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New bar to set up camp in Adelaide's East End

InReview

A new cocktail bar and performance venue is about to open in Adelaide’s East End, boasting a Liberace-style design featuring a giant chandelier and a piano that doubles as DJ booth.

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Located on the top floor of a building off Synagogue Place and scheduled to open on April 8, Mary’s Poppin is the latest venture of venue owner and events producer Stephen Craddock.

Craddock describes Mary’s as a “totally new concept for Adelaide”, with a design that is opulent and “campy” yet casual. “Doof doof” club music will be officially banned, with the promise instead of familiar tunes, dancing and a range of nightly live entertainment.

“We will have three to six shows a night, from [drag] queens to burlesque to boylesque to contortionists to singers to tap dancers in the toilet,” Craddock says.

Craddock’s events business In the Dark has run GLBTQI events around the country for the past decade and has toured artists ranging from Grace Jones and Sophie Ellis-Bextor to American DJ and producer Junior Vasquez. It regularly brings drag queens from the reality-television show RuPaul’s Drag Race to Australia, with two contestants – Jujubee and Coco Montrese – set to make an appearance at Mary’s Poppin on May 19.

Craddock says he has a special guest lined up for the April 8 opening night, but he won’t reveal who it is other than to hint: “She’s based in Sydney and she’s quite a famous singer”.

It is also intended that Mary’s will host shows during festivals such as Adelaide Fringe and the Cabaret Fringe.

“The idea was to open for Fringe this year, but we didn’t quite make it because we changed interior designers,” Craddock says.

The new look is the work of high-profile designer Michael Delany, the man behind venues such as Honkytonks and The Bottom End in Melbourne, as well as the refurbishment of the former Piano Bar in Kings Cross and a number of Sydney pubs.

Craddock says Mary’s Poppin has capacity for 150 people and is built around a stage, with design features including a centrepiece giant chandelier and a piano that doubles as a DJ booth.

“It’s going to be really crazy. Michael Delany is quite famous for his honkytonk style – he manages to throw a whole mishmash of colours together and it works … it’s going to be quite Liberace.

“It’s very retro in feel, yet with modern touches … it’s very camp.”

The bar – which is located next to Apple Bar in Synagogue Place – will be aiming for an environment that is GLBTQI-friendly, but with everyone welcome.

“You can be whoever you like and dance to whoever you like and not feel threatened or judged by anyone,” Craddock says.

Stephen Craddock (centre) with RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage and RuPaul during one of their In The Dark tours.

Stephen Craddock (centre) with RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage and RuPaul during one of the In The Dark tours.

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