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Published July 19th 2021
Awesome service, good chats and delicious coffee
A corner cafe in Red Hill has created an espresso bar firmly focussed on customers, conversation and camaraderie.
If you are looking for a standout coffee, the name of One Eighty Six Espresso Bar is a bit of a giveaway drawing on its location at 186 Arthur Terrace in Red Hill, an inner-city suburb of Brisbane.
History of the Site Locals may recall that for many years, the site was home to And Woven Cane furniture store providing antique cane furniture repairs.
Today, along with One Eighty Six Espresso Bar, it has reformed into a small collective of shops known as The Cane Factory featuring a community centre of small businesses, including a hairdresser, art studio and training office.
The Design and Style of One Eighty Six Espresso Bar One Eighty Six Espresso Bar is essentially a single, open room influenced by a Scandinavian interior design style. (As a coincidence, ABBA was playing in the background during my visit).
While it is modern and fresh with white walls, seating takes the form of a long storage bench with a collection of largely navy and mustard coloured cushions on one side and two other stand-alone tables, each taking in the bright light from the café's large windows.
The cafe remains true to the Queenslander history of the site. It was so pleasing to see that the original picture rails (and its crawling trail of curious Devil's Ivy), floral-inspired red, green and clear leadlight windows, ornate ceiling rose and a trilogy of front steps have all been retained.
A magazine ladder has a selection of boutique magazines like Country Style, Harper's Bazaar and House and Garden for dine-in customers to enjoy.
My favourite feature of the design are the rows of wooden frames of original, handwritten traditional recipes - a family treasure from relatives of the owner. Here, they share secrets of rich fruit cakes and winter warming puddings.
There is also a sweet outdoor deck, big enough for one table and space for a four-legged friend. There is also a stand-up sidewalk bar to rest your coffee while enjoying the outdoors. Light and bright, letting the sunshine in.
The Café Offering
Your cup of Joe comes courtesy of beans from The Black Lab Coffee Companyand for dine-in customers is served in a duck egg blue cup and on a wooden serving board, which is a lovely touch.
Ordering at the counter is uncomplicated with one shot at $4.00, two shots, $5:00 and three shots at $6.00. It's as easy as that. The café offers a rewards and incentives program of coffee cards where if you buy six, you get the seventh free. My chai latte was delicious and made to my liking. Apart from coffee, there are also kombucha waters from $5.50 as well as juices and milkshakes.
As you would expect from an espresso bar, the focus is on the coffee but a selection of freshly baked items sourced by a local Italian bakery add a nice complement. Flaky croissants, crunchy bread and sweet muffins go nicely with your favourite brew.
Creating Community over Coffee
Owners Joeri and Tanaya Van Den Brink have created something which we all need, particularly at this time of a pandemic - a place to connect, to find a friend or make a new one (COVID-Safe of course) over a cup of coffee.
This is the kind of coffee space built on community, where like the American Cheers sitcom says, "I wanna go where everybody knows your name". In fact, staff tend to start making their customers' favourite coffee when they see them driving or walking towards the shop. Just the sheer size of this community is made clear with some 1000 coffee cards forming a sprawling wallpaper beside the counter.
Customers have even been known to order their coffee, find their card and mark off their own reward stamp, which only adds to the sense of ownership and engagement.
If driving to the cafe, free street parking is available. The café is also just a couple of steps from Ithaca Creek State School. The doors are open and the coffee machine is brewing 7 days a week.
So, if you are looking for a quick drop of brew or want to join a community for coffee lovers, One Eighty Six Espresso Bar could be the place for you. Red Hill is located 4 kilometres from the Brisbane CBD.