Wow, well that was quick. It feels like just last week we were sharing juicy news that Gold Coast’s first ever official small bar was preparing to open its doors in Broadbeach and then, boom, the day has arrived! If you missed the memo let us fill you in here.
What makes a small bar, you might ask? To qualify, the space can be no larger than 100 square metres with max allowance for 100 people or 60 seats (oh, and probably a zillion other legal hoops to jump through), but there is no, absolutely zip, requirement to serve food. While these bars exist in all other parts of the world, Scott Imlach and his team have been lobbying long and hard to make the license more accessible on the Gold Coast.
Sure a couple of other small bar licenses have been granted in past years, but this is the first to open completely sans kitchen. A social watering-only hole. Is it a game changer? We’re as intrigued to watch as the rest of the Gold Coast hospo community and only time will tell if it’s a winning formula.
Enter Broadbeach’s new Soho Place Bar.
It was the first thing that struck us when stepping through the mysterious telephone box entrance—after gandering at the very London-esque graffiti splashed energetically across every wall—is that it’s just an intimate room and a bar, no kitchen, no pass. Nada!
The whole concept of BYO food has been thrown about in recent conversations, and UberEATS is there if you’re realllly hungry, but co-owners Scott, Mike Craighead and Simone Tunbridge, manager Toby Young and the crew are anticipating Soho Place will be a pre and post-dinner hangout. Personally we’re thinking post dinner, ‘cause if you’re passing through the ‘hidden in plain site’ red telephone box entryway, you’ll be stepping into a window-less vortex where hours may mysteriously disappear. So don’t come hungry!
With some of the Coast’s busiest venues in their resume, Bine Craft Beer Bar and Hideaway Bar & Kitchen, people just seem to follow these guys wherever they go. Given they’re all about creating venues that are just as much about the atmosphere and party vibes, as anything else, we’re keen to come back and see this little joint full of people and energy.
Soho Place’s in-your-face London theming and electro swing soundtrack is inspired by Scott’s 10 years living and working in London’s vibrant West End. Targeting the 25-plus crowd, here its all about the dranks (obvs) with medium to top shelf spirits (for instance Belvedere Vodka is their first pour) and fun cocktails which are a nod to yesteryear.
The classic cocktail list is like twist on Britain’s Bugsy Malone and America’s Great Gatsby. Most cocktails come with a story of their era and influence, like the Painkiller with Pusser’s dark rum, coconut, pineapple and orange juice (which we first encountered in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, introduced by the Navy folk in the 70s) and the Zombie of 1930s Hollywood served in a tiki mug with stiff lashings of four kinds of brandy and liqueur.
All the region’s craft breweries are represented on the menu, alongside Sapporo on tap and a concise selection of wines by the glass or bottle. Like scotch whisky? So do these guys, with 20+ bottles of Scotland’s finest behind the bar.
Opening this Friday night, and every night thereafter from 5pm ‘til midnight with live DJs most evenings, we suggest you acquaint yourself with Soho Place Bar in Broadbeach, and standby for their next small bar project, Nightjar, soon to take shape in the back alleys of Burleigh Heads.
We’re calling it now. Nightlife on the Gold Coast as we know it is about to enter an entirely new chapter. Jump on board and enjoy the ride.
Where: 2713 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach
Eager to eat before you get your drink on? Get your fill at one of these top Broadbeach restaurants.
Image credit: Brooke Darling for The Urban List