‘We absolutely deserve to be here’: the female Aboriginal-owned bar in Melbourne that honours strong Black women

Fine dining, luxury cocktails, and hip-hop gangsters – the most amazing of us and all we love in an all-in-one place,” Kaylah Truth says, smiling and nodding to a collection of vinyl on the wall, which includes everything from Wu-Tang Clan to Fleetwood Mac to Baker Boy.

We’re in Interlude, the chic bar and restaurant Truth was opened at the Windsor end of Melbourne’s glamorous Chapel Street in April, together with her best pal, Apryl Day.

However, while the marble counters and flashy interiors could blend with the surrounding neighborhood, Interlude is doing things differently. “Blackfulla dishes spun in a fine dining way,” Day says. Day with a smile.

“As far as we know, there hasn’t been a female Aboriginal-owned cocktail bar on Chapel Street,” says Day, an elated Yorta Yorta, Wemba Wemba, and Barapa Barapa woman.

Prior to becoming a company proprietor, Day was a research assistant in the field of youth as well as mental health at the University of Melbourne; meanwhile, Truth is proud to be a Merooni woman from the Gurang nation and a multidisciplinary artist.

It’s their first experience running an event space for hospitality. A stunning Chapel Street venue is grounded in the community, and guests receive a strong feeling of respect and care.

“On the opening night, there were some Cummera [Cummeragunja Mission] boys dressed to the nines,” Day laughs with a smile.

“They were wearing formal shoes. That says quite a lot to be here.

“And I told them, “Right now, you’re eating oysters and scallops’. One of the younger boys was like, “Nah, my name is Cummeragunja, and I’m a member of the Mish mission, and I do not eat those’.”

After a careful discussion, The young ladies were able to indulge.

“We treated them like rock stars, but should they go only a few steps further they would not even be allowed in,” Day declares.

However, Interlude is not just an ideal place to eat shellfish or spray. It’s also a tale of regaining strength out of the depths of despair as well as despair. It is a story of brave imagination and vivid memories.

“We’ve been educated in a strong family of Aboriginal women, who form the core of our communities. They have families while also performing their duties on the frontlines. We’d like to honor that,” Day says.

Truth states: “Black women have been feeding, taking care of and providing a safe and immersive space for their communities since for ever.”

It’s been a sputtering, unweighted conversation that was filled with laughter. But the mood changes when they think about the powerful Black women they have encountered in their lives.

Apryl has the name of her aunty Tanya Day – a proud Yorta Yorta woman who was killed in a preventable suicide in prison in the year 2017.

After the public and tragic passing of her mother in the past, she successfully fought for a campaign to end the criminalization of drinking and driving in Victoria.

Following her mother’s demise, Day, alongside other families affected, founded her foundation, the Dhadjowa Foundation – an independent non-profit organization that offers strategically coordinated and culturally sensitive support for Aboriginal as well as Torres Strait Islander families whose loved ones have passed away in the custody of police. The foundation has been a source of support for families. Day has been a tireless advocate for the right to justice and accountability by police.

“When I thought about the bar, I knew that it was something that is directly linked to Mum,” she explains. “Although it’s not related to the cause, it’s an opportunity to pay homage to Mum.

“It’s very enjoyable having a place that allows me to draw upon my talents as a creative. There are many people who visit because they’re aware of their mother’s story. Everything about this location is reminiscent of her, but the sadness of her loss isn’t a hindrance to the pleasure of the work we’re making.”

“So it’s nice to hold space for Mum,” she explains with an uplifting smile. “And to remember and honour her in a way that isn’t super heavy.”

It is the nature of Day’s death and the ongoing emotional trauma that comes with it that motivates the couple to create an environment that is nurturing and a positive experience for their clients.

The couple have very specific goals for their clients as well as the experience they’re hoping to provide. This starts with the people they choose to hire.

Day declares: “We want a venue that is accessible to everyone particularly mobs and other people of color. We want it to be a exciting and welcoming space in which people feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves.”

“You don’t need to be a certain thing or the other. You don’t need to be a subscriber to any particular story. You are free to say goodbye to the box has been encased into and go in and be who you’d like to be.”

Since Day as Truth is grounded in culture and observant of its audience, They are able to provide high-quality service that begins the moment a patron enters the venue.

Truth claims: “We’re really conscious of the cultural norms, therefore when you book online, there’s a possibility for the mob to provide their preferences for dietary customs that are specific to their culture. One of the last things we would like to do is cook the totem of a person’s food or utilizing plants that are element of their kinship systems.”

Although any kitchen or restaurant is able to cook and procure native food items, it’s the care for detail and cultural quality that distinguish Interlude’s Kakadu plum martini from traditional finger lime garnishes that are found in cocktail bars of cities.

Day declares: “All our suppliers are owned by Aboriginal people. We are aware that when buying native ingredients from someone who harvests on their own land, it’s carried out in a safe and respectful manner.”

Like many new ventures, the journey from conception to conception has been rife with bumps and speedy roads. The founders, neither Day nor Truth, experienced the creation of business plans or cash flow analyses such as. However, Interlude was created for the community in which they reside. Using this information that they have gained, their learning experience was more enjoyable than a battle.

The enthusiasm for Interlude’s venture is why the couple is determined to maximize Interlude’s potential and develop the foundation for intergenerational wealth that can support family members and their communities.

“As Blackfullas says, it’s difficult to get over that impostor problem. This is something I’ve worked on in the outside world,” Day says. “We do not have families who have a background in running fine dining bars and restaurants. This is completely new.

“But we absolutely deserve to be here.”

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