After retiring from a very long teaching career, my new career is: travelling, blogging and writing from the beautiful northern end of the NSW coast.
You can follow my journey at maureendurney.com/
Life is Good!
Published January 12th 2018
Raise the bar with a coffee Between The Bars
I'm always nervous about ordering coffee in unfamiliar places, and a recent trip to the West End of Brisbane was definitely unfamiliar territory.
While walking towards the cafe that my friend usually frequents, something made us stop at the cute little place called Between The Bars. Sometimes it works to just choose a cafe, based more on instinct than any formal calculation, and sometimes it doesn't. It seems luck was with us that day because the coffee was fantastic!
But we all know that good coffee is more than just the beans and how they are ground and brewed, right?
Good coffee is also the company shared while consuming it and the ambience of the surroundings. Okay, let me rephrase that. If I'm desperate for caffeine, I could be sitting alone in the Sahara Desert with sand blasting away at my face, and the coffee would taste okay.
But what turns that 'okay' coffee into 'WoW' coffee depends on:
My first encounter at Between The Bars was with Mal, the owner's father, who was standing patiently behind the counter ready to take my order. Rather than address me in the expected manner, he turned "what can I do for you" into an old saying my father used to use. Nothing too special, just a switch in the order of the words, but it brought back a flood of fond memories. I won't elaborate on the phrase because if you happen to visit the cafe and Mal isn't there, you might be disappointed.
That simple act set the scene for a perfect morning interlude. The fact that I'd already been put at ease made the risk of drinking an unknown brand of coffee a lot less daunting.
The real taste of coffee
Having ordered my usual double-shot Cappuccino, we took a seat at the little nook in the front window. This gave us a prime position to view the street over the rim of our coffee cups and ponder the problems of the world. When the coffee arrived, I hesitantly took a sip, not expecting much, but hoping that it wouldn't be too far from drinkable.
Nick, the very capable Barista and owner of Between The Bars
The coffee was mellow - extremely mellow. The flavour was gentle, despite the double shot, and the full extent of the taste lingered on my taste-buds. I won't go into a technical description of the taste - but it was good! It was definitely the variety that makes you go "Ahh" as you indulge your caffeine-starved taste-buds with the first coffee of the day.
Not only was the coffee great and the ambience exceptional, it was all tied together with outstanding service.
But was it as good as...?
ReCafeNate, my local coffee shop back home in Murwillumbah, has the best coffee anywhere, but I was surprised to find that the coffee at Between The Bars was 99.9% as good as the coffee Josh makes.
Sitting there in that little corner of the world, the sweet coffee taste lingering on my taste-buds, I was able to take in the scene around me. The atmosphere had a peaceful tranquillity, unexpected in that busy hub of Boundary Street.
On the inside
Although the sun was streaming through the front window, the soft lighting inside created a cosy atmosphere. The clever use of white tiles and stainless steel reflected the faultless design of the work areas. And the arrangement of the tables and decor, used sparingly, gave an uncluttered feel to the room.
A beautifully captured image of the logo adorns the side wall, subtly reminding patrons of the brand name of the store. While it is a nice feature, anyone who partakes of a coffee at Between The Bars will undoubtedly make sure they remember the name and location for future reference, as I did.
And excellent coffee isn't the only thing that's going down in this neck of the Boundary Street woods. Between The Bars also offers a great variety of food - from display cabinet (delicious) carbs - to freshly cooked orders from the menu.
....was so good I bought some of the whole beans. My morning routine of a freshly brewed coffee back home would surely handle a nostalgic link to that fabulous morning brew at Between The Bars.
BYO cup and save some cash
At the very reasonable price of the coffee, you could easily make it your morning preference if you are a local. And if you like a discount, take your own cup in and you'll pay even less for your morning cup of joe.
Getting to Between The Bars couldn't be easier. If you have your own transport, as we did, you will surely find a parking spot on one of the streets nearby. But if you don't have wheels, Bus 199 will have you disembarking right outside the cafe. It doesn't get any easier than that.
You might be lucky enough to meet Charlie, a local identity
If you haven't eaten for a while, Between The Bars would be the ideal place to feed your hunger pangs at breakfast or lunch. My friend and I only indulged in the coffee, even though the highlights on the menu-board were very tempting. If we hadn't had breakfast a little earlier, we would definitely have considered an early lunch. But that pleasure awaits us on another occasion, when we find ourselves in the West End of beautiful downtown Brisbane.