BYRDI is an elemental bar experience, showcasing contemporary cocktails and food grounded in Australian heritage. The design creates an atmospheric, immersive venue on an irregularly shaped mall tenancy and the space was required to evolve for different operational needs throughout its round-the-clock service, from breakfast to late night drinks.
Offering a diverse selection of seating options throughout the bar, BYRDI also features a street-fronting experimental laboratory called the Aviary. Featuring terracotta-toned custom tiles made in Victoria, this six-seat room enables mixologists to explore and demonstrate more experimental techniques direct to diners, all showcased to those passing on La Trobe Street.
There is a deliberate entry progression to set the tone and introduce BYRDI as a world beyond the city. Two anodised aluminium and timber portals stand either side of an oversized pivoting door lined in recycled felt. They establish a sense of anticipation and arrival as patrons pass through this repeated threshold.
The main island bar is a sculptural timber form which anchors the space, and is accentuated by dramatic feature lighting. This focuses the eye on the service of food and drink at the stainless steel and granite bench below.
Inside there is a moody palette of rusty ochre and wine tones that is complemented by tactile surfaces. A sustainable outcome was achieved for the project through carefully selected local materials with floors in bluestone and coir (made from responsibly sourced coconut husk); bars and joinery in Australian timber and leather, and tiles and walls lined in cork. Furniture is from local designers Ross Didier and DesignByThem.
The views in, and the bold entry, draw customers to the moody and intimate space and BYRDI’s central bar is a platform becomes a place to showcase the ceremony of cocktail making.
Furniture: Feelgood Designs, DesignByThem, Cult, Ross Didier. Lighting: TW, Ambience Lighting, Euroluce, Ross Gardam, Light Project. Finishes: Dulux, Portugal Cork, Aus Tanners, De Fazio, Granite Works, Natural Floor Covering, Sapphire Aluminium, Architectural Bricks & Pavers, Woven Image.
Photography: Haydn Cattach, Jana Langhorst