Stroll up the historic cobblestone laneway of the Brisbane West Village development in West End and you will find the very funky Artista Coffee, Cafe and Wine Bar. Artista rests on the site where the former Peters Ice-cream factory operated until 1995 - who we have to thank for inventing the delicious and addictive chocolate coated drumstick. We all love those, right?
Well with Artista opening in late 2016, there's a whole lot of new things to love about this now laid back, cool, re-purposed urban space. The owners describe it as "an alluring destination to pause for a moment", so one Saturday, pause at Artista is what I did.
The Venue When I first heard that Artista was located in a laneway, I immediately expected a tribute to Melbourne (out of habit I guess) and was expecting it to be dark, cool and moody. But the lightness of Brisbane shines through to give it its own unique flavour.
The first thing I notice after stepping off busy Boundary Street and up to the entrance of Artista are the line of mature potted plants, which hug the path. They give a tropical and distinctly Queensland look and definitely green up the space. Two sculptures (one of a smiling elephant and the other of a small girl) also greet guests.
Moving up the incline of the path, I notice a number of discrete and uncovered "outdoor rooms" which provide loads of room. One is shaded by a poinsettia tree of which the decking has been built around. The mural artwork with floral designs finish off the fresh look (the white lily against a black backdrop is a personal favourite).
A zig-zag string of industrial-style lights hang overhead for night-time ambience. Continuing my walk and the path leads me to a row of steps and onto an expansive outdoor wooden deck. Cool tunes were swimming out of the speakers. With my hands still trying to defrost from the sharpness of the winter chill, I was soon warmed by streams of sunlight. Having secured an outdoor table, a classic French-inspired woven cafe chair and a view of the city, all I needed now was a hot drink.
Coffee and snack menu Artista Cafe offers coffee, tea and light snacks. The menu has reduced in recent times now without breakfast and reflecting more of a "hole in the wall espresso bar" space than a kitchen cafe. Coffee is Zest in Melbourne. Coffee ranges from $3.50-$5.00 and can be accompanied by plain and fruit toast $4.00, toasted sandwiches and a cold fridge of cakes and slices.
My chai latte was made with care by the barista and was served with complimentary honey on the side and extra milk. Oh, did I mention that Artista is licenced and offers cocktails (and espresso martinis).
Open Mic Nights
Artista has hosted Open Mic nights and West End jam presenting some good vibes on the deck. They've even featured a flamenco guitarist.
Artista is dog-friendly, so there is no need for pups to miss out. Entry to Artista is available off Boundary Street. It is also available for private functions. If you are looking to enjoy some laneway art, food and culture right here in Brisbane, Artista is the place for you.