Much-loved Downer cafe Gang Gang is gearing up for a big 2023 with renovations to nearly double its capacity. It’s yet another sign that the future of dining in Canberra is local, with cafes, bars and restaurants in suburban centres growing in popularity.
The Conway brothers, who have owned and operated Gang Gang since 2020, took over the lease for the shop next door earlier this year. The space was previously occupied by yoga and psychology studio ‘here.’ which has moved to Acton. The space has been used for art exhibitions while the finishing touches were put on the plans to expand and the team is now ready to commence renovations.
Sam Conway told Region that the planned renovations would “almost double” their current capacity indoors.
“A big part of needing to expand was to increase the size of the kitchen, storage, cool room and stuff like that … it will be quite a bit bigger.”
The renovations will take place over the summer, and they’re hoping to open the new space in late February or March, but are realistic that things often take longer than expected.
The dine-in cafe space will be closed as they combine the two spaces but coffee dependent residents of the Inner North don’t need to panic: there will be a temporary space set up to keep serving customers while the work is underway.
“I think there would be a revolt if we weren’t serving coffee for two months!” said Sam.
“We’re going to be doing different sandwiches and pop-up stuff with the chefs. So there should be some food and coffee going the whole time. We’re actually pretty excited about it, it should be really fun.”
Once the renovations are complete, the cafe will have an increased capacity for indoor dining – which will be great for those chilly Canberra winters – and a larger kitchen for the chefs to work in. They’ll also extend their regular kitchen hours into night-time service with plans for pizzas and share plates on the menu. Six beer taps pouring craft brews will go into the bar.
Expanding the space will also give Gang Gang opportunities to host more live music and welcome bigger acts.
The Conway brothers are musicians themselves and have already cultivated a thriving live music scene at Gang Gang with regular gigs by local artists and this is set to continue. Sam says they are hopeful that the space will work for mid-level touring bands coming from interstate.
Posting on social media the brothers acknowledged that their expansion was possible thanks to the huge amount of support they’d received from the Downer community, their staff and all their customers through what had been a couple of tough years for hospitality businesses.
“We couldn’t be more appreciative and are very excited to share GG 2.0 with you all.”