The woolly mammoth was a cumbersome yet formidable beast. So you can understand why the owners of the Fortitude Valley venue to bear the name chose it, given its vast size and multi-faceted offering.
Yet, five years on from the opening of Woolly Mammoth in the heart of the Valley’s vibrant club scene precinct, it was time for change. The mammoth that once took centre stage in the main downstairs room remains, albeit now in the form of a hunter's trophy like mounting that welcomes you into the upstairs gig room. In his place downstairs is a hot pink vintage Mercedes (well, part of it) acting as a DJ booth that holds court over a new look venue.
Out has gone the darker, harder ambience of before. In comes a bright, pastel-hued Palm Springs-Cali vibe as the owners breathe new life into their baby. The main bar is all pinks, yellow, oranges and greens, with the new fittings and flora combining to make it feel like you're living inside one of Lana del Rey's dreamier tracks.
Upstairs, The Garden Terrace has been refined rather that totally reinvented, remaining bright and breezy but sharing more commonality with the venue below. Where things change up most is the band room; this retains the Woolly Mammoth name – and the "THE WORLD IS YOURS" neon sign that once sat behind the wall of crafty taps downstairs. It's also been given new booths and blood red lighting that transports you from that Cali dreamscape into the realms of Bladerunner.
But what of the drinks offering. The back wall downstairs remains the hotspot for beer, albeit with nine rotating craft beer taps rather than the 20-odd of years gone by. In their place are several cocktails on tap, in keeping with the new Ivory Tusk schtick, as is the ability to line up tasting paddles of tequila.
The menu has evolved too: crossing the border from California to the south, it's mainly Mexican-inspired dishes these days. As with Woolly Mammoth, it's a combination designed to appeal to a broad cross-section of people in different ways and at different times. Sundays are Crafternoons, at which you can enjoy craft beers for $7 a pop, while you can enjoy a laid-back experience in the Garden Terrace anytime, take in bands and DJs in the band room, or join a younger crowd to party well into the small hours downstairs on weekends.
The number of taps dedicated to local, independent breweries may have shrunk but knowledgeable staff remain in place to look after them – and, when you add in the permanent pours from the likes of Stone & Wood and Young Henrys, you've got as much choice as you'll find at most beer venues or brewpubs in the city – ensuring the venue remains a place introducing craft beer to an audience that might not otherwise come across it.