A freelance artist and a fitness expert walk into a bar. Their names are Steen Jones and Anthony Calligeros. The bar is Deathproof, on Brunswick Street in New Farm, and they’re the owners.
This is the first bar for both, which they say gives them a creative advantage over most other venues. “Most bar owners are focused on running the bar. We’re focused on creatively marketing and using the space in an interesting way,” Jones says.
Jones’s art is the first thing you notice about Deathproof; the murals, skulls and knives and neon signs. But they’re also partnering with other distinctive brands.
Every month they’ll bring in a different brand for an “activation”. They’ll theme everything from the drinks specials to the giant mural wall, which Jones will re-paint every month.
It might sound gimmicky, but the companies they’re working with (Converse and Young Henrys among others) are both relevant to their clientele and make perfect sense with Jones’s commercial-cool art.
Both men have been hands-on from the beginning. They even built the furniture themselves – simple, dark wooden booths and stools. “We’re not doing this to make money, it’s just something we always wanted to do,” Jones says. “That’s why the fit-out is completely over the top and ridiculous.”
The food is a refined take on American diner classics, with a few south-of-the-border influences. There’s street corn, wings, tacos and big sandwiches – with their branded twist. For the first activation with Sailor Jerry they’re using its spiced rum to glaze pulled pork for tacos, as well as in plenty of extravagant cocktails and shots.
Jones and Calligeros are confident this creativity and enthusiasm is just what the area needs. “The main thing missing from New Farm is a place that feels fresh,” Calligeros says. “There’s a hole in the market for something new, and that’s us.”
679 Brunswick Street, New Farm
Wed & Thu 3pm–midnight
Fri to Sun 12pm–midnight