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Duxton opens its doors. A review

By johnboy - 25 February 2012 99

duxton

Setting a record pace for a refurbishment Duxton opened its doors last night in time for the start of the rugby season.

For those who haven’t been keeping up Duxton is the bar occupying the space All Bar Nun used to. (With much of the furniture from All Bar now to be found a few doors down in “The Nun” which still bears the signage of Marinetti’s Italian Restaurant.

At the end of this game of musical chairs O’Connor now has twice as many bars servicing a quarter as many customers with much more expensive beer.

The tradesmen doing the fitouts appear to be the real winners.

So what have they done to All Bar Nun?

Well with a common ownership to Tongue and Groove it should be no surprise that clever woodwork features throughout, as well as downlights reminiscent of that establishment.

In the front bar’s rugby corner it feels a lot like being in a swedish sauna, or maybe a coffin.

The squirrel logo seared into the wooden surfaces is a nice touch, although at the moment the whole place still smells a lot like wet paint and varnish.

Pints of Coopers Pale are going for $9 which will disgruntle many.

At the moment outdoor seating doesn’t stretch around the carpark side of the bar.

The decor is generally tasteful, with one corner even featuring leather recliners and a persian carpet.

Overall there’s less seating, and more standing room, which one imagines will evolve over time.

Now, for a place that describes itself on Foursquare as a gastro pub how was the gastronomy?

duxton nachos

I like to use nachos as a benchmark between bars.

They all have it, and the buggers can be quite tricky to do right. I’ll give them credit, these were done just about spot on, although personally I like my chillie to have traces of chilli.

My cornchips remained crisp thoughout, there was enough tasty stuff to scoop up, and there were no burning hot surfaces.

They’re also using a pager system, which is cute.

On placing an order you get a numbered hocky puck which, when your meal is ready for collection beeps, flashes, and vibrates.

It can save trouble when the bar is busy but we’ll have to see how it all shakes down.

All in all it’s a pleasant space to be in, and remains one of the better places in town to sit outside and watch the world go by.

What’s Your opinion?


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99 Responses to
Duxton opens its doors. A review
LarryBlaze 10:51 am 26 Feb 12

My hat goes off to the guys who have re developed this place, taking a very tired old space and turning something that looks this good out in 3 weeks is amazing!

Want to know why your Coopers costs $9 a pint?

Firstly the IR situation with pay rates is so out of control, the 18yo Kid who was collecting glasses from your table on a Saturday was getting paid $23.94 PH, the person who poured your drink over $25 did I mention after 12am on a Saturday is Sunday, oh and guess what? you have to pay sunday rates….. that is going to get tacked on to the end of your pint cost as well.

Coopers is one of the more expensive beers to purchase wholesale, if you want to to pay your extremely high wages and fixed expenses at the end of the week you need to be operating at a minimum of 25% – 30% product cost depending on your business structure, coopers costs in the vacinity of $2.80 to pour a pint so this is about right in terms of margin.

Secondly there is so much f$%#king around and red tape involved in opening a pub, just to get a change of liquor license approved they would have had to totally redevelop their back of house, install more sinks to satisfy the health department, submit a Risk Assessment Management Plan to Office of Regulatory Services to satisfy the new requirements under the Liquor ACT 2010 etc. All of which costs money and none of which means s$%#it when you are a competent operator.

Thirdly as a broad generalisation I find the most price sensitive demographic who are most likely to complain about price are those who work in the government, which possibly those of you complaining about $9 pints do.

Maybe the pen pushers creating new policy need to think a little more about about how it affects the end cost of goods to the consumer.

