This week we’re flipping the script on celeb journalist Dave Kerr. You may recognise him as our very own Trade Secrets interviewer extraordinaire, but it turns out he’s also the owner and head honcho behind The Beaufort, Carlton’s ribs, booze and good times bar. Who knew?! (We did.) So we sent photo guru Pete Tarasiuk down to Rathdowne St to take some snaps and get the goss.
Who are you and where are we?
Dave Kerr. Lover, fighter, memory museum. And this is The Beaufort in Carlton.
But… why barbeque?
Three years ago, it was on trend, and it was really cool. So according to Vogue Living, it will be cool again soon.
Last time; we had a hell-man Chief Chef Chris Terlikar, who now owns his own place called Bluebonnet. So I guess barbeque’s not cool, actually, so we’ll probably change to something else next month… something tropical.
Is that right? Wow. Can you give away any secrets?
I’m into keeping secrets.
Okay, who inspires you? You said Chris?
Chris Terlikar does, yeah, his food. In terms of bartenders, I guess Chris Hysted from the Black Pearl is pretty inspiring, just a good all-around name. I’m inspired by a lot of different people, and as I get older and more into my career, I’m inspired by all the creatives… photographers I work with, designers, entrepreneurs, hustlers, people that do things outside of what I do that I can then drag into what I do as a bar owner.
How do photographers/designers correlate with business owners like you?
Directly; because I can see how it legitimately affects my business. Working with a photographer, I want to know exactly how everything moves but also I think seeing people that are hustling, that are at the top of the game, that started out at the same place as me also drives me to get to that same point in their career that I’m at. So I guess you and I is a really good example, when we start shooting and writing at the very same time, we grow together, like green growing things. And all these people in our spiral spheres of influence have also grown together and stuck. It’s cool that we all push because the success dominos.
Favourite Melbourne Beer?
What are your thoughts on craft beer?
I think the market saturated it to death and I really want to see Melbourne breweries push their boat out further. There’s a lot of same-same stuff and a lot of people just open a brewery because it’s fun and/or hip. But yeah. I also spend my entire life drinking cocktails and drinking fancy spirits, and sometimes all you want to do is drink shit piss, you hear me?
Favourite place to eat in Melbourne?
Changes a lot. Din Tai Fung is wayyyyyy up there.
What’s your coffee in the area?
Bloom. Across the road. They use Auction Rooms, small batch coffee. On point. I usually just drink coffee for the caffeine effect, I’m not a typical Melbournian that drinks coffee to drink coffee and annoy the people who work in the cafe with pictures of my kids. Don’t do that.
Advice for a restauranteur, or bar owners starting out?
You need 10x more money that you have, firstly. BUT, as long as you’re passionate, and you know the business, it’ll be kosher. I did half a business degree. I understand graphic design, I understand all those things that go into it, understanding the numbers, understanding every aspect of it. If you don’t understand those things, you can’t properly brief and respond to them. So get an understanding of as many things as you possibly can before you go into it. I’m not only killer deadly front of house, so, therefore, I’m going to run a great restaurant. You need to know everything and either find and surround yourself with people who are great at it, or understand it yourself and still do that.
Understand it but don’t think you can do it, either.
Totally, and I’m guilty of that a lot of the time. I’ve tried being a tradie a lot. You need to know when you’re beyond your skill set, and know when to call someone in. Photography is a really good example. You get what you pay for, and that’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned. You’re only as good as your output, going both ways, swinging door vibe.
Who is the best person you’ve ever worked with?
Angie who now owns Epocha, and that’s E-P-O-C-H-A. She was one of the biggest and greatest mentors in my hospitality career. I worked with her at Press Club. She’s the embodiment of a perfect hospy, she’s fucking amazing. Worst chef I’ve ever worked with was the guy who ran kitchen at Opera Bar, almost a million dollars a week, and one grumpy asshole. It was the first encounter where I called him mate or something and he goes, ‘My name’s not mate it’s chef, you bastard.’
What was here before The Beaufort?
Clare Castle Hotel, since the late 1880s, and I bought it off a blind guy and turned it into a dive bar for hipsters, and all the locals hated it. I guess they still hate it, but now the locals are cool people with double income, no kids, spend all their money on elegance and boozy dating.
Yeah. Awkward. Good example was Valentines. I thought no one would come. Then loads of people came in on an Anti-Valentines vibe, which I thought was interesting. Maybe you just get to that point in your relationship where you just want to hang out and be casual, so we had a really fucking big night. So yeah, good date place, anyone. We’re open until 1AM every night.
Most ordered dish?
Want are you going to tell the people?
Come on guys… it’s just a community bar. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t have to make sense. We do really, really good drinks, in an environment where you can relax.
421 Rathdowne St, Carlton VIC 3053
Interview and images by Peter Tarasiuk.