If you’ve walked down Kensington Road lately you’ve probably stopped to marvel at the makeshift setup that’s appeared in the Brasserie alleyway overnight. To the untrained eye, this space might not look like much more than a shipping container, patio lights and a few chairs and tables – but anyone who’s spent time in South East Asia knows better. Kensington has just opened up the city’s very first Container Bar (90 Rainey Street).
This week we sat on the newest patio in town and enjoyed a nice cold beer in a can with Matt Leslie, general manger of Brasserie and one of the key guys behind this container bar concept. While we chat, artist Brody Klavel is hard at work on a mural that will decorate the west wall and the staff is just starting to prepare for what is sure to be another busy night. The Container Bar has been open for less than a week but word has caught on fast. From 5pm onwards you will be hard-pressed to find an open seat.
When we asked Matt about the concept he explained that the idea was pretty simple: he and Cam Dobranski, owner of Brasserie and the Wine Bar in Kensington, were looking for a way to drum up more traffic in the summer months while creating a low-key kind of place that you could just hang out and have a beer.
Both Matt and Cam have spent time in South East Asia and credit their time abroad as being a huge inspiration for the bar. In places like Bangkok and Singapore where space is at a premium, people have learned to be creative with the space and materials they have at their disposal.
Staying true to the no-frills policy, the drink menu at Container Bar has been purposefully created to be low maintenance and offers a decent selection of domestic beers, jugs of sangria and four different takes on the classic gin and tonic (which is really all you need to enjoy a patio). As an added bonus, you can enjoy a limited Brasserie menu and other picnic-inspired items like the crispy pig skins and house-made chili dog.
Definitely add the Container Bar to your summer to-do list because it’s one of the coolest bar additions to hit the city in 2014.
When you plan to visit Container Bar, keep in mind there’s no phone number or email address. Hours are the same as Brasserie.