Maybe Mae has announced an event series in which it will recreate the cocktails of six Melbourne venues over six weeks, with sales going directly to the bars facing financial hardship caused by the second Victorian lockdown.
Visit Melbourne’s best bars without leaving Adelaide at Maybe Mae
It’s a Friday night in Adelaide, there are forty customers sipping cocktails in basement bar Maybe Mae, and owner Ollie Margan is feeling grateful.
This is not a situation he would have predicted six months ago – having to turn away hundreds of potential drinkers at the door due to physical restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He is thankful to be allowed to open at all. Across the border, many of Ollie’s friends in COVID-hit Melbourne’s small venue community are enduring a painful second lockdown.
“Black Pearl has had a lease for 23 years,” Ollie says, “and they are getting no rental support in this second shutdown, with the justification being that they are selling takeaway and therefore there is people working, therefore there is revenue, therefore they can pay rent.
“The well is pretty dry, and it would be pretty hard to negotiate a deal a second time around.”
To help his cross-border community, Ollie’s basement bar Maybe Mae – sandwiched between Leigh and Peel streets – will host pop-up events every Sunday for six weeks, starting 16 August. All proceeds will go back to six struggling Melbourne venues.
“The simplest thing we can do is put money into their bank accounts that they need to pay bills,” Ollie says.
“We feel that people in Adelaide would love the opportunity to support what are some of the most important drinking houses in Australia.
“So we thought: why don’t we just buy heaps of cocktails off them and instead of people making them in their tracksuit pants at home, they can come and let us prepare the drinks in a bar environment with glasses straight out of the freezer and big ice cubes.”
The menu will be designed and prepped in Melbourne, then constructed and finished in Maybe Mae.
“We want to keep it as simple as possible and really make these pop ups a true reflection of the venues,” Ollie says.
“I think we owe much to the Melbourne bar industry for paving the way for many of us, and it is important that we do what we can to help get these venues open again.”