Volstead Union is the brain child of three of Mount Lawley’s finest; Lloyd Smith, owner operator of Clarences and two of his killer team; Michael Memeo and Chris Ford. Together, they are Volstead Union and are focused on bringing clever pop-up events. With small menus of quality products, they want to give you a night slightly different to a typical evening spent at the pub.
Their first party saw them take over Bossman Coffee in Mount Lawley, and the boys created an event so sought after, there was a queue for over half of the evening. This time they have slightly increased the size of their operation, to a 600 person event, and they are teaming up with Proximity Festival for Party for 1, the launch of their 2015 arts festival.
Proximity is back! What part of the festival are you most looking forward to?
The party drag monsters for me! That and the bedazzling booth… and the elevator party…. and a toasted cheese sandwich. What’s not to love about Proximity? We’ve probably given away too much about what’s happening on the night already! Proximity organisers Sarah, Anna and Rachel, have crafted a great party this year. It’s bigger and better than ever.
What can we expect from you guys on October 31st?
Another selection of carefully crafted hooches, ales and special batch cocktails served by a motley crew (albeit a charming one) of handsome bartenders from some of Perth’s best small bars.
Why are you involved in Party for 1?
It’s a mutual love affair. Proximity Festival organisers made it to our first Volstead Union and got in contact with us to see if we’d be interested in joining them for this year’s Party for 1. We jumped at the chance! We’ve been big fans of what Proximity does since their first festival. We share the same outlook – new experiences, up close and personal, small and intimate, changing perceptions.
This is a large scale event. What are you doing to make sure everyone’s party is a killer night?
We’ve roped in a stellar list of bartenders from around Perth to make sure we keep the intimate, one-on-one side of things going. Volstead Union’s never been about ‘drive-through bartending’. We’ve also built an entirely new bar (This from the same guys who think left-hand screwdrivers are a thing!) and rethought the back-of-house side to the bars operation to allow us to spend more time up front and personal with festival goers.
Small drinks list again guys, why’s that?
While Volstead Union haven’t opened up the cellar so to speak, we’ve spent a lot of time making sure we have something for everyone. For us it’s more about drinks that have a story behind them, that are of great quality and emanate the fun, passion and sometimes eccentricity of the people that craft them. We’ve also added a great local cider and ginger beer to the list that we missed out at our last pop-up at Bossman.
Why have you chosen those drinks to serve?
Volstead Union only serves drinks that we would order on a night out. For Party for 1 we’ve kept it fun but interesting – ‘fun’ drinks shouldn’t mean a lack of craftsmanship. Our cocktails – we have a jasmine tea infused West Winds Gin, nectarine syrup, lemon and jasmine tincture spritz for instance. And our vodka number; maideni vermouth, strawberry, vanilla and balsamic shrub, topped with prosecco, features a lot of work behind the scenes!
There’s a big focus on WA again – any reason apart from wanting to stay with the local makes local idea?
The sheer quality. At no point in WA’s history has the selection of booze been so diverse, well-crafted and of such a high quality. Of course being Proximity Festival we wanted to focus on ‘proximity’ – a nearness in space or time. To that end, we’ve gone as local as we can with wines from our friend Alon in the Swan Valley, beers from Palmyra, ginger beer and cider from Margaret River, gin from Gidgegannup and fruits and garnishes from Gingin and Bickley. We’ve even gone strawberry picking in Bullsbrook!
If you could have one drink on the night (from your bar) what would you order?
Aside from Chris and Lloyd’s awesome cocktails, I’m a big fan of Black Kite’s ginger beer. It’s a great local product, mid-strength, deliciously crisp and perfect for a warm, spring festival night. If you’re rocking in a disco van or partying with a ‘party-monster’ on the night, this is the drink for you!
If you were to match one of your drinks with a Toastface Grillah toastie, what would you choose?
Definitely Colonial’s Brewing Co.’s new Draught. It’s the beer you drink when you don’t want to think too hard about craft beer. It’s lifted citrus notes and mild bitterness pair perfectly with Toastface’s cheesy goodness.
Why should someone come down and bring in the night with you guys at this event?
It’s the party to start summer. Creative creatures will be on the prowl dripping with colour and sass much like our miniature bottled cocktails, natural wines and superb craft beer! Intimate and surprising performances abound. There’s nothing like it in Perth’s calendar.