There are pop-ups abound. There is hardly a multi-national brand that has not at least dabbled in providing an experience to win new audiences over and extend what they are known for with some sort of engaging incarnation. With Wild Turkey, bringing a touch of the wilderness to city sounds like a natural fit, i.e. conveying the “Spirit of the Wild” and helping city slickers to bridge the divide between their sheltered existence and the appeal of the outdoors with the launch of a bespoke watering hole framed within the context of natural surroundings and wilderness.
To achieve this feat, Wild Turkey has teamed up with not only a group of authentic craftsman, but with the well-oiled machine and some of Sydney’s best bar talent that is the trio of Gabrielle and Andres Walters and Daniel Noble. Each of the constituents of the Old Mates teams has honed their craft at reputable bars, e.g. The Lobo Plantation, Kittyhawk, and Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern, which are well decorated for their inventive efforts to create more of an experience than merely serving drinks.
What will become their new venue, i.e. Old Mate’s Place, which is set out as an old, abandoned library, with exposed wooden beams and a staircase leading up to the rooftop with an overgrown garden – in essence, a treehouse kind of theme, became the fertile ground and site on which Wild Turkey’s incarnation of “Spirit of the Wild” has come to pass: Upon gaining access through a non-descript door on the fourth level of an office building, one if ushered through a dimly lit entrance area to be welcomed with a dram of Wild Turkey’s excellent “Decades” expression and inducted by the host on the proceedings.
Once the dram has been drained, the journey continues upstairs where the immersion in sight, smell and taste is taken to the next level: In a bush environment, guests are seated around a fire-pit, which was specifically designed and hand-crafted by sculptor Dion Horstmans. Blankets are handed along with the first cocktail of the evening, a little number based on the concept of retoxification, with activated charcoal proffered in a hand-carved tiki style bamboo cup.
The cocktails of the evening are creative, made with native ingredients and presented in different ways e.g. form hip flasks but not over the top conceptual — the focus is firmly set on good drinking drinks with a bit of fun ‚ and a two-course menu, inspired by the flavours of the Wild Turkey range, is served with a touch of nostalgia, reminiscent of meals around the camp fire and carefully curated by the free-thinkers behind the hospitality stalwarts Continental Deli.
Spirit of the Wild is an immersive experience that manages to convey the essence of what makes the DNA of Wild Turkey, with its emissions being paired and matched with drinks and fare that accentuated not only flavour nuances but infused the concrete jungle with a sanctuary of sensory experiences that our day-to-day routines are usually devoid of.
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