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bars and clubs, food and wine, mid-range, price, woolloongabba

HOT: Canvas, 16B Logan Rd, Woolloongabba

MM has his finger well and truly on the pulse when it comes to bars around Brisbane.  As a die hard fan of sophisticated cocktail making and drink mixology, medicine he loves to sit at the bar and request a few of his faves from his days in Melbourne (frequenting the oh-so-cool laneway bars) and provide a critical analysis of his experience to those willing, nurse or forced, to listen (read:  Me!).  It’s poetry in motion to watch (and gets funnier with the more cocktails he samples), so I was pleased when he suggested we try the very new boutique bar Canvas the other night, on our way home from a rather drab day in the office.

With the recent introduction of new laws in Brisbane permitting liquor licenses for ‘small bars’, boutique venues are (finally) popping up in the suburbs and (finally) some progress has been made to provide ‘burb dwellers nice, intimate venues full of the character and warmth that many of the bigger, commercial venues lack.

Canvas is only days old, so when we walked into the warm, cosy venue there weren’t too many punters, but enough to create a bit of a vibe.  As per usual protocol, we took a seat at the bar and struck up some chit chat with the owner as she tempted us with the cocktail menu.

The bar is decked out in ‘shabby chic’ décor that is straight out of the 1950’s, and they’ve without a doubt spent some cash on making this new place feel old and homey.  Under the dim but romantic lighting there’s a selection of Chesterfield lounges, antique chairs and booth seating available to settle into, or like us you may choose to hold up the bar for a prime spot to people watch from.

The cocktail menu content-wise has some old faithful concoctions with new names that scream of flavour and fun, mixed with old-school sophistication.  The menu in its physical form contains beautiful, quirky sketches with gorgeous calligraphy, which makes the process for choosing a cocktail a little longer than usual, but ensures a more considered and well thought decision!

The cocktails themselves are made with love – the ice comes fresh from the ice maker and is crushed manually right in front of your eyes.  If you choose the right drink you might be lucky enough to see the staff use a deadly looking pick axe to chip away large shards from a huge ice block.

Canvas boasts a small selection of tasty morsels to snack on while you soak up the ambience; this includes toasted breads ($3), a selection of dips ($5), goats cheese with crackers and quince, muscatels, etc (~$10) as well as plates of cold cured meats and olives (~$10).

MM and I chose a combination of the goats cheese, crackers, eggplant labna, muscatels and toasted bread which were all delicious – special mention to the goat responsible for the cheese, it was deliciously smooth with a just the right hint of tartness.  Perhaps this selection would best have been accompanied by a nice glass of red, but we were in cocktail mode – so the food and drink weren’t too complimentary of each other, but that was no one’s fault but ours!

Canvas has a very relaxed feel to it, particularly after a couple of cocktails.  It’s one of those places that will attract regulars on their way home because of the warm and friendly feel to it, and I’m sure new patrons will travel out of their way to try it out.

Some of these boutique bars run the risk of being a bit over-done, elitist and snobby, but I can’t see Canvas landing in that bucket.  I’m excited to finally have a boutique bar in my local area, where the staff are friendly and remember my name.

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