Dimly lit even by day, The Menagerie occupies a quiet corner of Carraway Street, one of the Queensland University of Technology’s boundary roads, and a busy strip otherwise dominated by student eateries and fast food joints.
Once split between The Roost and Room 60, the space still doubles as a cafe and bar- the only difference now is that The Roost’s original barista, Matthew Vale, now oversees operations from morning until late. He and business partner Sophie Richards chose to christen the unified venue with a name that reflects the area’s diverse clientele.
But ‘menagerie’ is also an apt description of the space’s sharehouse-eque fit-out, which features mismatched vintage furniture, blacked-out walls and an astroturfed seating area outside. Tiny and often packed to capacity, the open bay window out front is a prime people-watching real estate.
Coffee Supreme is the cafe’s main draw card, as The Menagerie isn’t licensed to serve food. A small selection of sweets are instead delivered daily by one of Richards’ baker friends.
After 5pm, the drinks menu flips to bottled craft beer, including Noisy Minor’s ANZUS IPA, and a classic list of cocktails that combine cold-pressed juices with fresh herbs and top-shelf liquors. The venue also caters to patrons’ extracurricular interests, hosting a wine club, live jazz appreciation evenings, erotic novel readings and cult movie screenings.