The team behind Toronto’s brand new Supernova Ballroom, as well as anti-waste initiative Trash Tiki, are returning to London for a takeover of The Sun Tavern during London Cocktail Week. Clinton Cawood caught up with the bar’s Kelsey Ramage ahead of the event
Supernova Ballroom is the first venue from Canadian-born Kelsey Ramage. Once head bartender at Dandelyan in London, she went on to set up Trash Tiki with partner Iain Griffiths, who helped create venues such as White Lyan, Super Lyan and Lyaness. What followed was a 100-city Trash Tiki world tour. The new bar, Supernova Ballroom, is a rather more permanent venture, set in a 1920s-style building in downtown Toronto, with the aim of being, according to its website, a ‘refreshing disco filled oasis of good times with quality drinks’.
‘With all the touring of the last few years, the biggest thing Iain and I were excited for was creating something that lasted more than 48 hours, so that has been a huge feeling of accomplishment,’ says Ramage. ‘Knowing each day we can turn up and make everything that 10% better, versus taking it all down and just moving on.’
Drinks-wise, the team has taken an approach they describe as #fortheloveoffizz, with spritzes, fizzes and other sparkling offerings, using local, seasonal produce, as well as rinds and husks from a local juicery, Anti Vice.
The list comprises four main sections, starting with Toppers, which are light spritz-style drinks, followed by Wild Airs, consisting of bottled house-fermented cocktails. There’s a dedicated section of French 75 variations, and a House Bubbles collection of in-house carbonated drinks.
Ramage didn’t rush into opening the venue in Toronto straight away. ‘We learnt so much about so many different markets when on tour that we knew there was no one size fits all approach,’ she says. ‘Every single city in the world is different. That’s exactly why we didn’t move here and just open something straight away. We wanted to get to know the city, the community and the landscape.’
One distinction Ramage encountered was the difference in pace when opening the bar. ‘Everything in North America just moves slower. There is more red tape and more paperwork, and the structure you’re working within is much less clearly defined.’
With the founders of The Trash Collective behind it, it’s unsurprising that Supernova Ballroom is at the forefront of sustainability and waste reduction, and the space offers the opportunity to develop this further. As Ramage explains: ‘We’re definitely sitting on a few new techniques and tips that we’re excited to start sharing in the new year. For now, we’re using this first permanent space to R&D more thoroughly than we ever have before and just keep chipping away at making our footprint a little better.’
Ramage and Griffiths are teaming up with Denver’s RiNo Yacht Club, as well as Bombay Sapphire and Pizza by Yard Sale for ‘a night of punk rock debauchery’ at The Sun Tavern on 9 October during London Cocktail Week. Get yourselves down there.