May 7, 2015 by 250 Beers
I penned a blog post a few days ago that spoke of Brisbane’s burgeoning craft beer community. Here’s some more burgeon…
Imagine living in an area barren of craft beer (apart from Bacchus 10kms away and a great bottle shop). Imagine being part of a thriving community and not being able to sit in a pub or a bar with your pals and sample some of the delights that other parts of Brisbane do without batting an eyelid. Imagine what could happen if four beer lovin’ mates from Cleveland decided to take matters into their own hands and open up a bar?
Imagine no more. It’s happening. And it’s opening soon.
When the lease of a small ex-spa went up for grabs towards the end of last year, mates Nate, Little Nate, Matt and Dan knew that they were staring the opportunity of the first Redlands craft beer bar in the face and decided to take the plunge.
Fast forward six months and the boys are on the verge of revealing to their thirsty neighbours what six months hard work looks like.
I snuck down to Cleveland a few weeks ago for a beer, a chat and a glimpse at The Bench.
Apart from Little Nate’s firm handshake, the first thing that struck me was the transformation from bland strip mall spa to comfortable hang-out. I’d been following the exploits of the foursome on social media and was impressed by what I saw compared to what I recall the interior looking like when they first took hold of the keys. The bar is very much a place to go and chill with your mates.
The walls have been stripped back to expose the brickwork which seems to be the thing to do these days. Why not? It gives a clean yet industrial edge to an otherwise simple space. The old boxed covering of a steel joist perched above head height has also been removed leaving the joist exposed as a focal point.
A couple of walls have been given some love and special attention with black rendering providing something a little different.
The bar itself will feature 8 taps – predominantly pouring Australian beer which is pleasing to hear. For the opening, expect to see beers from Rocks Brewing, Fortitude Brewing, Stone & Wood, All Inn, Green Beacon, Bacchus and Apple Thief Cider. Eventually, when the boys find their feet, Tap 8 will likely be pouring a house beer or perhaps something quirky. Also expect to see Mountain Goat and Newstead Brewing Co make appearances soon.
Directly above the bar is a huge (it’s massive) work of art hand drawn by a local artist. I won’t ruin the surprise but calling it a feature wall is an understatement. One other interesting point of note is that the table/bench tops, the bar top itself and the handrail outside all came from the same tree. This is further evidence of the pure sweat that has gone into putting this place together.
The venue can handle up to 60 people comfortably including a brand new front deck overlooking a leafy, green patch of Cleveland. I was present as the sun was setting late on a balmy Friday afternoon. The streaks of dull orange light that hit the front of the building from behind the trees at that time of day were incredible…and they made me thirsty. Maybe that’s just me. It was a Friday after all.
The mixed aroma of local take-away restaurants combining in the air was almost too hard to bear. The great news is that some of the surrounding food businesses will not only deliver food to you while you’re quaffing away on a few beers but they’ll also come and clear up too. How good is that?! There is almost too much choice in BYO food on offer in the immediate vicinity. Choose from Indian, Sri Lankan, Thai, American and European cuisines to name but a few.
For me – living a million miles away – transport wouldn’t be an issue for future visits as the distance from Cleveland train station is less than 350 metres. The distance from my house to Cleveland is more like 350 kilometres but that’s my problem.
Redland City is home to more than 150,000 people that have never had a bar like The Bench to call a ‘proper local’. I fear that there won’t be enough beer in The Bench’s cold room to cater for the likely deluge of punters when that front door eventually gets flung open in the next few weeks.
The Bench is simply four blokes having a go and I admire that. Jealous? Maybe a bit.