PROOF CREATIVE CELEBRATES THE LAUNCH OF MARY MARY, A LUXURY HOTEL BAR LOCATED WITHIN THE TASMAN HOTEL, HOBART


HOBART, 10 FEBRUARY 2022 – The Tasman, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Hobart has finally swung open its doors and it is home to Hobart’s newest cocktail bar, Mary Mary. A seductive, sandstone-wrapped room lined with red ochre leather banquettes lit with the glow of brass table lamps. It is truly a captivating addition to the ever-growing Tasmanian bar industry.

The name stems from the heritage building’s origins; the former St Mary’s hospital constructed in 1847. It has now been reimagined as part of the Tasman, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Hobart, and Parliament Square, located in the heart of the city and just a moment from the famous waterfront. You’ll find Mary Mary tucked away on the other side of the hotel with its discreet entrance off Salamanca Place. Through the doors, you will be greeted by a host that may guide you to a secluded table by one of the fireplaces or a seat at the padded leather bar.

The vision for the beverage program at Mary Mary was heavily influenced by its location and terroir.

Charlie Ainsbury, Senior Bar Consultant

Hobart’s food and drinks culture has long commanded global attention and attracts a discerning guest seeking a compelling experience, which offers us an impressive foundation to build upon.

We very much wanted to put Tasmania front and center when it came to the concept. It only made sense to support and celebrate the incredible artisans, producers, distillers, brewers and winemakers. As you read through the menu, you might be surprised to find classically inspired drinks but as you read further, you’ll see that every drink has been re-inspired and then re-constructed with a broad Tasmanian brushstroke.

Guests that arrive at the doors of Mary Mary will no doubt have undergone a journey to get there. For international visitors, even more so. Through its approach to cocktails and fine drinking, the team aim to satisfy and delight their guests for their imbibing needs whilst also presenting something uniquely Tasmanian. Drinks maintain a commitment to quality, seasonality and freshness as well as an unwavering ethos to approach the cocktail as if it was being made for the very first time in Tasmania.

The Signature Martini

Their Signature Martini is a mixture of a Tasmanian Gin of the moment married with Mancino Secco Vermouth and lifted with aromatized verjuice from Providence, Northern Tasmania.

Whisky Highball

The Whisky Highball represents this perfectly using a locally made Whisky and topped not with soda, but with a sparkling mead from a Derwent Valley brewer. Crowned with a locally foraged Wattle leaf, the drink is bracing and intriguingly complex.

The beverage offering at Mary Mary is guided by Bar Manager Ronán Kavanagh. A hospitality veteran with international and local experience and an impressive distilling background to boot. He is the guardian of the commanding back bar of spirits as well as the lead in sourcing ingredients across Tasmania from Braeburn apples of the Huon Valley to the locally foraged native succulent, pigface, found growing on the coastlines.

Bar Manager, Ronán Kavanagh

Mary Mary's Menu

In the near future, the bar will reveal The Coal Room. An old coal chute from the building’s original structure will be repurposed to house Mary Mary’s most exclusive, rare, and old spirits as well as oak barrels aging away locally made spirits sourced from neighbouring distilleries. Furthermore, guests can expect a regular schedule of programming to include intimate live music nights as well as the inaugural gathering of the Tasman Spirit Society; an inclusive group of spirits enthusiasts that come together to be led through a series of tastings hosted by distillers, winemakers or brewers.

Proof Creative’s involvement began in early 2018 implementing its renowned ’20 Pillar’ creative process. Led by Senior Bar Consultant, Charlie Ainsbury, work included the early concept development phase, bar functional layout, OS&E curation, sourcing through to spirits curation, drinks development, and pre-opening support and training.

The opening of Mary Mary is the latest in a long line of collaboration between Proof Creative and Marriott International.

“As the first and only representative of The Luxury Collection brand in Australia with the upcoming opening of the Tasman, we are proud to deepen our connection to the unique local character of Hobart with Mary Mary,” says Stephen Morahan, General Manager for The Tasman, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Hobart. “This venue will be a beacon to the world of fine drinking here in Tasmania, joining a collection of the world’s most notable hospitality experiences. Our vision is for Mary Mary to enchant both locals and travellers in the know, guided by the passion and expertise of Charlie and Proof Creative.”


ABOUT THE TASMAN, A LUXURY COLLECTION HOTEL, HOBART

Set on the crest off Hobart waterfront, the architecturally stunning and historically rich hotel is the first Luxury Collection Hotel in the Oceania Region. It hosts 152 luxury guest rooms and suites embracing a modern, elegant and sophisticated design whilst paying homage to two centuries of its heritage foundation. The Tasman Hotel embraces the character of its locale, integrating seamlessly with Hobart’s breathtaking scenery and culture.

