In New Farm and Teneriffe, just to the north-east of Brisbane’s CBD, there’s a burgeoning craft scene with an array of options. There’s Bitter Suite on Welsby Street and the new Green Beacon Brewery over on Helen Street with a mix of cafes and restaurants in between catering to the upmarket locals.
I think out of the lot, it’s fair to say Tippler’s Tap on Masters Street is one of them. Is it the best one? No, not really.
The range of beers available on tap is amazing. I spied Young Henry’s, Nøgne ø, Kooinda and Burleigh amongst others and there’s ten all up.
On a Tuesday night out with some friends, I helped myself to (two) Bacchus Maple Coffee Stout, Young Henry’s Natural Lager and Kooinda’s Black IPA (on a previous visit, when the place was packed out, I took in Sunshine Coast’s Summer Ale). Looking at that list, in retrospect, it’s hardly surprising one would get a hangover from that selection but the taps definitely had a bias towards the darker end of the spectrum. Still, you won’t a better (you will find equals) selection in Brizneyland. The service is friendly and knowledgeable enough, which makes a pleasant change from the larger establishments.
The layout of the pub could use some work though. It’s an odd location, wedged between a copy shop and a kitchen supply store in a semi-industrial/commercial part of Newstead. I wonder how their neighbours feel about sharing a toilet with a pub, especially after a messy weekend. Internally, there’s only seating for a few dozen people. While it’s nice to see that it’s popular enough on a Sunday afternoon that I have to stand awkwardly next to the arcade game, I’m not sure if they’ve got the seating capacity to rake it in in boom times to offset the quieter weekday nights.
To the nasty stuff: the food sucks. I only finished my roast beef roll out of a desperate desire to line my stomach. My companions did not bother finishing theirs. What’s the problem? It’s salty as all fucking get out. It does not sit well with the nice collection of beers and begs the question: why would you do that to your customers? It’s only just shy of a lethal dose of brine.
The upshot of all this is that the issues are simple to fix. The beer selection needs to be watered down. The dunkelweisses, the black IPAs and the coffee stouts should be offset with a few more pilsners, lagers and pale ales (as sick of the latter as I am). While I’m no beer magnate, I would imagine that the longer you can keep your drinkers going, the more you’ll make off them in the long run. Two stouts and your average drinker is done. Sessionability is king.
The food is a really easy fix. Reduce the salt content by about 75% and you’ll be fine. There’s nothing ostensibly wrong with the menu, just the implementation is lacking. In fact, gut the kitchen and open up more space for patrons. When your capacity is less than sixty, don’t waste space on a commercial kitchen, stick to heat-and-eat and focus on the tons of margin available in serving an $11 “large” (read: not quite a schooner) beer.
It’s hard to judge whether this is an ongoing problem or just a one-off bad experience. However, with an increasing choices available in the area and with a limited ability to match their local rivals, I don’t see myself re-visiting Tippler’s to see if it’s improved.
- Locality: Newstead, QLD
- Type: Independent, small bar
- Rating: 1.5 / 2 selection + 0 / 1 food + 1 / 2 ambiance = 2.5 / 5
- Interior Design: Overall, not too bad. Cosy English pub inside, Queensland verandah outside.
- Likelihood of making a spectacle of yourself: Considering you can barely move, negligible.
- Plus: Fantastic range.
- Minus: If you’ve got hypertension, I’d give it a miss.