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What a gas! Ashgrove welcomes cosy cafe/wine bar from Soul Revolver crew

The Weekend Edition

Anyone that has visited Vancouver has likely paid a visit to Gastown, the storied precinct famed for its Victorian buildings, cobblestone streets, famous steam clock and vibrant dining scene. A new hole-in-the-wall cafe and wine bar from the brains behind Alderley’s Soul Revolver Co. is looking to bring a taste of Vancouver (by way of Tasmania) to Ashgrove, opening in the day for coffee, pastries and toasties, and then at night for vino and small plates. Gastown is the name of this fresh-faced locale – read on to take a peek inside!

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Brisbane might be expecting more chilly nights, but it’s got nothing on Vancouver’s notoriously drizzly climate. The Canadian city averages roughly 160 rainy days a year over the colder months, earning it the affectionate nickname ‘Raincouver’.

When the downpour gets particularly drenching, locals file into the city’s plethora of small bars and cafes, seeking snug refuge from the precipitation over cups of coffee or a cocktail. It’s this sense of cosy comfort that sits at the heart of Gastown, Ashgrove’s newly opened coffee spot and, in a month’s time, its new wine bar.

Nestled in the former home of U&I Espresso next to Ugly Food & Co. and Junk Bar on Waterworks Road, Gastown is a blink-and-you-could-miss-it kind of joint. A minimalist lightbox sign, a tiny coffee window and a cluster of stools are all that mark it from the street, with a newly-built dark grey exterior shielding the venue’s compact insides from the outside.

This is an intentional design choice on the part of Gastown’s owners, Brisbane-born Sloane and Canadian ex-pat Marn of Soul Revolver Co. fame, who have drawn inspiration from the small-bar scenes of Tasmania and Vancouver (particularly that of the storied Gastown neighbourhood, from which the venue takes its name) to create a venue that shifts in identity and personality as day changes into night.

Pop in during the morning for coffee and pastries and Gastown’s dark green and walnut colour scheme gives off charming cafe vibes. Once dusk hits, the illumination from the 20-seater’s globe light fixtures will help set a more intimate evening-oriented atmosphere – the kind perfect for low-key libations.

At the heart of Gastown’s space sits a timber-topped and subway-tiled coffee bar, which is equipped with a Sanremo Racer and a Mahlkönig grinder, as well as a sandwich press and pastry cabinet. Here, the team is pouring cups of espresso from The Black Lab Coffee Co., as well as rotating batch-brew filter coffees from roasters like Seven Seeds and The Reformatory Caffeine Lab (with beans from each showcased roaster available for retail purchase).

As Gastown’s cosy confines afford limited kitchen space, the food menu is concise and easy to dispense – we’re talking a selection of gooey toasties (bacon and egg, and three-cheese varieties), berry baked oatmealham-and-cheese croissants and various pastries from Farine & Co.

As of right now, Gastown is only operating as a cafe, with the wine bar component to launch in late-August. Once ready, Gastown will open from Thursday to Saturday for nighttime trade, serving a tidy menu of small plates like olives, burrata and anchovy toast (the selection will change every few weeks), while also hosting one-off pasta nights and set dinners from guest chefs.

The tight wine list will feature a constantly shifting selection of Australian vino, with three reds, three whites, one rosé and one sparkling showcasing approachable styles and flavour profiles. Those wanting something besides vino can sip on classic cocktails like the negroni, martini and Manhattan, or savour a selection of craft-beer tins from local breweries.

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