Unleash your inner explorer and uncover Glebe's best-kept secret, Wildfire Lounge! This hidden gem is a cocktail lover's paradise, where creativity and charisma ooze from every corner. At the heart of the venue is Matt Elsarky, venue manager & head bartender. Matt's passion for pushing the boundaries of flavour and crafting unforgettable libations has made him a household name in the bartending world. His journey through the art of mixology has been nothing short of extraordinary, and his commitment to delivering exceptional drinks is evident in every sip. Buckle up and join us on a journey into the creative world of Matt Elsarky and the magic he brings to the cocktail bar, Wildfire.
Name: Matt Elsarky
Where are you Living: Glebe
What you do: Venue manager and head bartender
Where do you work: Wildfire lounge
Follow along: @mattelsarky & @wildfirelounge
Which Feels Botanical products do you range: Bask, Revel and Rouse
How did you start out in your industry & what are some of the venues you have worked in throughout your career?
I started at 15 doing work experience at Rydges Bankstown helping out all around the property and then at a local restaurant in the kitchen doing prep.
I caught the hospitality bug then and worked at a range of hotels including Sheraton on the Park, Sir Stamford, Hilton and the Red Carnation Hotel in Mayfair London. More recently working in fine dining restaurants Spice Temple, Stanbulli, Bazaari and Perama 2.0
What did you feel in an emotive sense when you first came into contact with the Feels Botanical brand and product range?
Excited to try a new range of products and then after tasting I became excited about how I could utilise the flavours in cocktails.
What were the synergies between the Feels brand and your venue?
The mystery and allure. Being a hidden basement bar draped in red velvet and candlelight makes us a venue that few have experienced yet those who are open to it have an unforgettable experience. I have the same association with Feels Botanicals, the mystery and allure of the elixirs with the openness to try something new.
How and why did you want to utilise Feels as a product offering to your clientele?
Being an Australian product that was at an approachable price made it easier to bring in. But ultimately the flavours and versatility they brought were the reason.
Tell us about the place you tap into when you work on bringing to life a drink within your venue?
I draw inspiration from the macabre for the concepts and creativity, I normally do this late at night. For the taste and putting the cocktails together that's done in the daytime which is when I am obsessed with the pursuit of perfection
When do you feel most creative…?
3am, when everyone is gone, the venue is finally quiet and it's just me and the cleaning.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I look to the past; old cocktail books provide a great insight into bartender gone by.
When I’m feeling burnt out, I wind down and reset by?
Escape to the coast and spending time with family
My favourite way to drink Feels is?
In a spritz
What song do you set the mood with?
The person (dead or alive) I’d most like to drink it with is?
What you may not know about me?
My go-to cocktail is a good espresso martini.
Advice to those wanting to get into your field?
Be present in everything you do, not just in the moments you are most passionate about.