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The top 5 drinks during Melbourne reopening week

Residents from Melbourne came out in droves for the first full week of trading as the city exited its sixth lockdown for COVID-19. After 262 days without their beloved pubs, bars and clubs, the Melbourne reopening was time to celebrate. And the No.1 drink punters were ordering at the bar was …

The Espresso Martini, naturally. Melbourne has a special place in the Espresso Martini’s heart, due to its reputation for producing many of the world’s best baristas.

Espresso Martinis also emerged as the no.1 beverage of choice when NSW reopened according to data from me&u. The cocktail is a fan favourite in Australia, which is credited as having driven the resurgence of the Espresso Martini globally.

As Eater noted in 2019, Melbourne is the Espresso Martini’s ‘spiritual home’: “Around midnight at my friends’ wedding a couple of years ago, at a beachside mansion near Melbourne, the party was fading. After a long day of sunning and champagning and emoting, even the professional drinkers among us were starting to wilt. But then a procession of waistcoated bartenders emerged from the kitchen, each proudly wielding a wry smile and tray of espresso martinis.

“This scene replays each night all across Australia, and especially in Melbourne …. the espresso martini is not the Antipodean answer to a vodka-Red Bull; it is to Australia as the margarita is to the US, an everybody drink. Transcending age, class, and culture, it can be found in rowdy sports pubs, upscale restaurants, thumping nightclubs, and high-end cocktail bars.”

At the iconic Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda, more than 40,000 espresso martinis were served in just 10 months when the craze hit in 2019.

During the Melbourne reopening week, sales of Espresso Martinis were up 126%. But that’s where the similarities ended. While Sydneysiders celebrated the end of lockdown with cocktails such as Aperol Spritz and Margaritas, Melbournians preferred to sit back with a beer in hand, with sales of Balter XPA up 46%, Carlton Draught up 45%, and Coburg Lager up 32%.

Data from at-table ordering app me&u showed an 18% uplift in sales from the Monday to Sunday period of trading prior to lockdown restrictions that forced hospitality venues to shutdown dine in services (25/10/21 – 31/10/21 vs. 21/06/21 – 27/06/21). Food sales were up 12% while beverage sales were up 40% as many raised a glass to celebrate.

While capacity restrictions were in play, only allowing pubs, clubs, and entertainment venues to host 50 fully vaccinated people outside and 20 fully vaccinated people inside (now 500 and 150 respectively), Melbourne drummed up support for hospitality workers with tips up a phenomenal 140%. The most generous tippers by suburb were: South Wharf, Melbourne, Brunswick, Portsea and Falls Creek.

Founder and CEO of me&u Stevan Premutico said: “We’re so proud that me&u were able to play such a pivotal role in Melbourne reopening its doors again. There’s no mistaking that we’re grateful to be back in venues with our family and friends again. The blood, sweat, and tears shed by the great people of hospitality to open up the doors again hasn’t gone unnoticed.”

Similar to trends observed in Sydney’s first week of trade, guests at pubs and bars in Melbourne sought out comfort food with pub classics like chicken parmigiana, fries, schnitzel, garlic bread, and fish & chips being the most ordered food items.

“There is an energy that is unlike anything we’ve seen in a long time. We’ve missed hospitality and are thrilled to see venues in Sydney and Melbourne open up their doors again in time for the busiest time of the year for the industry ,” said Premutico.

me&u partners with more than 500 hospitality brands in the country, including ALH (above), Merivale, Pacific Concepts, Solotel, Moon Dog, The Portsea Hotel, and Howard Smith Wharves.

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