Like any great opening night, there was an energy in the air at Bopp & Tone that almost felt manic. Found smack bang in the heart of the city in Carrington Street, it’s safe to say that a lot happened over the course of four hours. I nearly got pushed into a bush by an eager entrepreneur wanting a table.. particularly the table I’d already claimed. I also witnessed a man, drunk off his tits, using the walkways as a catwalk like he was on an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. God, I love my job.
You might know Applejack founders, Ben and Hamish, from such venues as Della Hyde, The Botanist, So Cal and The Butler. Seeking them out in a crowd of hundreds was an adventure in itself. I found out from the boys that Bopp & Tone is their largest venue to date, with your sweet choice of two-hundred and twenty seats to relax on, to packing in three-hundred people for an epic cocktail event. After asking around I eventually found Ben, beer in hand, looking like he’d just won the lottery, with Hamish nowhere to be seen until he suddenly came through like a force of nature, wearing the same gleeful look.
Easily swept up in the environment and the people, I wanted to know more about Bopp & Tone’s atmosphere, and quickly discovered it was an homage to both of their grandfathers, Keith Evans (Bopp) And Anthony Adams (Tone).
“Their influence definitely shines through the style of the venue. When we engaged Luchetti Krelle (interior design firm) and Julia Jacque (graphic designer) to help us bring the concept to life, we brought lots of old memories, photos, scrap books and stories. Lots of research went into the optimistic post World War II era they lived in, and we really believe that the venue is a place that Bopp & Tone would have frequently visited in the past, with a modern Applejack twist of course!” Well that explains the nostalgia and the homey, hopeful nature of it all.
Apparently, Bopp was also a keen fisherman.
“We spent a lot of time during my early childhood together and my fondest memories were spent near the sea,” said Hamish. “We’d often go down to Balmoral, where Bopp had his dinghy moored, and trawl for whiting. We’d bring home fish and cook for the family on Bopp’s home-made BBQ, which he had made out of an old sewing machine base and a kitchen sink with a grill on top.” What a bloody legend of a man.
Ben’s grandfather, Tone, has an affinity for stories, much like my own grandfather, bless his cotton socks. “My best memory by far, though, is showing Tone around the new venue. To have him at the opening night, in his best suit and tie dancing around drinking Espresso Martinis was an absolute cracker!”
When it was time to get our photos together I glanced around, wondering where those nifty photographers snuck off to. “Oh, I just said goodbye to the last photographer,” Ben admitted, much to my panic. The next thing I knew is I was twisting my head like a meerkat in hopes to find a stranger with a camera while another lovely PR woman took a squiz through the crowd. Ben found the entire scramble rather humorous it seemed, “oh look, she’s found a guy with a camera.” Filling me with confidence, I glanced over, only to have my dreams crushed by the mortar and pestle of reality. I realised it was the sassy creature of the night holding the camera, who was obviously taking a break from strutting.
Shaking my head, I asked them what the craziest thing they’ve seen on a restaurant opening night. “When we launched Bondi Hardware in 2011, we had a few issues with the power and installation of the kitchen fans. As a result, instead of extracting air the fan blew outwards leaving the restaurant completely full of smoke – guests were very bemused! Looking back, it was pretty funny that we tried to act cool like nothing was wrong.” Well damn. I hadn’t seen anything yet apparently.
“I think he’s too drunk to work the flash. Or maybe he’s just doesn’t have the knack for the art of photography,” I uttered to the boys once we were successfully within the frame, with a bunch of other strangers who thought this was a casual photo.
“Well! I’m getting another drink!” Hamish exclaimed once it was obvious the camera wasn’t going to cooperate, the rest of us following suit. I was about to say my goodbyes and make my way home when Ben looked me in the eye and said, “you’re not going home yet, what are you drinking?” And who the hell was I to deny the opportunity for once last round. I ordered myself a Dalwhinnie scotch, delighted that the boys had the foresight to stock it. It earned me some strange looks, presumably because I’m a petite, 23-year-old woman. But I’ll have you know, like many women that love a good Scotch, I can drink that shit neat better than most men can.
Caressing my scotch and observing it with a look of affection, I asked them both what drink they couldn’t live without. “I don’t discriminate when it comes to booze!” said Hamish. “I couldn’t live without wine or beer and when it comes to cocktails, anything stirred down keeps me happy. The Wattleseed Old Fashioned at Bopp & Tone is pretty life changing.” Ben’s answer was simple but god it made my mouth water, “I can’t go past an icy cold beer. Tone’s Lager at Bopp & Tone is my current favourite. Goes down like a dream!”
By this point it was getting late and after a whacky, wonderful night I thought I’d leave Ben and Hamish to enjoy the fruits of their labours. But of course, I couldn’t make my exit without attracting weirdness one last time, getting growled at by a grown-ass woman wearing leopard print. She claimed she was dared to do it by the same guy who nearly sent me bush-bound. Nice to know adult peer-pressure is still alive and kicking. And so, I walked out of Bopp & Tone laughing, immediately wanting more nights like this one.
Bopp & Tone: 60 Carrington St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
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