The Boys of The Laneway
Alicia Moo | On 04, Jul 2014
I chat with the hilarious, charismatic and all out talented boys responsible for creating those wonderfully quirky, utterly charming and absolutely delicious cocktails at one of Brisbaneâ€™s most noteworthy bars, The Laneway.
Matt: We strive to create an experience at Laneway doing this through theatrical cocktails, using high quality spirits and fresh produce that we pick up from the markets every week.
John: Amazing service, incredible drinks, ridiculous chat and one hell of a show!
Dan: Ever gone to that awesome after work social function where your boss’ PA decided to open up a do it yourself cocktail bar? Like where they have a couple of bottles of rum and a bag of mint and you’re having so much fun with your friends drinking cocktails out of plastic cups you forget about all your work troubles and also that deadline on Monday? Well you should expect that… But our cups are glasses.
CD: What is the creative process when designing cocktails?
M: This menu is from my own design I created when living and working in New York. Working with and experiencing cocktails on an international level has lead me to create my own menu that can offer many different aspects and some amazing customer interaction.
J: I’m all about the classics (with a few cheeky twists) and I always go back to them. There’s a reason these drinks have been around for more than a century – most of them are really, really great. So I start there and tweak until I’ve found something interesting. It also depends on what I have on hand. Expect the unexpected.
D: Personally I’m all about the flavours. I’m a massive foodie and my brain takes giant leaps between what tastes good. (I’m still trying to perfect my cheeseburger cocktail!!) But seriously, I remember working on the desert cocktail with Mathew after Alejandro, Will, Josh and all the other wonderful chefs downstairs gave us Parfait (oh my gosh is it delicious!). Matty was standing there blending spirits and citrus and all these delightful things. I took one taste, went to the bar, grabbed a bottle… And the rest they say is history.
CD: What are your backgrounds?
M: I started bar-tending in London in 2008, from there moved back to Brisbane and managed and worked in a variety of restaurants and cocktail bars then moved to New York and managed 2 venues there, moved back and took over The Laneway.
J: Mysterious. Next question.
D: Full time Pharmacy student that’s worked in big nightclubs around Brisbane since my first weekend out of school. Did that for too long working 15+ hour shifts and wanted to take a step back. This year I got into Australia’s Top 100 for Diageo World Class cocktail competition and that was a pretty cool experience and an awesome edition to the resume.
CD: What is your perfect weekend?
M: Spending all Friday and Saturday smashing out cocktails and drinks and ensuring everyone in my venue is having as much fun as me. Sunday’s decent food cold beer and great friends, which include my partners in crime at the bar John & Dan, I try to make my bar team a family and we are very close, the way it should be.
J: Easy. Wine (really good wine), friends (the ones you actually like), food (all of it) and music (the kind made by actual musicians). Basically wine, women and song, I’m sorted.
D: What’s a weekend? Haha I’ve recently been in end of semester final exams at uni so I’ve been a hermit for about a month.
Basically for me to have a good weekend I need to have a good Sunday. It’s the most underrated day of the week and there are so many awesome places to go and people to meet. Hospitality workers live for Sundays especially after a busy week. Now that exams are over you might see Matty, John and Myself out for cheeky brews in some Sunday sun!
CD: Your favourite drink?
M: Southside, it was my first ever classic cocktail, I was shown how to make and to this day I still explain this to customers as it is my guilty pleasure, my pick me up, the drink that my boys make for me after a 13 hour shift where I want to…. Letâ€™s just say give hugs and kisses to those who just won’t leave.
J: Water. Wait no… Perfect Manhattan on Woodford Reserve. Also gin… all of the gin.
D: Vodka lime and so- … No on a serious note – probably would have to be a Singapore Sling or a Margarita. If you put both In front of me I probably wouldn’t be able to decide… And then drink them at the same time.
CD: Favourite drink on The Laneway menu and why?
M: Got be the Gincepition come on that name alone… No but seriously throwing a couple of spirits some juice into a glass shake it, stir it, serve it. Thatâ€™s the usual cocktail at most other venues, this cocktail took two years to create. Two years of yes, no how, but???
J: Tea tippler #3. Give me Hendricks or give me death. Combine Hendricks and tea and roses AND liquid nitrogen and we’re talking serious Anthony Bourdain levels of the use of the word ‘ethereal’. Well played Matt, well played sir…
D: Ron’s Blazer. Key word: Fire. If you need more of an explanation please come in and order one, I love making them.
CD: Three people to have dinner with (dead or living)?
M: Professor Jerry Thomas (the pioneer of cocktails). My Grandmother (She was the one who always believed in me when others didn’t, but can’t see where I’m at now) and Marilyn Monroe (Iâ€™m interested in you know mid 1900â€™s history and stuff)
J: Three? Fine… They’re all going to be dead. 1. Rowland S. Howard. 2. Nick Drake. 3. Albert Camus.
FYI my imaginary dinner party in heaven is going to be a lot larger… And less boring since it won’t just contain two musicians and an absurdist French writer.
D: THE ENTIRE CAST OF GAME OF THRONES!!!! Far out I love Game of Thrones. George RR Martin could come too… As long as he brings wine and tells me all about the new book that hasn’t come out yet!!! Sorry I went off on a fan-boy tangent there. Seriously though I would love to have dinner with Kevin Spacey, Hugh Dancy and Richard Madden. I think they are all exceptional actors and great blokes and role models for me.
If you loved getting to know this charming trio then go on and visit The Laneway, they will whip you up cocktails that will not disappoint.