“It’s my 24th birthday on Saturday,” Brendan McCrystal tells Broadsheet. “I’ll be here all day but hopefully get some celebration after work.”
It has been a busy couple of weeks for the hospo young gun – formerly of The Black Lab and Wolfgang Specialty Coffee – who opened Straits, his first solo venture, earlier this month. “I love Coorparoo – the streets, the people, the way the sun rises in the morning. It feels right,” he says. “Everyone’s so nice and welcoming.”
The fit-out – designed by McCrystal – is bright and comforting, with pastel orange tiles (“I’m so married to the orange – it helps wake people up”), white walls and beautifully resurrected hardwood floors. “I knew what I wanted,” he says. “I wanted to keep it simple.” There’s space for around 20 guests, with low-set banquettes, a breakfast bar and outdoor seating both street-side and on the verandah.
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At the moment, the offering is limited coffee, tea and pastries. The beans on rotation feature McCrystal’s favourite roasters from Brisbane and around the country. “This week it’s Double Double [from Perth], which I’ve churned through, and next week, [Brisbane roaster] Almanac,” he says. “And we’ve always got Black Lab’s Platinum Blend.”
Pastries are from Brasserie Bread, and there are plans to offer a simple breakfast and lunch menu. “I just wanted to really get the coffee right, and then the food can be focused on.”
Echoing Australia’s growing listening-bar trend, Straits houses McCrystal’s personal 300-strong record collection. An Audio-Technica turntable and a set of Klipsch speakers fill the space with warm sound without being overbearing. McCrystal opens at 5.30am and usually begins the day listening to Pink Floyd, before moving on to the mellow strains of Dire Straits – his favourite band and the venue’s namesake.
“I [figured] if I’m gonna be doing this for the next three, four years, I might as well at least bring a part of something that I really love to the shop. So, selfishly, [the vinyl] is as much for me as it is for everyone else.”
82 Leicester Street, Coorparoo
Mon to Sun 5.30am–1pm