Hidden in the heart of Manly, The Cumberland, an underground speakeasy with a Spanish twist, will unlock its doors this August. The trick is to find them. The prohibition inspired drinking den will be accessed via an inconspicuous 1920s fridge door that winds its way down a spiral staircase and into a basement bar, designed to transport patrons into another time and place.
Named after the Parish of Manly Cove in the County of Cumberland, the bar is a nod to the history of the now Northern Beaches council area on which the venue stands. Inside, the hidden bar will feature ornate and vintage furnishings, including marble bench tops, hand carved sandstone blocks, original convict clay brickwork, reclaimed timber and a series of antique brass and copper accents. A handmade leather banquette seat will wrap the walls of the intimate 70 seater venue while an original set of 1902 brass beer taps will be put to good use behind the bar.
The sophisticated speakeasy will feature an extensive selection of over 250 whiskies that span the globe. Accompanying the vast whisky selection is a signature cocktail offering inspired by classic techniques and local botanicals. The menu will also showcase a range of boutique and organic wines from growers across Australia and a selection of local and European craft beers.
The food menu may give a hint of where you’ll find the entrypoint, with a vintage, custom dumbwaiter delivering boards of Spanish cured meats and cheese between floors. Patrons can snack on slow cooked pork rillettes pâté, baked camembert, or a gooey melted raclette plate alongside a smooth glass of whisky.
The venue has been designed by AZB Creative and conceptualised by owner, Matt Clifton, managing director of MJC Group of Companies which also operates popular Manly venues, Donny’s and In Situ. Managing the new establishment will be Merivale veteran, Pete Ehemann who is coming into the role of General Manager off the back of more than 12 years’ experience at Merivale’s Ivy, Hemmesphere, Level 6 and Coogee Pavilion.
“I wanted to bring to life the physical journey of a speakeasy while also paying homage to the bygone era of the Manly area,” says Matt. “We want to take people on a bar experience with a difference, showing them a snippet of a different time and bringing a sense of surprise and fun back to a night out.”
More details on the location and launch to come. But for now, just make note. The Cumberland is coming.