Fun, flirty and distinctly casual isn’t the brief you’d expect for a restaurant that pays the bills with lobster, but that’s exactly what BrandWorks delivered for Melbourne institution Pinchy’s first permanent store.
Popping up at festivals, delighting patrons at the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the Food & Wine Show and Night Noodle Markets and fresh from a six-month activation at Emporium, Pinchy’s is something of a celebrity on the city’s foodie scene, famous for its selection of seafood dishes, but beloved for its lobsters roll.
The lobster is sourced from Maine in the US, and BrandWorks interiors team drew from the area’s iconic crab shacks, probably best reflected in the powder blue and white striped bar that sits under a pastel pink scalloped eave in the 100-square-metre open-air balcony. The view is distinctly Melbourne, but the atmosphere is eternal summer with bare Hollywood bulbs, white wicker furniture and plenty of greenery in sky-hued planters.
The Abbotsford multidisciplinary studio founded by Michael and Eleena Tan was also responsible for the bar’s strategy, branding, packaging and digital, subconsciously tying them to the interiors in a cohesive way that’s not overwrought or on the nose.
Inside, the relaxed pastels are abandoned in favour for what the studio calls a “Champagne-inspired interior”.
Pinchy’s finds itself in the heart of Melbourne’s Chinatown in a former Asian restaurant, but the space betrays nothing of its old life.
Instead, you’ll need a moment to adjust your eyes to the neon assault that greets you after the bland escalator ride one floor up the Mid City Centre building on Bourke Street.
The interior is dark – the only light seems to come from the signature Pinchy’s neon claw sign and backlit champagne bar that dominates the space.
A handful of rose-gold mirrors line the walls and the bar, while a simple cluster of glass pendants provide just enough lighting for you to make out your eating companion, but not notice if they spill any mayonnaise on their top.
Inspired by the serene Atlantic waters and the Australian coast, the design team painted the walls a soft peach, a colour that is quickly becoming the default in Melbourne’s casual eatery scene.
They’re paired with a combination of terrazzo and laminate table tops, white and peach upholstered seat and bar stools and velvet booths.
A few plants in cement pots accent the space in what is an unstuffy, understated and ultimately fun interior perfectly suited to a brand that is all about bringing lobster and champagne to the masses.