In Hobart in recent years, the main places to go for food and drinks have been Salamanca Place and Elizabeth Street in North Hobart. The offerings in the city were less concentrated and came and went a little. This has started to change and the central city blocks are now offering a good range of places to eat and have a drink – with more and more opening soon.
Lap up a feast of new nightlife options
HOBART’S nightlife is undergoing a transformation, with several venues starting up and some of the town’s historic watering holes reopening. The focus is expanding from the traditional waterfront and Salamanca entertainment precinct, with new bars in the CBD and North Hobart.
Brat Time is a new underground bar and cafe in the Elizabeth Mall serving 15 different types of hotdogs, as well as craft beers. Owner Wai Lum, previously of Zum cafe at North Hobart, said he liked the idea of an underground space and hoped Tasmanians would embrace something different. “This concept has come from Melbourne — it’s an industrial look combined with modern style,” he said. “I wanted to do something unique and bring something new to town.”
Brat Time was previously Underground 53 cafe, which closed last year. The concept of an underground venue has been popular in Hobart, with Mobius nightclub under Watchorn St an institution of the city nightlife for many years. During the last Dark Mofo, a disused underground cinema and former games arcade in Murray St was the after-party venue.
Ethos Eat Drink has recently opened a new cocktail bar above its Elizabeth St restaurant. Owners Chloe Proud and Iain Todd said it was good to see the CBD becoming an alternative precinct for people to dine and drink. “There haven’t been that many places to go to in the city for many years now, other than just pubs,” Mr Todd said. “We’ve got a pretty good balance at the moment, with us and Garagiste and Pumphouse and David Moyle’s new thing (a restaurant to be opened in the old Mercury building on Macquarie St soon).” Ethos will soon open a new food business next door to the current location.
Further up Elizabeth St at North Hobart, a new wine bar, Willing Bros Wine Merchants, will soon open next to Raincheck Lounge. Run by Carl Windsor, James Kingston and Jacob Nunn, who have 60 years of industry experience between them, the venue plans to offer an alternative to the traditional pubs and restaurants for which the North Hobart strip is known. “It will be somewhere to go in North Hobart that isn’t a noisy pub,” Mr Windsor said.“It will be more of a top-end venue selling a selection of wines. Everyone has been pushed down to Salamanca for the last 15 years. Now it has come to the point where the likes of us can’t afford the rent down there. This seemed like the right spot for us, it’s a pretty vibrant area.”
Two weeks ago Australia’s oldest pub, the Hope and Anchor, reopened its doors for the first time in six years. Now under Chinese owner Kim Xing, the pub has a local manager and licensee and the collection of historic artefacts still adorn the walls.
Just up the road, also on Macquarie St, Montgomery’s Hotel closed in February. The venue will become the Fluke and Bruce, run by Dan Gray with the assistance of his father, Hobart publican stalwart Peter Gray, the licensee of the Prince of Wales at Battery Point.
“We’re hoping to open mid to late June,” Dan Gray said. “It will be a race between us and the old Mercury building to see who can open first,” he joked. “We have a vision of a traditional pub, with a bit of a gastro style, but trying to bring back as much of the old 1842 building as possible.”
Recently opened in Liverpool St is the refurbished Alabama Hotel. Offering boutique budget accommodation the business also has a stylish, retro-feel bar.
Opposite is the Brunswick Hotel, the second-oldest continually licensed hotel in Australia, which was refurbished in recent years and is now a fashionable modern-gastro pub with regular live music gigs.