Brisbane’s bar scene has veered into cosy laneways of late, and Tonic Espresso + Bar is a perfect example.
An intiative of Tonic Architects’ Matt Riley, the Tonic Café (come-bar) is a destination in itself, out of the way in Hynes St behind busy Wickham Tce and the Emporium complex, without being too far from the action.
“Tonic Espresso + Bar was initially created to explore the potential activation of out-of-the-way laneways in Brisbane CBD fringe locations,” says Riley.
“Initially a cafe, I wanted to create a night time destination that I myself would like to go, specifically in the Valley fringe, referencing the Brooklyn NY and Melbourne model.
“We tried to explore what Brisbane laneway cafe / bars can be. With our warm climate outdoor spaces are a must, hence a large part of the cafe / bar is outdoors and interacts with the street.”
The rise of the laneway bar has taken over Brisbane’s bar culture – from Brew in the city to Super Whatnot and The Laneway, Brisbane City Council’s Vibrant Laneways program hit the mark.
Dual trading models are also increasingly commonplace, from the recently opened Chester St – bakery by day, bar by night, to Tonic’s coffee bar / café model.
“The rise in small bars and fusion trading models where cafes turn into bars and vice versa is definitely on the rise due to demand,” says Riley.
“I think most people go out to these small venues by choice- wanting a close to home or on fringe venue where they can sit , have a conversation – catch up with friends, receive a personalised service and not have to wait hours for a drink.”
Tonic runs intimate events on a regular basis to make use of its adaptable space.
“The intimate nature of the bar assists us to have 25-30 people for wine master classes, beer appreciation, whisky and spirit tasting nights,” says Riley.
“We hold an event like this every six weeks or so; it gives us a great platform to introduce people to new things. But it also gives Tonic Architecture a great opportunity to network with our clients and collaborators.”
Tonic cafe trades Mon-Fri 7am to 3pm. In the colder months the bar trades Wednesday night and Saturday for private functions and Thursday and Friday Nights from 3.30pm to midnight. In the warmer months the bar trades Wednesday to Saturday.