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#VISITBALLARAT

From faux to fox: The Renard story

Visit Ballarat

02 Jun 2021

Filed underFood & Drink

Au revoir The Faux Social Club, bonjour Renard.

In May this year, Ballarat brothers and hospitality leaders Teddy and Louis Powlett unveiled the transformation of their former Mair Street nightclub into modern cocktail bar and social club Renard.

“We’d wanted to change things up for a while at Faux,” Louis said.

“We’d had plans for renovations since early 2019, to get the space more back in alignment with what we wanted to be doing and contributing to Ballarat.”

We spoke to Louis about his latest CBD venture, one he describes as a “bistro-esque discotheque of sorts”.

What prompted the shift from The Faux Social Club to Renard?
“Both Teddy and I felt we were getting too old for full-on nightclubs.

Renard probably lives more truly to being a social club – a diverse space to meet across early arvos and late nights, lunch break wines, pre or post-dinner drinks, date nights and great nights. 

COVID marked a good time to begin doing some renovations, having not been able to trade since March 2020.”

What changes were made to the Mair Street building as part of the revamp?
“A fair bit! Our main issue with Faux was very limited natural light. We cut in some skylights and peeled back cement and false walls to uncover some terracotta tiles and original brickwork. We reinstated two fireplaces for those cold Ballarat nights as well. 

Teddy and I were set on a modern art deco style place. We both wanted a feature terrazzo bench and walnut finishes. We have Genevieve Wallis, Cam Cosier and Steve Abbott to thank for the design, build and mediation of ideas between Teddy and I.” 

Why the moniker ‘Renard’?
“Pronounced ‘Re-Nar’, Renard is French for fox. It started as an affectionate tongue-in-cheek reference to The Faux Social Club, which was often mispronounced by punters as The Fox Social Club. The malapropism stuck with us and we figured we better put it to use on the next rendition of the space.”

What can people expect from the new venue?
“We offer modern bistro-style dishes alongside great cocktails, wines and good times. Our aim is to create and serve drinks that bridge the gap between accessible and intrigue. Expect nice atmosphere and ambience across all hours of the day.”

And what’s the inspiration behind your food and drink line-up?
“Our kitchen is headed by executive chef Liam Downes (Moon & Mountain and Ragazzone) and head chef Andre McLoughlin.

Our food is inspired by – but not limited to – French bistro, with twists of modern Australian and contemporary sensibility. At its most simple, the food is designed to be enjoyed alongside great booze.

We aim to use seasonal and native ingredients, minimise waste and push boundaries with our cocktail list. In practice, this looks like: using brands that bottle seasonally as opposed to importing, using seasonal and perennial fruits, foraging and sourcing a fair bit from our family farm in Learmonth. We’ve managed to use fig leaf, walnuts, chestnuts, cumquats and rhubarb, among other things, so far in the bar and kitchen.

Our wine list emphasises local and Australian independent producers who capture the essence of their terroir. We tend to look to wines produced with minimal intervention and natural wine-making processes.”

Faux might be gone but we hear its disco side still lives on at Renard…
“The one element of Faux that we both consistently loved was the atmosphere created by people, sound and lighting. We just like places with lively tunes and atmosphere. Disco vibes were definitely the soul of Faux and so it only felt right to continue that with the new rendition of the space.”

Located at 209-211 Mair Street, Renard is open Wednesday to Sunday from midday until late

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The City of Ballarat acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land we live and work on, the Wadawurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung People, and recognises their continuing connection to the land and waterways. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging and extend this to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.