We’ve been pre-empting this bad boy for quite literally months now, and the day is finally here! Today Pink Moon Saloon’s doors swung open and answered the prayers of Adelaide’s foodies and drinkies (sounds cuter than booze hounds right?).
The premise was always to keep it simple when it came to this shoebox size spot on Leigh Street. You can read all about the dream here. They had no choice but to do so really! So the geniuses from Clever Little Tailor (and a few other Adelaide hot spots) knuckled down to create something magical out of a space once filled with mere stinky dustbins.
Now, putting the hype aside (and boy is there hype), we wanted to find out all of the things that no one really knows about Pink Moon Saloon. So of course, we swung by on opening arvo to ask the big guns the nitty gritty questions (and dabble in some wine… duh).
How big is it EXACTLY? We know you’ve heard the rumours. Come on. But come on get your minds out of the gutter, people. The truth is it’s precisely 3m 77cms wide. But you’d never guess it once you get inside. Designer Matiya Marovich of Sans Arc has managed to make a mountain out of a mole hill, in the best way possible. Light and airy with a vibrant courtyard separating the bar from the kitchen.
What came first the spot or the dream? According to the dream team, the spot came first. They were in the market to create something new and unique in Adelaide’s streets, when this unsuspecting spot fell into their laps. It became a two year mission to take what was essentially a little bin alley and make it feel like an inner city escape. Just FYI… they nailed it.
Time is of the essence. All the mixed drinks will be on the menu for a MAXIMUM of 8 weeks. The five cocktail selections will be continuously changing (so don’t get too attached ladies and gents)! They’ll be keeping each tipple quite different from one another, which means there will always be something to keep your tastebuds tingling. We like the way they think!
Preparation is king. As Bar Manager Eddie stated ‘It’s all about hours in prep, moments in service.’ There’s a lot of love injected into both the food and drinks here. With a space so small and time so precious, lots is put into preparation. The unique and quirky cocktail creations are often mixed pre-service to ensure your thirst is quenched in but a flicker of a moment. And meats are smoked in house for up to 10 hours prior to you snacking away.
It’s all made by their hands. Ok ok, not everything! But the spectacular menu from Head Chef and Co-Owner Matthew Standen features an array of meats all smoked and slow cooked in house. We’re talking carnivorous goodness that includes house made bacon and hot pastrami. If you’ve seen the spot, this news would surely blow your mind. They have honestly piled a full size commercial kitchen into a shoebox. It is kind of like the walk in wardrobe of kitchens. We recommend trying the Ploughman’s Platter to ensure you get to taste as much of all of the goodness as possible. And let us assure you there is plenty.
The most unique thing on the back bar… is alive! Funnily enough the most unique thing so far is probably not a beer, wine or spirit. It is in fact the kombucha they brew themselves (for those out of the loop it’s a sweet, effervescent, fermented tea that’s good for your insides). They mix this gut saving bad boy into their alcoholic iced tea. Some like to think of it as balancing out the booze with probiotics, but honestly, it just tastes great.
They were SOBER when the idea was dreamt up. So some may not realise the shock factor in this statement. But very little of the stuff that becomes big in the hospitality world is dreamt up by a sober mind. However, as they told us with a place so small they had to be particular and precise in their methods. It’s all very smooth. It’s all very streamlined. None of that could’ve been possible with slurred words and fuzzy vision. As much as the idea of Pink Moon Saloon is a relaxed non-pretentious environment, the team were meticulous in their approach.
The literary gods helped form the idea. After reading Henry David Thoreau’s Walden the team wanted to create the same air of ‘escape to the woods’ right in the centre of the city. And so, from a simple story, their own little wood cabin escape was born. Once that front door closes it’s hard to imagine you’re in the bustling inner city streets at all, but instead the scene is a calming and peaceful forest getaway. But with much more fabulous drink selections and a whole lot less hunting and gathering. Thank God.
They have their own lumberjack. He’s a giant brooding man, dressed in a checkered shirt with a beard hipsters could only dream of. Well, we didn’t exactly see him, but that’s what we’ve heard. All the Redwood used to create the delicious smoky American style barbecued meat is forested and sourced by Chef Matthew’s wood chopping friend out past Gawler. We might linger around near delivery time to catch a glimpse of this gentleman.
They have some crazy coordinated footwear. What started out as a personal joke between staff prior to opening night has actually become a bit of a signature. The management selected coordinated white, aqua and fluoro pink Nike sneakers with smug grins on their faces for the big launch. As it turns out this quirky selection is actually “incredibly light and comfortable.” Although they did admit white may have been a poor colour choice considering their profession. But hey, at least they all match.
It’s still amazing to us as we step back and look at what the Pink Moon Saloon has managed to achieve in such a small amount of space and time. They’ve thrown the common theme of pretentiousness out of the window, and where it could’ve lied, instead, something special has blossomed. If you can ever leave this place (it feels so homely you will want to move in), you will do so feeling like you have made new buddies. Buddies who know how to whip up a delicious drink and slow cook the tastiest nosh, which surely is the best kind of friend.
You’ll find Pink Moon Saloon at 21 Leigh Street from Mon-Fri 11:30am- late and Saturday 4pm-2am
You’ll also find them in our Blink And You’ll Miss It guide to all of Adelaide’s best hidden spots.
See more photos by Vueey Le Photography below.