CAPI x Black Pearl
One of the best bars Australia, and indeed the world, has to offer; Black Pearl is a Melbourne institution. We talk to bar manager, and 2014 Bartender of the Year, Nathan Beasley about the his favourite regulars, drinks, and what makes a great bar tick
How long have you been here now?
Over 7 and a half years.
That’s an epically long time
It is pretty epic, starting to get a bit long in the tooth but hopefully still staying relevant.
What changed with Black Pearl, what was the tipping point for it?
I went away to Asia recently, giving a series of talks about this topic in a number of countries. I think the big shift came when Englishman named Rob Sloane who brought some seriously extensive cocktail knowledge was hired as a bar manager, he subsequently hired Tim Phillips and Christiano Berretta, really put together a quality team filled with personality, hospitality and drinks knowledge. They really transformed the bar. Tim and Rob went on to form Bulletin Place and Dead Ringer and Christiano is still getting around the traps – one of Italy’s finest exports. A great team is the cornerstone of any great bar.
The bar hasn’t always been open until 3 every morning, how important has that been?
Yes. Black Pearl is very fortunate that Tash Conte, the owner, fought so hard to get that license. It’s made a huge difference in terms of reputation, profit, all sorts of things.
Most ordered drink?
Vodka espresso martini is still the king of the castle, but the Penicillin is becoming incredibly popular. An invention of a Melbourne boy, Sam Ross of Attaboy and Ginger fame.
Have you got a favourite regular?
So many characters have graced this venue. Favourite is a gentleman called Richie in his mid 50s/60s. He’s blind man with so many interesting stories, his past as an Israeli commando is just the start. Only ever drinks top shelf booze or extremely obscure combinations, total legend.
Gyton Grantley is fantastic, his partner Alex is wonderful as well.
One song you absolutely cannot stand on the playlist?
Two morons I work with play an absolutely fucking terrible reggae version of Insane in the Membrane, it’s the worst. We all hate it.
Worst accident you’ve had in a bar?
Throwing glasses around and having it hit the edge of the bar and smash all over a woman, that’s up there.
Craziest thing you’ve seen on Brunswick Street?
Gentleman took a run up, we were all watching, and he jumped straight through the front window of the Black Pearl. Had to get taken to hospital, glass everywhere, covered in blood. That was quite something.
What’s one question you wish people would ask?
When are you leaving the Black Pearl?
So when are you leaving the Black Pearl?
Working here for seven and a half years. Seriously, working with all these amazing people for this long, getting to hang out and drink and have a good time… Well it’s not really a job is it? Value that more than any of the awards I’ve won.
Go grab a drink at: 304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Give them a bell on: 9417 9455
Or check their Insta: @black_pearl_fitzroy