At the Bar with July Luggage founder Athan Didaskalou

Australian luggage brand July founders Athan Didaskalou and Richard Li are behind one of the country’s most sought after suitcases on the market right now, and soon bound for the Paris Olympics in June – to support the Australian athletes who’ll be carrying a bespoke luggage range made just for them.

The Write Drop spoke to Athan Didaskalou for our At The Bar series. He gives us some fabulous insight into the lure of the Mornington Peninsula and why he keeps going back for more, a favourite Sydney hotel lobby bar that delivers each and every time he visits, and a small-batch Victorian wine he’s obsessed with right now.

MY CITY

I live north side in Melbourne, a city that has the largest Greek communities outside of Athens and my family is a testament to that – my sister, parents and some cousins are all within walking distance from my house. This is great when we need free babysitters for the kids. Besides family, Melbourne’s food and coffee scene is the best in the country, so that’s a big win in my book.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

Eating a meal with my family at Tedesca Osteria on the Mornington Peninsula. Owned and run by chef Brigitte Hafner, their produce is grown on the property they also call home.  You get a real farm-to-table experience when you dine her. I had a great chat with owner Brigitte after a delicious lunch, who told me she used to work at Grossi Florentino – where she was often referred to as “where’s Tedesca?” – which translates to “where’s the German?” From a branding standpoint, I loved this nod to her heritage and experience, and the food truly is incredible. Brigitte also owned Gertrude St Enoteca, which is where my wife Shamini and I used to go all the time when we were first dating, so lots of fond memories there too.

FAVOURITE BAR

I went to Apollo Inn recently and it’s my new favourite bar in Melbourne. It’s a beautiful spot with a great wine and cocktail list, but my drink of choice there is a Calvados French whisky and tonic. It’s bitter and apple-y and absolutely delicious. A must try.

DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU

A tequila shot! I am known for bringing out trays of them at every party, and some people love it, some people can’t handle it, but it always makes an impact. A bit like my personality.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

Two Panadols, one Hydralyte, one black coffee and a McDonald’s breakfast.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR

Lately, the lobby bar at The Ace Hotel in Surry Hills. It’s where I stay when travelling for work, so convenience definitely plays into it, but it’s also just a vibey spot with great drinks. Depending on what I’m feeling, I’ll go for their Ruby Margarita or Olive Leaf Martini, both delicious in their own right.

FAVOURITE WINE

One of my favourites is a bottle of Pinot Noir from Merli from the Mornington Peninsula. The owner has created his own Tuscan Villa style property, it’s a lovely spot to visit and the wine is great. Small batch, lo-fi, no preservatives – delicious.

FAVOURITE WINERY

The Mornington Peninsula is becoming a bit of a hero here, but I visited Yal Yal Estate recently and it was great. They offer a really affordable tasting session, from memory it’s around $15pp, and there was only one other couple there when we went – so it was nice and intimate. The winery is beautiful and you can sit outside with a cheese platter after you’re appropriately tipsy from the tasting. Definitely recommend organising transport before you go so you can get the full experience.

NEXT DESTINATION 

We’re the official luggage suppliers for the Australian Olympic Team, so Richard (July co-founder) and I will be heading to Paris Olympic Games in June. Feels like a once in a lifetime experience and where’s better than Paris in July? We can’t wait.

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