Jesse Barbera and Jon Blute have been friends for over 30 years. They grew up together in Rhode Island in the United States, before Barbera moved to Brisbane and opened a number of live-music venues. Blute stayed in America and is now a partner at a corporate law firm in San Francisco. They always joked about one day having their own bar.

“When the opportunity came up to name [the bar], I was like, ‘Maybe I’ll call it Blute’s’ and it kind of stuck,” Barbera says. “Blute will heavily feature. Portraits [of him] and replicas of things he has in his living room will be placed around the bar.”

Barbera, along with co-owners Ben Turbull, Corey Herekiuha, Noah Honeywill, Paul Goddard and Aidan Beiers (who operate under the Happy Horseman group) also own The Brightside and Black Bear Lodge. When the space underneath Black Bear Lodge became available, the group jumped at the opportunity to create a bar that, despite its name, will be inspired by the classic Australian pubs of the 1980s. Construction is underway with the opening set for mid-April.

The narrow space will feature exposed brick walls, tiles and lots of Australian hardwood. There will also be a beer garden and deck area down Bowery Lane.

“We’ll have TV screens around the bar,” says Barbera. “We want to set it up so that Blute can FaceTime in on the screens and say ‘hi’ to everyone.”

An extensive wine list and 14 beer taps will be the main focus, but a few classic cocktails will be available too.

Food will come from Lucky Egg, which has just moved in next door – expect fried-chicken-and-waffle weekend brunches.

Blute’s Bar will open mid-April at 322 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley.