Sunshine Coast Beer Given A Platform At The Station

February 26, 2024, by Mick Wust

Sunshine Coast Beer Given A Platform At The Station

What do you get when you cross a concert venue, a skate park and a street food market?

You get The Station, a family-friendly entertainment precinct on the Sunshine Coast. And here’s the kicker: its drink offerings are built around locally-made beer and spirits.

It’s the project of Sunny Coast couple Chris and Lauren Hignett, who were looking for a location to bring their indoor skatepark and retail skate shop together under one roof, possibly with the addition of live music and food. What they found was the sprawling 6400m² site in Birtinya that was formerly NightQuarter, a live music venue that closed in November 2022 after two years of operating.

“It’s bigger than we were thinking initially,” Chris says, “[but] as soon as we saw [NightQuarter], we were fans of the space. Disappointed when it closed down, but it gave us an opportunity.”

It’s hard to know where to start in describing The Station. Among other things, it picks up where NightQuarter left off as a concert venue for music artists, with a main stage and an outdoor stage. But while NightQuarter only operated a couple of days each week, The Station will open six days a week.

“We’re looking at live music every day. Bigger concerts on Friday and Saturday nights, but local acoustic sessions and musicians constantly throughout the day from 12 o’clock onwards.”

 

Lauren and Chris Hignett, the couple behind The Station.
Lauren and Chris Hignett, the couple behind The Station.

 

But it’s more than a music venue: The Station is a multi-faceted endeavour that covers the better part of a hectare, with a skate park, retail shop and café offerings open from 9am, and the rest of the site opening from lunchtime until 10pm, including a number of other entertainment option for kids.

“We can keep the kids entertained while parents relax. On school holidays there’ll be jumping castle, movies… the whole idea is to make the venue flexible. Bingo sessions, quiz nights, putt putt golf, VR games, virtual golf… you name it, we can do it.”

The food and drink side of the site is an outdoor market layout with a vibe similar to Brisbane’s Eat Street, complete with shipping containers; initially the market will open with seven food vendors, and will expand to over 20 stalls come September.

And while a setup of this size is usually dominated by macro beer, The Station is going with beer from local breweries, eschewing tap contracts and sponsorships.

“It’s hard to turn down that sort of money, but at the same time, we want this to be a place that represents the Sunshine Coast – doesn’t look like everywhere else, doesn’t have the same offering. 

“We wanted to make sure we’re doing something unique. One place to taste the best of the Sunshine Coast!”

Eleven taps at the bar will exclusively pour beers from Sunny Coast breweries, with one rotating tap available for beers from national brands. The spirits and cocktails will also be focused on producers from the region.

 

The Station's food market will expand on the previous iteration, and focus on local produce.
The Station's food market will expand on the previous iteration, and focus on local produce.

 

“We’re putting local first in everything we do,” Chris says. “We’ve stubbornly stuck at that vision. And I can’t ever see us changing that.

“We’re not saying ‘no’ to everyone else. But you’ll be on the shelf, not in the front.”

It’s not like it’s the first time Sunny Coast breweries have been showcased alongside each other; you only have to look to the likes of the Hinterland Craft Beer Festival to know these brewers play nicely together. But having a permanent spot that highlights the impressive beer scene of the Sunshine Coast for locals and tourists alike – where you can also take the kids and catch a gig?

"It feels like a market festival site,” Chris says. “We’re putting a lot of work and effort into art, and to make the place look a little bit less like a warehouse and more like a fun exciting space to hang out in.

“It’s one of those places: you know how in pubs these days you’re told to go in, sit down, have some food and drink and don’t do anything? We’re kind of the opposite. You can sit down if you want to, but otherwise you can move around, have fun.

“We want it to be a playground for adults and kids.”


The Station’s grand opening weekend begins at 4pm on March 1: Friday night's headliners are Temper Trap, supported by local band Betty Taylor; Saturday night will be a dance party featuring DJ Havana Brown, DJ Brooklyn and DJ Jonny Sonic from the Potbelleez; and the Sunday session will be led by "local dance party sensations" Raw Ordio, as well as Ampersand Band launching their debut EP.

Visit The Station's website or Facebook page for more info and tickets to the gigs.

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