The rumours had been circulating for some time and, by the middle of 2019, they were confirmed. One of Brisbane’s best-loved beer venues, the iconic Mill On Constance in Fortitude Valley, was to close its doors due to issues with the lease. But with every cloud a silver lining…
Wasting no time in finding a new project, Gill Letham and Gerard Hartnett trained their focus on a venue in the leafy surrounds of Mitchelton. The Brisbane beer community was able to breathe a collective sigh of relief as, in July 2019, The Woods Bar threw open its doors for the first time.
It turns out Gill had been eyeing the location for some time and, with a small, dedicated team holding on to the craft beer ideals of The Mill by their side, the couple wasted no time creating a new craft beer hub in Blackwood Street.
The space where The Woods sits previously housed a wholefood grocer and deli. And, having transformed not just The Mill but also a former estate agents office in Bulimba into top notch beer venues (the latter is The Oxford Tap House), Gerard set about completing their hat-trick, maintaining the cosy neighbourhood ambience with soft lighting, wood panelling and traditional furniture.
At launch, the bar was home to ten rotating taps, a substantial gin and wine menu – including unique made to order keg wine – as well as a classic cocktail list that allows the talented bar staff to showcase their skills. And the response from the local community was immediate and enthusiastic; Gill’s biggest challenge has been fitting everyone in.
“We are constantly busy,” she says. “A great problem to have for sure.”
The Woods’ clientele ranges from the younger, after work crowd – due in part to the proximity of the train station – to older, die-hard fans of The Mill. And its restaurant serves up an extensive all-day menu based around tapas and bar snacks, plus an ever-changing lunch and dinner menu.
That was just the start of their vision for the Mitchelton venue, however. They extended their existing liquor licence and opened a laneway bar, which houses a container bar featuring a further eight taps, aptly named “The Cabin”. It’s a move that opens up opportunities for more beer events and the chance to stock a more diverse range of hard to find beers.
The hope is for The Woods Bar to be a leader in the local craft beer community, giving punters a taste of the best of the Queensland beer scene as well as the most exciting arrivals from overseas. Within weeks of opening, you could see this manifested in an event that matched Brisbane’s much-admired Range Brewing with UK powerhouse Cloudwater.
Gill from The Mill might be no more. But The Woods has the goods to ensure discerning drinkers in another part of Brisbane can enjoy the hospitality that made her former haunt one of the country’s best.