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December 19, 2017

Introducing Ralph Louis Frederick

Something new and decadent from the people at Hains & Co.

  • Words: Johnny von Einem
  • Picture: Julian Cebo

The sequel to Hains & Co – a specialty cigar and whisky offering called Ralph Louis Frederick – is moving in upstairs from the original Gilbert Place venue, and it’s bringing specialty service with it.


Ralph Louis Frederick is due to open in winter 2018, and will be located upstairs from Hains & Co – 23 Gilbert Place, Adelaide.

For the last two years, Hains & Co owner Marcus Motteram has been stockpiling whisky in preparation for his next venture – planning the intimate whisky room to be a levelling up of the Hains & Co offering, both figuratively and literally.

Come wintertime 2018, the space above the seafaring saloon will open as Ralph Louis Frederick, a 35-ish seat space, named for Marcus’ bootlegging grandfather, Ralph Louis Frederick Hains.

“He used to get a little bit busy in his cellar and make a little bit of spirit and hold onto it,” Marcus says, “I don’t know if you’d call him a distiller, a bit of a home maker, you’d say.

“It will be that more expensive whisky bar, it won’t be the stock-standard; it’s about having this hard to find stock, this special stock… that you’re probably unlikely to see again.”

The size of the room has dictated the relatively low number of seats, however, it is a perfect match for the style of service Marcus hopes to provide.

“For us, smaller is better, because we want to also bring the service standards to that higher level,” he says.

“More personal, more involved. We’re putting a lot of pressure on ourselves about the level of knowledge that it takes to bring that level of whisky bar to Adelaide, how much you need to know.

“We’ll develop that over time and then have that knowledge to bring to people and be able to talk them through some wonderful whisky choices – ‘If you like this whisky, here are three others that you’ll probably really enjoy.’ To have that knowledge, it’s just not easy.”

As for the whiskies on offer, Marcus plans to open with a strong Australian contingency.

“[Compared to] the bars that I’ve seen in Sydney and Melbourne, I think our Australian range is probably better than anything I’ve seen,” he says.

“This is all arguable, really [but] … we’ve been collecting for a while and there’s a lot of stuff there.

“I think our Japanese stuff is exceptional, we’ve got a really, quite a broad range of Japanese whisky.

“We will be an SMWS bar, so Scotch Malt Whisky Society, so we’ll be the second bar in Adelaide that is a Scotch Malt Whisky Society bar – the other is the Rob Roy – which is exciting, we’ve been collecting a bit of that.”

The sea theme from Hains & Co will not make its way upstairs, with Ralph Louis Frederick instead taking design cues more from the decadent era of art deco and art nouveau.

“I actually love that era… it was a time of opulence, and I think it’s important, when you’re spending money, that you feel opulent,” Marcus says.

The design will come from Kyle Bush, who also designed Hains, and who, until very recently, shared a business relationship with Marcus in Melbourne.

“I’ve just sold out of all my Melbourne venues,” Marcus says.

“It was a big moment. It was nostalgic. I did a lot in Melbourne while I was there, upon reflection. At the time you don’t think much of it, but in my time in Melbourne I opened up five venues. That was over 12 years, and have then moved back here and we’ve been open here for nearly three years.”

With his roots now firmly planted in Gilbert Place, CityMag can only hope Marcus’ prolificacy continues.

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