For more information, please visit:
Marymarybar.com
@marymarybar


FOUR SEASONS HONG KONG CELEBRATES THE OPENING OF ARGO, A PROOF CREATIVE COLLABORATION


HONG KONG, September 2021 – ARGO, the highly anticipated modern cocktail bar at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong has opened its doors to a warm reception from both guests and media. The former site of Blue Bar has undergone a comprehensive transformation into a world-class destination. The first few weeks of operations have seen both long lines for entry and Time Out Magazine naming ARGO as the world’s coolest bar on its global list of new openings in 2021.

A visually arresting back bar showcases ARGO’s collection of innovative spirits.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hong Kong

In a city that prides itself on elevated food and beverage, ARGO appears to set to become one of the year’s most captivating openings. The warm reception to ARGO’s opening is welcome news as the global hospitality community manages through another year of disruption and difficulty.

ARGO has been one of the Proof Creative’s longest-running projects, with work starting in early 2019 and continuing through several delays brought on by the global pandemic. The assignment was to help Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong create a destination bar befitting a property already renowned for its eight Michelin stars (Lung King Heen, 3 Stars, Caprice, 3 Stars, Sushi Saito, 2 Stars). Working closely with Lorenzo Antinori, Four Seasons Asia Pacific Beverage Ambassador and the driving force behind ARGO, a central concept of innovation and exploration of ingredients and spirits was developed to give ARGO a unique point of view as it takes its place amongst a strong cohort of global hotel bars.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hong Kong

The Conservatory, a semi-private room with a view of Victoria Harbour at ARGO.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hong Kong

Lorenzo Antinori, Beverage Ambassador Four Seasons Asia Pacific

“ARGO is a cocktail bar that explores the modern world, and how it is shaping the way we drink and think about spirits. This is a space where we celebrate the innovators of our industry and people who challenge the status quo,” notes Antinori, “ARGO has been shaped by the global impacts of the last few years, and reflects the need and desire for innovation in the face of challenge.”

Antinori is no stranger to world-class cocktails bars, having previously been the Head Bartender at Dandelyan in London when it was ranked the World’s Best Bar by World’s 50 Best Bars and  Charles H. at Four Seasons Seoul to its position of Best Bar in Korea. While developing ARGO, Antinori focused his attention on the bar program at Caprice and bringing his brand of service and attention to detail to elevating the drinks offering with vintage spirits, cocktails inspired by French seasonality and famously generous servings of exquisite cheeses. This work paid off when Caprice entered Asia’s 50 Best Bars list in 2019 and rising rapidly to number 10 in 2020, making Caprice one of the few venues to feature on both the Bars and Restaurants list of Asia’s best venues.

Bar Manager Summer Lo

Head Bartender Yvonne Chan

Image credit: Four Seasons Hong Kong

In leading ARGO, Antinori is supported by a strong team, including Hong Kong industry star Summer Lo, formerly of Blue Bar and winner of Speed Rack Asia, and Yvonne Chan, formerly of The Old Man Hong Kong, which ranked as Asia’s Best Bar in 2019. The team at ARGO includes many team members who have been with the hotel since before renovation began, and have been honing their talents for service and hosting at Caprice, experiencing Michelin-standard standards first hand while waiting for the venue to be completed.

ARGO’s debut cocktail menu, titled ‘Here Today, Gone Tomorrow’, showcases staple daily ingredients that were once classed as luxuries and may once again become so with the onset of climate change and the disruption it threatens to bring to agriculture and food production. Each cocktail is inspired by one such ingredient and is presented as both an “Origin” and “Evolution” option. Coffee, a daily staple for many worldwide, is represented in the “Origin” section as the Red Rock Sazerac, a mix of Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac, beetroot, Ethiopian green coffee and bentonite clay, which evokes the red, earthy soils where the first coffee beans were found and cultivated.

The Red Rock Sazerac Cocktail, with Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hong Kong

No bar built on a foundation of innovation and exploration would be complete without creative collaborations with spirits and ingredient producers that push boundaries. ARGO’s collaboration with South Australia distillery Never Never Distilling Co. has produced an award-winning modern martini gin that represents this spirit of innovation. A distillate of Chinese gins is mixed with Never Never’s trademark robust juniper-forward spirit before being rested in an ex-Chardonnay wine barrel that has been seasoned with Mancino Secco vermouth. The result is a dry, fragrant and herbal gin, with a touch of champagne hue from the barrel. that has already garnered recognition with a Gold Medal and scoring of 95 points from the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) This collaboration gin is best enjoyed in the signature ARGO Martini, which is presented in a bespoke crystal glass developed for ARGO by John Jenkins in the United Kingdom.

