Matt Bax has a single-minded approach to his bars. Der Raum in Melbourne’s CBD had enjoyed 10 years at the top on the cocktail scene, but, worried that it was getting too snobbish, Bax decided to pack up Der Raum and move it to Munich under a new name. (Not as random as it sounds, for he worked in the German city in a previous life as an accountant.) This relocation left the Melbourne premises free to undergo a total transformation, where the focus will be on high times at low prices.
Customers at the new Bar Economico won’t be paying a premium for salubrious surroundings, that’s for sure. The bar’s design, which is Bax’s own work (owing to another previous life as a wannabe artist), recalls shanty bars in South America and Jamaican rum bars, and the downright dishevelled interior is perversely appealing in a paradoxical way. Signs scrawled on cardboard, huge plastic bins, the bar protected behind a wire mesh – this is perhaps the kind of experiment you can only try with some notable success behind you, which Bax has in spades. Here’s to cheap and cheerful!