There’s a new place to go when you don’t want the night to end, and we aren’t talking about the kebab shop.
Canberra is getting a dive inspired bar, Blackbird, a place to drink, socialise and listen to all types of tunes in the basement level of the Sydney Building. Our interests were piqued for a few reasons. Firstly, we were keen to see what type of venue would spark from the hospo guru’s involved in the venture; second there’s something about the heart racing feeling of walking down a dark, dingy staircase and not knowing what lies beneath; lastly, we got word there were killer jaffles.
Co-owners Will Fisher of Gather, Mars Heleta formerly of Raku, currently heading things at Monster, Luke Harper a renowned Sydney bartender, musician and architect (responsible for the Blackbird aesthetic), plus, Paolo Sossi with over 10 years experience at high tier London and Sydney restaurants are the masterminds behind Blackbird. A trusted bunch who are well entrenched in the industry.
While they are calling Blackbird a dive bar, we can assure you their offering is quality. Upon entering you feel the soul of the venue. There’s a permanent DJ booth and platform for blues, jazz, rock, reggae and disco nights to take centre stage.
The venue is designed to be muso centric, with homage paid to 60-70s stars such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Jimi Hendrix in framed portraits within each seating booth. And, a vibrant collage wall of posters with similar accolade. A great investment has gone into epic sound systems and fun lighting.
The menu is simple yet effective, it seemed fitting to look back to the nostalgic Jaffle iron in the wake of paying tribute to timeless singers. The toasties include flavours such as chilli con carne with a sour cream dipping sauce or a three-cheese truffle to name a few. Upon arrival, be greeted by a carnival popcorn machine which at times might have a buttery coating and at others more of an exotic seasoning.
As for the bar, the team are looking to please the hospo crowd who know a thing or two about a good drop of liquor. You’ll find an impressive selection of whiskey and signature cocktails at prices you can afford to stay for more than just one. You’ll also find the latest trends such as distilled non-alcoholic spirits for those looking to visit throughout the week and have an alcohol-free night.
The underground venue scored its name from the legendary Beatles song. Blackbird has hit the sweet spot as far as location is concerned. Their rear entrance backs onto the almost established Verity Lane Markets.
Canberra has a few speakeasys, though, while Blackbird has its lights dimmed down, the bar is less about mystery and more about cool cats with good taste in music.
Blackbird will be open Tuesday to Sunday evenings. Launching late Feb.