Low-flying aircraft and good Vietnamese food defined Marrickville until the craft breweries came along. Now competition for warehouse space in the suburb is hotter than a bowl of steaming pho, yet indie newcomer Mixtape has snagged a dream spot on Victoria Road between The Grifter and Sauce breweries. A neon cassette above the entrance gives away the otherwise clandestine spot.
“People think we’re a recording studio, and I love that,” says head brewer Jason Newton, who co-owns Mixtape with partner Gabi Purnell. “That neon’s well and truly paid for itself.”
If the words “Spooning Goats” mean anything to you, the arrival of Mixtape will come as welcome news: Newton and Purnell were behind the now-closed retro-loving, mildly Star Wars-themed CBD bar of the same name, which was among the first venues in Sydney to wholeheartedly embrace the craft beer movement. It’s how Newton got into brewing in the first place.
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“When Spooning Goats opened, there wasn’t much craft beer around. And the salespeople were the brewers. So I started to get to know them, started going on brew days and leaned into it that way,” he tells Broadsheet.
At Mixtape, Newton runs a modest 300-litre brewing system, nothing like the whopping commercial-scale kit found at the neighbours’ places. That’s because Mixtape is a brewpub as opposed to a commercial enterprise, with 18 taps dedicated to just a handful of house beers and the rest to a rotating line-up of guest and collaboration brews with the likes of Yulli’s and Frenchies.
When Broadsheet visited, the tap list was heavy on Hop Nation, Kaiju and Blackman’s breweries from Victoria, alongside beer and seltzer by Wayward in Camperdown. The house beers are still being tweaked, but we tried a hoppy (and very drinkable) IPA that’s in the final stages of development.
There’s also a 50-strong list of wines – mainly natural with a focus on skin-contact, plus a few classic varietals for good measure. Gin by Four Pillars is also on hand for a crisp G&T, and there are plans to introduce sake and mezcal alongside the bar’s ever-growing whisky collection. What you won’t find (or need, really) are cocktails.
To help soak up the above, Mixtape’s on-site kitchen serves a rotating menu of drinking food’s greatest hits: kimchi dumplings, buffalo chicken wings, fries and pizzas including margherita, chilli-prawn and vegetarian numbers. For dessert, it might be a couple of scoops of vanilla ice-cream with Milo.
While Mixtape feels as though it sprung up overnight, Newton and Purnell started searching for a venue – and saw this place – way back in 2017. But it wasn’t until a fortuitous rezoning of the building last year that it became a viable option. Friends were called, many hands made light(er) work and Mixtape finally opened this year.
“I love the circular path, because this was one of the first places we looked at,” says Purnell. “The night before open we had a team of friends planting plants and polishing glassware, putting chairs together. It was a little army.”
Through the roller door you’re met with an old arcade machine, a 1960s Nick Scali lounge suite and a tiled bar dead ahead. To the right is the brewery, humming along nicely after four years in storage. As well as the bar, Newton and Purnell built the high benches and the low tables fashioned to look like giant cassettes. The colourful bamboo wallpaper at the entrance (and in the toilets) is by Publisher Textiles in Leichhardt.
For those who loved the display of Star Wars collectables at Spooning Goats, one of this writer’s favourites – which first appears in The Empire Strikes Back – sits behind the bar here. It’s a fitting addition: Mixtape is to Spooning Goats what The Empire Strikes Back was to A New Hope: a high-definition sequel with lots more to sink your teeth into – and plenty more to come.
Mixtape Brewing & Bar
142A Victoria Road, Marrickville
Fri & Sat 12pm–midnight