Cheap movie tickets, middle-class families and middling cafes. That’s the Bulimba most people know.
For years Brisbane’s very own Pleasantville was a place to be transported to, a riverside village that felt very separate to the city itself. But despite (or perhaps because of) the hoards who flock to the area every weekend, it has always felt short on decent restaurants and bars.
Until now. Blind Tiger opened six weeks ago. Ever since, the tiny bar has been spilling over with locals drawn to the moody, enveloping vibe and expertly prepared drinks.
The brainchild of Robert Harding, owner of The Moustachery barbershop next door, Blind Tiger is partly an extension of that highly distilled man cave. But it’s also designed to be accessible to a wider audience – hence the involvement of junior partner Jesse Stowers and bar manager Sam Tripet, both veterans of the local bar scene. “We get a lot of people who don’t want to go to the city but might still want to go out of a night,” Tripet says. “And there’s already so much people are doing in the area – seeing movies, grabbing dinner.”
Blind Tiger’s fit-out is a more refined take on the local speakeasy that has become popular in recent years. The walls are coloured a rich scarlet and marked by taxidermy and historic photographs of the area – a result of Harding’s talent for sniffing out a decent auction, Tripet says. The furniture is all antique lounges and leather barstools, a recently christened back room designed as a function area. “Before the back area, we tried not to put more than 50 people in here,” Tripet says. “We don’t want it to be uncomfortable.”
A short food menu deals in cheeseboards, charcuterie plates, sliders and the like, but you’ll be coming here for the booze. There are close to 50 different whiskies and 16 different rums available over the bar. A half-dozen beer taps swing through a rotation of craft beers from brewers such as Rogers, Stone & Wood, and Green Beacon. An imaginative cocktail menu references the old-school tunes the bar plays – Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald.
“We’re in the business of giving people what they want here,” Tripet says. “If more people come in asking for dark beer, we’ll serve them dark beer. What people want is exactly what we’ll give them.”
Tripet describes Blind Tiger as completing Oxford Street. But with The Oxford Tap House doing strong business down the far end of the strip, and more small bars and eateries set to pop up across Bulimba and Hawthorne, it’s easy to think of this as just the beginning.
1B/204 Street, Bulimba
0432 434 943
Mon to Sun 4pm–12am