Bars & Pubs

We Check Out Lefty’s New Bar, Liquor Store & Prairie Supplies

By Daniel Colasimone - 16 Jun 2014

The Caxton Street precinct has become a hotbed of hip night-time hijinks over the past 12 months, and Lefty's Old Time Music Hall is located right in the eye of the mania-spouting fun volcano.

Like Angry Birds or Christopher Walken, Lefty's became emphatically popular very quickly by offering up something quirky, larkish and different, thus plugging a gap in the Brisbane bar scene that nobody knew existed (you can read our review here).

The brainchild of food and entertainment gurus Jason Scott and Jamie Webb, the bustling locale built on its initial appeal by creating a sort-of-hidden-bar-within-a-bar, The Mermaid Lounge, late last year.

And now they have expanded again, adding a street-fronting saloon and bottle shop, known as the Liquor Store & Prairie Supplies, which will be open till 10pm from Wednesdays though Sundays.

We caught up with general manager, Mick Dwyer, who runs the show along with Dave Marshall, over a few of jars of moonshine, to chat about the new Lefty's bar and the success of Lefty's in general.

TUL: Can you explain the concept behind the new Liquor Store & Prairie Supplies? 

MD: The initial idea was to have a bottle shop, slash somewhere you can sit down and have a beer, slash somewhere you can buy band merchandise from the bands who come through here. And then we got in contact with Western Wac, from the Woolloongabba Antique Centre, and they've supplied us with all the cowboy hats and Western shirts and books and boots that you can buy here as well. 

We're also going to be doing takeaway barrel-aged cocktails. So on top of being able to buy what's on our upstairs bar here, you'll be able to buy a little bottle of, say Old Fashioned. We'll make it for you, seal it in the bottle, and you can take it away. We're going to be doing block ice as well, for people who live locally.

It also gives us a bit of street frontage, so people can look in and see what we're about, and with the tables out the front people can eat and have a beer out there as well. 

TUL: Lefty's as a whole has become a hugely popular hangout in a pretty short space of time. What do you put that down to?

MD: I think it's just down to the simple fact that Brisbane didn't have anything like this, and it was kind of itching for it.

TUL: What is 'this' exactly?

MD: I guess there's Old Timey aspect of it, and the kind of ambient darkness that Lefty's provides. Not just talking about the light, but in the way that time sort of gets away from you as well.

We've been incredibly lucky with the team that we've got and wouldn't be successful without the people behind the bar.

TUL: How has a bar that features live country and bluegrass music taken off in Brisbane? 

MD: I tie it in to the Hoedown aspect of it. Like people used to do this years ago. And any trend has it's full circle, it gets uncool and then it gets cool again and I think we just hit the right time.

TUL: Caxton Street has really changed over the last year or so, hasn't it?

MD: Totally. I was there when Cartel opened three years ago, and I stand by the fact that they started the change. At that stage Caxton Street was a destination for out-of-town business folk who wanted to go to strip clubs and sing karaoke and have a lavish dinner. There wasn't anything for younger people.

But this whole place is a different area now. It's an entertainment precinct. People can go and have dinner, and then a drink, and it's way nicer than it used to be. All these bars, us, Statler and Waldorf, Brewski, Cartel, have all kind of built off each other to make it what it is now.

TUL: Why are there lots of bras on the mouse heads on the wall of Lefty's?

MD: I think it was within our first week, I'm pretty sure it was one of the girls who used to be employed in this building, when it was The Velvet Cigar, just out of the blue threw her bra up there. And it was easier to get them up there back then. Now there's so many of them. So the owner called her over and gave her a few free drinks. And once there was one up there, it kind of became a tradition. Girls started asking what happens if they get their bra up there, so we said we'd let them drink all night for free if they get it first go, and if it takes a few goes we'll shout them a drink. We didn't really expect it to become a 'thing'.

We're actually thinking about giving them at the end of the year to a charity that takes bras as donations, there are quite a few that do, and starting from square one.

What's New Brisbane

TUL Note: Hailing from the 'Paris of the South,' Bundaberg, Dan Colasimone is back in Brisbane after spending the better part of a decade living overseas. He also writes about sport. He once completed an Arts degree. Twitter: @ArgentinaFW

Image credit: MN Prairie Roots

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