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Published September 20th 2011
Regular patrons of this Woolloongabba establishment have perhaps been protecting their stylish turf and keeping it a secret, but now the cat is well and truly out of the (canvas) bag. Canvas Cocktail and Wine Bar was named Australia's New Bar of the Year at the 10th annual Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards on 14 September 2011, and it's not hard to see why.
Comedian Danny Kaye once said, "Life is a great big canvas: throw all the paint you can at it". Canvas proprieters have stopped short of throwing paint, but have thrown plenty of style, hard work and industry knowledge into developing a first class bar experience. Canvas was also a finalist in six other Bar Awards categories, including Bar Team of the Year, Cocktail List of the Year, and Best New Venue Design, and was the only Brisbane bar to take out one of the top gongs. Their cocktail maestro, Kal Moore, was also a finalist in the Bartender of the Year Award. These things don't happen by accident.
Canvas stands out in what is fast becoming one of Brisbane's trendiest dining precincts - Logan Rd at Woolloongabba. Its design style is best described as quirky urban industrial meets vintage chic. Murals replete with fish and birds adorn the walls, rustic timber boards line the ceiling, vintage furniture invites you to take a seat, and the fashionable bare bulb look lights up the atmosphere. It's all about the colour and the presentation, and not just in the decor. These elements are just as important in the cocktails.
Canvas cocktail - image from Canvas website.
For me a really great cocktail begins even before anything is shaken, twisted, infused or poured. It starts with an intriguing name and description, something to really get your saliva glands working overtime in anticipation, and Canvas cocktails do not disappoint. How about Guerilla Warfare - a lethal-sounding concoction of Illegal Mezcal Reposado, passionfruit & wormwood syrup and filtered water, all stirred in Canvas Nitro Bath. I don't really know what any of this is, but I know I just have to try it. Or Forbidden Fruit - a flavour burst combining Jim Beam Small Batch, Pedro Ximenez sherry, rum raisin glaze, muscatel grape juice and fig foam. Fig foam? I'm in.
If cocktails aren't your thing Canvas has a range of boutique wines and craft beers for your enjoyment. They also serve rustic tapas, charcuterie or mezze plates. Opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 3pm until midnight. Tuesday is Tapas and Tequila night; Wednesdays offer Toque Flamenco with guitarist Rob McMullan, and Thursdays deliver Green Absinthe hour. Sunday afternoons from 3pm you can settle in for some live jazz, soul, funk or contemporary music by local artists.
Thursday Green Absinthe Hour - image from Canvas website.
I know I just have to go for a taste test. This new kid on the block is punching way above its weight and now has the industry accolades to prove it. Besides, that fig foam is calling me.