It’s not really summer until Arbory Afloat, the much-loved floating bar and restaurant anchored next to Flinders Street Station each year, announces its décor and flavour theme for the coming season. In previous years there’s been a Euro beach club vibe but this year, like the rest of us, they’re sticking a little closer to home and channelling the Australian Beach House.
Décor this year includes natural timber and sandstone finishes, eclectic printed upholstery lush greenery across the upper and lower decks with their tables, daybeds and cabanas. There’s an Aussie beach slant to the Arbory Afloat artwork too, which includes some fabulous beach-themed work from renowned photographer Rennie Ellis.
The menu, designed by Executive Chef Nick Bennett and Head Chef Terry Clark, is all about contemporary and classic coastal eating with a Mediterranean accent. Think wood-fired flatbread and pizzas, pickled octopus, merguez sausages, lobster spaghetti, roast chicken, grilled swordfish and pavlova.
The booze is good too and includes a cocktail list featuring a rum-based number called Sex in the Beach House and another called Beach House Gin, a joint venture with return collaborators Four Pillars Gin. There’s craft beer too (including a collaboration with Pirate Life called hazy Sunset Ale) and wines selected for their affinity with the long hot summer. With DJs, all-day opening hours and bookable private cabanas, Arbory Afloat has become the best way to celebrate summer and the beach in the city.
The media seemed to be in the mood for celebrating too with Arbory Afloat scoring coverage in the Herald Sun, Broadsheet, Good Food Magazine, Time Out, Urban List and Concrete Playground while also hosting TV news crews from Channels 7, 9 and 10 multiple times.
Images by Arianna Leggiero.