Within less than a year, Collingwood Yards and its many residents—Hope St Radio and Licorice Pie Records to name a few—have swiftly become institutions in their own rights. Though, in just a few months time, the creative hub will pull another drawcard: a rooftop bar with a focus on records and good music on top of its Johnston Street building, known as Runner Up.
The bar comes from Benny Rausa and Liam Alexander (owners of Colour Carlton), along with several other business partners including two members of indie outfit, Mildlife. Tastemakers in their own rights, there’s a certain hype in the air that Runner Up will live up to the reputations of those behind it.
“We’ve got some nice vintage JBL hifi speakers and analogue rotary mixer from a dude who’s hand built them in Melbourne. It’s just a well-considered system that sounds nice; nothing too crazy,” said Rausa.
“Something that you can still hang out with people without getting blasted, we’ve also taken the acoustics of the bar into consideration so it fills out the space nicely.”
While that may sound like jargon, what you can take from that is that the place has been well-thought-out from aesthetic right across to audio. Rausa and co. are serious about a good time, but that doesn’t mean Runner Up takes itself too seriously; in fact, the team is intending for a space that’s inclusive and easy going—and that starts with its namesake.
“Behind the name was obviously, ‘up stairs’ given it’s a rooftop bar, but we've also got the gurner development going up next door which will eventually tower over us, so I'd say it's a a lighthearted approach and we’ll be leaning into that.
“We'll have a music approach similar to what we’re doing with the bar. Lighthearted, fun, vintage, 70s, disco, soul and jazz. We'll have DJs on the weekends, and weeknights we’ll likely leave it up to the bar staff to play records while they're working,” said Rausa.
Along with what’ll be playing through the speakers, those heading up the stairs can expect a considered and well-stocked bar—it comes with the calibre of those behind it, after all—as well as a view sweeping right across Melbourne’s north (at least for the time being).
At this point, Runner Up is set to open early September. Keep an eye on their Instagram for all the details.
In the meantime, head on over to Hope St Radio.
Image credit: Collingwood Yards