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Published November 11th 2011
Update March 25th 2013
The Rabbit Hole has now re-opened at Agnes Street in Fortitude Valley. Google 'em to find out more.
Update October 20th 2012
Retro store Box Vintage has now moved into what were the Rabbit Hole premises, while the old Box Vintage store (down near the corner of Vulture Street and Hardgrave Road) is currently a pop-up art space.
Update July 1st 2012
More news: proprietor Dahlia has got back to me and says that The Rabbit Hole will re-open at a new (secret) location in September. Follow their Facebook page to be kept up to date.
Update June 25th 2012
Hi folks, sad to say but it looks like The Rabbit Hole has closed its doors as at mid-June 2012. There's a For Lease sign in the window and furniture stacked up inside. I've emailed the owner to see if I can find out more, but, for the moment, it looks like it's shut up shop.
...Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket or a watch to take out of it...
I recently re-read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and was struck afresh by its wit and originality. Say whatever else you like about author Lewis Carroll, this is a book of dazzlingly inventive ideas. Once Alice heads down that rabbit-hole, you never know what will happen next.
This sprang to mind last week, when I paid a visit to new West End establishment, The Rabbit Hole Ideation Cafe. Open just a few weeks in a space on Vulture Street (formerly home to local store Gooble Warming), this is a small cafe with big ideas. I suspect it's unique in Brisbane.
Essentially, it's a cafe combined with a shared workspace, where individuals or groups can hire desks, computers, lockers, and a meeting room by the hour, day or month. With wi-fi and an endless source of coffee and cake, it's many a freelancer's dream.
My own visit to The Rabbit Hole was a welcome break in a day otherwise spent sitting at home writing, alone. When I mentioned this to owner Dahlia, she smiled and volunteered that this is one of her major aims for the cafe -- to give creative types who toil away at home an opportunity to come and work in a more social space.
On the day I dropped in, there were four people busy with their laptops at the hire desks, a group meeting in the boardroom (which features whiteboard walls and a projector), and four or five others in the cafe itself, some of whom were also tapping away.
Personally, I was happy to use my biro and paper, and to take the chance to chat to Dahlia and try some of the cafe's offerings. I had a moist, tangy piece of orange-and-almond cake, and a very good Honeydew Green tea, served on a lovely vintage tray ($7.90 the lot). Beverages start at $2.50, or $2 for desk hirers.
I'm no coffee conoisseur, but I can tell you that The Rabbit Hole serves specialty coffee by Tim Adams, a local who won Australian Barista of the Year in 2009 and went on to become a cofee-meister himself. His coffee gets a good rap in all the on-line reviews I could find, as does The Rabbit Hole's brewing of it. I can also tell you that Dahlia is planning to introduce a full cafe menu in the next few weeks (at present, it's beverages and sweet things only).
I happily dawdled over my cake and cuppa, taking the chance to read a newspaper from The Rabbit Hole's collection. The mood was peaceful and the music was good.
After a while, I stopped reading and reflected on all of the opportunities presented by this little cafe. Yes, it's perfect for freelancers looking for a temporary or permanent home. But it's also ideal if you want to get your team out of the office and into a boardroom to brainstorm. It's got an exhibition space for hire, and it could be a lifesaver if you have an urgent job and computer trouble strikes. Dahlia is also hoping to host community events that will see people talking and sharing ideas.
At the same time, the Rabbit Hole is a very pleasant cafe in its own right, so don't think you have to work if you want to pay a visit. The staff are smiling and friendly, the brew is good, and you might just find yourself wanting to linger -- I know I certainly did. It's the perfect place to sit and relax, to catch up with friends, or perhaps to dream up some dazzlingly inventive ideas of your own.
...burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge. In another moment down went Alice after it...