Luxury cocktail bar in Ipswich? You must be kidding
The last thing most people think of when they hear the word 'Ipswich' is 'happening bar scene.' But Ipswich's newest cocktail and wine bar, Chill'd, is set to change that.
Last Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to attend the exclusive launch of Chill'd. Having never visited Ipswich before, I entered Chill'd unsure of what to expect. What I was greeted with was a luxuriously furnished interior, bustling with trendy fashionistas. I am told by the event organisers that the design is inspired by luxury Aspen lodges, and it certainly gives this impression with its dark timber floors and wide open spaces.
Launch guests were provided with free specialty cocktails throughout the event, with each hour devoted to a different drink. The most popular of these was Chill'd's signature cocktail: The Fluffy Unicorn. This unusually named drink was created when one of the bar's mixologists combined grape Zappos with vodka, resulting in a purple drink coated in a layer of froth. The drink was a hit with all guests, with even the burliest of men seen ordering several of the purple concoctions.
Bartenders preparing the Chill'd signature Fluffy Unicorn cocktail
The only drink I didn't try was the Cocktail Caviar. The drink – if you can call it that - is created by rolling alcohol into balls, and it is presented in a shot class and eaten with a spoon. This unusual creation flew out the door within 15 minutes, despite bar staff expecting it to last the hour it was on special. This was the only hiccup of the night, and was smoothly resolved with staff choosing to serve the ever-popular Fruit Tingle for the remainder of the hour.
Fruit Tingles provided in place of the Caviar Cocktail
The venue was packed with guests and the young bar staff chatted happily with everyone, young and old. They made jokes with the guests, while moving at an impossibly fast pace to keep up with the constant drink orders.
Although the venue was packed, drinks were served promptly, staff remained ever-friendly, and you could successfully hold a conversation without shouting. For me, this was perhaps the most refreshing aspect of Chill'd, with music that was upbeat and fun, but not overbearing.
Chill's cocktail and wine bar is an extension of The Prince Alfred Hotel, which is Ipswich's longest standing hotel. Built in 1872, the hotel is a much loved and iconic Ipswich venue, and was rebuilt in 1960 following devastating fires. The heritage of the hotel combined with the modern decor of its new cocktail bar blends the old and new together, with constant reminders of its origins scattered around the venue.
Recognition of the hotel's origins are found throughout the venue
For Brisbaneites willing to venture to Ipswich, Chill'd is well worth the trip. Although Brisbane is littered with cocktail bars, Chill'd has a refreshing element with its combination of new and old, its unique drinks, and its exceptional service. For Ipswich locals, Chill'd provides a much needed new nightlife space. It turns out that 'Ipswich' and 'happening night life' can be synonymous after all!
Guests were given jars of candy as thank you gifts