Two mates open a bar and restaurant together. It’s a well-worn tale these days but Nick Pinn (Malt dining, Malt Pier, Malt Traders, Vaquero and On the Side) and Paul Hoffman (previously executive chef of Cru Bar and At Sixes and Sevens) are no ordinary mates. They’re a couple of local hospitality vets who have banded together to create Drum, a bar and kitchen in the backstreets of Newstead.
“We’ve been looking for probably three or four years for something to do together,” Pinn says. “We’ve had a couple of false starts [but] we’ve finally settled on this project.”
Both Pinn and Hoffman have spent the past 15 years in the Newstead and New Farm areas. Over that time they’ve come to understand the particular habits of those customers. “While there are lots of people with lots of money, they eat out quite a bit, and they don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of money every time they come out,” Pinn says. So the vision was to create a faithful little local. “We wanted a space that would be more of an everyday visit, rather than a special-occasion venue.”
The spot sits under the Unison residential development and was just a slab of concrete when Pinn and Hoffman decided to take it on. They brought in Studio Plus to create the modern fit-out, which includes an outdoor terrace with exposed brick and a climbing-vine wall. Inside it’s sleek and sophisticated with black furniture, large pendent lighting and custom-designed tiling across the bar.
The food is classic and uncomplicated. “Comfortable, affordable and enjoyable” is the way Pinn describes a menu consisting mainly of share-style bar snacks and cheeses perfect for grazing on a lazy afternoon. Of the more substantial dishes, the standout is a Moreton Bay bug linguine.
With drinks, Pinn says they’ve shifted towards easy-drinking options such as cocktails in carafes, a variety of spritzes and Espresso Martinis, all of which will be fine-tuned according to the season.