Never Never Distilling Co x John Jenkins x ARGO martini collaboration, ‘ARGO Martini’.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hong Kong

ARGO’s spirits collection, titled “The World’s Most Innovative Spirits”, is another highlight of a visit to the bar. Developed over the course of two years by Antinori and Tom Egerton, Proof Creative’s Senior Bar Consultant, the collection is inspired by the changing landscape of spirits production and challenges the traditional classifications of liquors. Categories include “Modernist Spirits”, which showcases spirits created with cutting-edge techniques, and “Philanthropic & Socially Conscious Spirits”, which celebrates producers who have a strong commitment to protecting their land, culture, and peoples. The collection was compiled as part of an 18-month selection process undertaken by Antinori and Egerton during which each bottle had to go through a strict criteria to review whether or not it was true to the ethos of innovation, and includes nearly 30 bottles hand-sourced by Proof & Company from around the world which cannot be found elsewhere in Hong Kong.

“We were interested in how the landscape of spirits making has been evolving, reflecting what’s happening in the fast-paced modern world,” Says Antinori “We felt the need of breaking the wall of the classic traditions and look with curiosity what’s on the other side, to remain ahead of the curve and see emerging patterns in a changing environment.”

While serious about craft and experience, Antinori and the ARGO team take care to ensure there is a light-hearted side to ARGO. Fun and unexpected details are woven into the experience and are constantly changing, leaving guests surprised and delighted. From gummy-bear laced champagne to magic olives and chocolate kisses, these small details help bring ARGO to life.

Barks, Leaf and Love – Honey Gin, Longan, Ivy Leaf, Preserved Strawberries & Split Milk

Single Origin Negroni - St. George Terroir Gin, Cascara vermouth, Hulu Gali Cocoa, Smoked Jalapeno

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong

Inspired by a neo-classical conservatory, ARGO’s interior design is visually striking. Led by designers ABConcepts, the ARGO interiors include mellow green tones, topiary boxes, exposed metal and natural light from Victoria Harbour, which helps the venue to transition seamlessly from day to night. The unique back bar tower features 58 individual rotating chambers housing the collection of innovative spirits. Seating 90 guests in comfortable luxury lounge fashion, the floor-to-ceiling windows, which frame the transition between sunny days to the twinkling Kowloon skyline at night, provide a captivating backdrop to explore the cocktails, spirits, and service.

Striking interiors inspired by a neo-classical conservatory.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hong Kong

Brand and collateral for ARGO, including the food and drink menus, was developed by Adelaide-based design agency MASH, who are known for visually rich venues such as Bali’s Motel Mexicola and Hong Kong’s Happy Paradise. Beyond creating a visual identity for the bar, MASH helped create a hard-bound Field Guide to the World’s Most Innovative Spirits which is presented as a companion piece to the cocktail menu. The Field Guide includes extensive information and photography that tell the stories of each spirit in the collection.

Food offerings include luxe takes on comfort food and are designed to pair with the cocktail experience and provide a perfect companion to the drinking experience, with similar inspiration regarding innovation to be found in the menu design. This can be seen in the plant-based protein Impossible Meats Katsu Sando flight and the iconic Hong Kong egg waffles are elevated with a trio of milk ice cream, Sichuan chocolate and salted miso caramel dipping sauces.

The Hong Kong egg waffles at ARGO.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong

ARGO is the latest debut in a long-line of collaborations between Proof Creative and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, a shared history that includes the development of Manhattan Bar in Singapore, Charles H. in Seoul and Bar Trigona in Kuala Lumpur. Proof Creative’s work on ARGO was led by Senior Bar Consultant Tom Egerton. This work included creative collaborations with respected glassware purveyor John Jenkins, award-winning gin brand Never Never Distilling Co., and others.

Proof Creative’s involvement begun in early 2019 and implemented its renowned ’20 Pillar’ Creative Process. This meant taking a holistic approach to its consulting and work on the early concept development phase, through to functional layout advisory, OS&E curation, glassware design, innovative spirits curation, creative writing and much more.

Tom Egerton, Senior Bar Consultant

“ARGO was a long journey from conception to opening night, and to see how the venue has come to life has been incredible. A particularly proud moment for me was on the first opening night sitting and enjoying the first sip of the ARGO martini, using a gin we helped create and a glass we helped to design – and watching the full room full of happy and excited faces, the culmination of an incredible amount of passion, hard work and dedication.”

The journey at ARGO has only just begun with the doors finally opening, with plans for integrating augmented reality garnishes, an innovative spirit drinking society, engaging and thoughtful programming and more planned to introduce over coming months, and as options for travel slowly begin to open up Hong Kong to guests from around the world to visit ARGO in person.


With ARGO now open, you can visit the venue at the Four Seasons Hong Kong from 5:00pm to 12:00am, Monday to Saturday. At current time they are not accepting reservations, with only walk-ins available. You can follow the journey on Instagram.