Thoroughly Smashed 10:51 am 26 Feb 12

sirocco said :

$9 a pint here
$8.80 a pint at the Wig

But you’re getting good beer at the latter.

taninaus 7:38 am 26 Feb 12

Had a short drink there yesterday – $7 for a midori and lemonade which is OK but not great but it was a very weak pour. The other oddity is in the ladies loos whoever installed the hand dryer (one of those fabulous dyson ones) must have been very tall as it was almost impossible for me to comfortably slide my hands into the top to use it (yeah, I am not tall)

lob 6:11 am 26 Feb 12

Canberra need more small bars. The ACT Government needs to make it easier for people to open small bars. I really should be no different to opening a cafe. All the problems with alcohol consumption are from the larger establishments that operate into the wee small hours encouraging young people to get pissed/off their face. Is it too much to ask that in a city the size of Canberra there isn’t
– a nice relaxing place you can go and Coopers is $5 a schooner
– fake European beers are not sold. – The ACT Government really should do something about this FRAUD. Peroni Italy my ass. Peroni Northmead Sydney made by Coca-Cola.
– The owner actively tries to get locally made beer on tap. [Not easy when we have f all breweries]
– Good beers from the US [where microbrewing is now huge] are actively sought out. Why isn’t there a single bar in Canberra serving Sierra Nevada’s range of beer when Dan Murf is now stocking these. I’m sure they could buy slabs at a discount and make a healthy profit selling 330ml bottles for around $6.50.

And btw in Sydney’s inner west you can still get Coopers for $5 at many pubs, and a lot even sell Coopers by the Jug. Canberra establishments are all run by capitalist money hungry a holes.

sirocco 8:41 pm 25 Feb 12

$9 a pint here
$8.80 a pint at the Wig
$6.50 a schooner (of Little Creatures/White Rabbit/Coopers = $8.7 pint) at The Durham Castle in Kingston

These are kinda normal prices – maybe not cool relative to the UK where you can get a pint in a London pub for around £3.50 but normal for Canberra (or even equivalent regions of Sydney).

CrocodileGandhi 8:25 pm 25 Feb 12

I’ve just come form the Belgian Beer Cafe and they are charging $80 for one of their beers. That said, you don’t go to that establishment for cheap drinks.

shauno 8:23 pm 25 Feb 12

farnarkler said :

Shauno see if you can find a cheap place to live between Oxford St and Piccadilly in London. As for cars, they’re cheaper in Europe because just about everything not vital to the operaition of the vehicle is an option. You can double the price of some German cars in the UK with all the available options. As for $9 a pint, the Wig and Pen will charge you that, however, their beer is much better!!

No mate take Porsche for example the options list in Australia is similar you can option up a 911 way past $50K if you want. The prices in Australia are stupidly expensive. I had a flat in South Kensington so you cant say that isnt a cheap place in London but It its not far off my place in Turner and shopping at Tescos was cheaper and my local pubs where cheaper.

farnarkler 7:57 pm 25 Feb 12

Shauno see if you can find a cheap place to live between Oxford St and Piccadilly in London. As for cars, they’re cheaper in Europe because just about everything not vital to the operaition of the vehicle is an option. You can double the price of some German cars in the UK with all the available options. As for $9 a pint, the Wig and Pen will charge you that, however, their beer is much better!!

damien haas 7:55 pm 25 Feb 12

I never went back to the haha bar after being charged 13 bucks for a cider.

Jethro 7:31 pm 25 Feb 12

shauno said :

There has been a lot of stuff on the news about Australia being really expensive and I can confirm that having lived and do work worldwide its bloody expensive here for just about anything you can name from real estate to cars to food to beer whatever. Its cheaper to Live anywhere in the UK most of France and the rest of Europe besides a few places and cheaper in the US.

It is more expensive.

But we are also wealthier.

shauno 6:59 pm 25 Feb 12

There has been a lot of stuff on the news about Australia being really expensive and I can confirm that having lived and do work worldwide its bloody expensive here for just about anything you can name from real estate to cars to food to beer whatever. Its cheaper to Live anywhere in the UK most of France and the rest of Europe besides a few places and cheaper in the US.

shauno 6:47 pm 25 Feb 12

Having Lived in London recently yes $9 in for a pint in Canberra is over the top.

toriness 6:12 pm 25 Feb 12

i was at the civic pub this week and they charged me $8.40 for a pint of coopers. WTF?!

Bulldog_Jason 6:11 pm 25 Feb 12

$9?! I was charged $10 a pint of Cooper Pale! Saturday 25 February 2012, 2pm ish.

Ridiculous! They’ve lost my patronage.

Duffbowl 4:22 pm 25 Feb 12

$9 for a pint of Coopers Pale? Bugger. That.

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