Meg Courtney Hawke & Marcus Mahoney - MARGOT BAR & KITCHEN
Meg I grew up in the hugely cosmopolitan Mount Waverley.
Marcus I grew up in Coragulac, a small town near Colac.
Meg I moved to Castlemaine in March 2014. My husband and I were priced out of Melbourne and we started poking around on weekends wondering what life might be like in the lovely Castlemaine. In a strange twist, one of the first places we ventured into was The Comma (the old-man-pub whose bricks and mortar now house the lovely Margot) and had quite the night!
The doggies and the cat told us to buy the house with the wild mess that is our garden, so naturally, we obeyed. For weeks we couldn't find our own house at night, and were often found driving at 40km on the Midland Highway with high-beams on saying, 'It's just up here, isn't it?'
Marcus and his partner moved in September 2015 when I suggested Margot to him and he, without hesitation, said yes. I love a dare-devil!
Marcus is actually a qualified teacher and garden designer and I'm a qualified screenwriter, so a bar and kitchen was the obvious pick! We've both been around the traps in Melbourne for many years working hospitality too and we've both worked at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival year after year in venue and front of house management.
We wanted to create a warm and intimate space for people to share a drink and eat beautiful fare, cooked with love. Places like Ombra Salumi Bar and Von Haus in Melbourne’s CBD, Carolina in North Carlton and Longplay in North Fitzroy were inspirations - they share a tightly curated, select and delish menu and a fine, yet accessible, list of beverages.
Marcus On my first visit, I went to Good Table and had an amazing dinner in the midst of torrential rain! As a city kid, I love that I can walk everywhere and be sure there's good coffee literally around every corner! But what is with the 4 billion loud birds everywhere?!
Having grown up the country Vic, it wasn't a huge transition for me. If you're going to move away from the big smoke Castlemaine's a great option. An astonishing variety of business and people doing incredible to kooky things, great producers, vibrant artistic community.
Meg Major hurdles? Winter. That is all. I wear gumboots year ‘round these days, to get down our 'driveway', I love waking up to the birds (or is our baby or the cat that kicks things off at 5am?) and I don't even blink when I commence a 50 minute walk to town.
Marcus For the record I was warned about winter and it's... challenges... but a great glass of wine helps a lot!
Meg Buying a house, starting a business and having a baby at the same time = 10/10 fun! (The definition of fun is extremely stressful, yet extremely rewarding, right? Right??)
Marcus Meg. Is. Amazing!
Meg: We’ve had to rise to the challenge fast. Some of the old blokes from the original Comma paid us a few visits early on and gave us quite the talking to, but in general locals have been really kind to us and welcomed us with open arms. Their support means the world to us. We want to keep seeing the enamoured faces of new punters as they walk in wide-eyed off the street and say 'wow, where did this come from?' We want to keep throwing kick-arse birthday parties and weddings. We want to hold events (wine dinners, intimate cabarets etc.) for our existing clientele and wider community to enjoy
We want to do it all with love!
Marcus What Meg said. Also GIN. Because...gin.
Favourite haunts - Origini courtyard for a cool drink, Bella Fresca for pizza, Bot gardens for picnics, BUDA for garden inspiration, Corner Store Merchants for cool pressies (and their safe!), Castlemaine Gallery, The Royal for movies, Fig for salads, Johnny Baker for cakes, the 3 meter deep end at the pool & my front step as the blessed cool change comes in!