Beer has always been good for bringing people together, but Ballistic West End Alehouse & Kitchen is aiming to take that even further. Opening in the former premises of Pour Choices on Montague Road, Ballistic owner David Kitchen wants it to be a “third place” for a growing local community.
“The third place is not your home and not your work,” he says. “It’s that place you can go and relax and enjoy your own company or the company of others.”
Kitchen should know. The former accountant, banker and diplomat created a south-side hub in Salisbury in 2016 when he opened his brewery Ballistic Beer Co in a nondescript warehouse. Twelve taps, live music and rotating food trucks have made it a weekend favourite for families in the area.
“It’s not a high-street bar,” Kitchen says. “Ballistic has always been about community and this [new venue] is the third place for all of the new residential developments [in West End].
“People are moving here and there’s not yet that sense of community, hopefully we will become the community hub.”
It’s a relatively philosophical approach to a beer bar, but Kitchen says such venues are a remedy to the dislocation caused by the local hotels around Brisbane becoming large impersonal spaces.
“We went through this whole ghastly phase [in Brisbane] of bigger and bigger bars,” he says. “Which have become bigger sites of aggravation and unpleasantness. I think when you are in a bar and you’re with the people you know and you’re with your neighbours, people don’t misbehave. It’s a much nicer environment.”
In addition to freshly brewed beers from Ballistic’s Salisbury operation running through six taps (with a seventh dedicated to a guest), the alehouse and kitchen is centred around food to share, including platters of cheese and charcuterie, and a modern bistro menu.
The space itself isn’t much changed from its life as Pour Choices – a handsome little bolthole of brick and wood with a line of trees out front. A lick of Ballistic’s distinctive blue paint is the major change inside and out. It’s a quirky and welcoming space, well-suited to its mission of bringing a third space to West End.
Ballistic Alehouse & Kitchen
208 Montague Road, West End
Thu to Sun 11.30am–10pm