The space is gorgeous, the staff attentive and so it seems all the elements are in place in the lead-up to an official opening.
Certainly you should make your way into Manuka and select your candidate – the suburb is once again alive with new bars and restaurants (Public, Alchemy and Polit) but on a much more adult level than that of ten years ago. Your preferences can now run all the way down to number three.
And that alone, is worth signing up for.
Upstairs (near Public Bar)
8 on Franklin
Wed – Thu: 4:00pm – 2:00am
Fri – Sat: 4:00pm – 4:00am
Sun: 4:00pm – 12:00am