Thirty something girl, originally from Sydney but Brisbane is home now. Eats, drinks, socialises, watches art-house, studies the stars, and loves music. I'm a professional copywriter and editor. Hearts writing things.
Published November 10th 2013
Guaranteed to have a 'Grate' time
There's a happening café/bar on Wynnum Road in Morningside, giving my local hood a whole lotta cred. It's called Southside Tea Room, and is a place where you can kick back seven days a week for a unique experience that money can buy. For as little as $10, John Patterson, guitarist from The Grates, will whip you up a Zesty Besty cocktail (yes, you heard right!) which is a delicious concoction of vodka, maraschino cherry liqueur and homemade lemonade. Or for around $10, Patience Hodgson (vocalist from The Grates) will don an apron and cook you up a hell of a tasty feed.
John and Patience are two out of three band members from The Grates – a cherished indie rock band from Brisbane that has been wooing fans for almost a decade with original and energetic tunes. After touring the world to play a whole bunch of festivals and gigs, and moving to New York to record their third album, the popular pair returned to home soil some time ago and started this creative venture of a different kind.
Stepping inside Southside Tea Room is like rocking up to your mate's basement digs in years gone by. It's a place where camaraderie is strong amongst strangers as it draws like-minded people together, effortlessly converting patrons to 'regulars'. There's no ridiculous dress code or 'you ain't cool enough to enter' vibe here – everyone is really easy going.
The place is decorated with a mishmash of eclectic vintage furniture, including worn-look leather couches strewn with brightly-coloured crocheted blankets like Nan used to make, and it's brimming with kitschy 'car-boot-sale-style' curios. Oddball art pops from the walls and table decorations consist of things you'd find in the coolest lucky dips. Modern striped prayer-style flags adorn the ceiling, and a colourful floral vine weaves its way around an exposed wooden beam overhanging a garish pinball machine that is fully operational! Believe me when I say, there's plenty to keep those eyeballs titillated.
Equally quirky are the food and drink menus featuring pages of neon-coloured paper bound together in miniature wooden clipboards, themed with cut-out silhouettes of pineapples and palm trees. The brunch and bar snacks menu features some seriously tasty tucker. There's also a new 'night menu' influenced by the flavours of Mexico, offering a small assortment of old faves and new treasures, from made to order guac and corn chips through to traditional South American poupousas. If you're vegetarian or vegan, no worries, they've also got you covered. Food is served on eco-friendly dinnerware aka biodegradable sugar cane plates, and the drinks menu is bulging with local and boutique beers, ciders, wines and cocktails, ranging from $4 to $27.
If your social calendar has been looking a little grim of late, why not head along to some of the innovative nights hosted by the Southside crew. Events include old-school movie nights, 'Breaking Bad' lovers trivia, beer tastings, Nintendo 64 video game tournaments, stand-up comedy, local gigs, Mexican Bingo, Wrecked 'Em markets and Lovecraft sessions for making hip homewares like macramé plant holders. Upcoming events are promoted in store and on the website, where you can even add your deets to a mailing list.
I went along to a movie night to see The Breakfast Club — a cult classic from the 80s. It's a coming of age comedy-drama featuring token bad ass Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez doing some nauseating dance moves that you wish you could unsee, and Molly Ringwald reminding you why she was the IT girl of her time. Great flick! Movie nights are free and are a pretty no frills affair with a projector screening onto a wall inside and everyone casually gathered around on chairs.
The staff are super friendly, including the cute resident mascot — a black and white pooch called Todd. He's a friendly little dude who's very partial to hugs and getting to know patrons.
I'm not a coffee drinker but my man rates the coffee highly. He picks one up most mornings. There was only ever one thing that could get him out of bed early — waves. But now there's two.
Southside Tea Room is where the cool kids go, but I guess that goes without saying right.