27 February 2018

Red Brick expands into NewActon with new cafe

| Ian Bushnell
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NewActon coffee lovers enjoy Makeshift by Red Brick on its opening day. Photos: Supplied.

NewActon coffee lovers enjoy Makeshift by Red Brick on its opening day. Photos: Supplied.

Canberra coffee roaster Red Brick has opened its fourth cafe, breathing new life into a ground floor space in Molonglo Group’s Nishi Building in the NewActon precinct.

Dubbed ‘Makeshift by Red Brick’, the new outlet is in the space fronting Phillip Law Street, formerly occupied by Max Brenner Chocolate adjacent to the Palace Electric Cinema.

Red Brick owner Tim Manning said the first day today (Monday) had been very busy for him and his five staff in an area where there were plenty of fine dining options but not expresso bars.

“When Molonglo were looking for someone to work in this space, we were quite happy to take it up with them. They wanted something a little different and predominately a coffee-based business,” Tim said.

Molonglo’s directors knew Tim and the product and recognised Red Brick could be the right fit for NewActon with several Commonwealth departments and private companies in the Nishi and nearby buildings, as well as being close to the ANU.

The Nishi outlet has been refurbished and refitted to look like a lounge and workspace, and is available to be booked for private evening events.

Red Brick has been growing steadily over the past four years, starting with the Curtin cafe and growing the coffee roasting side of the business to the point where Tim established a roasting warehouse in Fyshwick.

With staff wanting to do more in hospitality, Tim opened Tinker Tailor in Casey and then Kubrick in the ANU pop-up village, collaborating with Knead Patisserie from the Belconnen Markets.

Makeshift will also offer Knead Patisserie’s sweet and savoury pastries, with Teddy Picker’s from Campbell providing light meals including premade salads, toasted sandwiches, raw vegan treats, bircher muesli, cakes and muffins.

Make shift by Red Brick.

Makeshift by Red Brick aims to be a workspace as well as a cafe.

Two Red Brick coffee blends are available – Seasonal, which changes as different coffee comes from different origins at different times of the year; and Cypher, a Brazilian-based traditional expresso.

With a liquor licence also in train, Tim said he was also looking to hold jazz and soul music events, as well as participating in the Art, Not Apart festival next month, and catering to those sort of events on weekends in the future, working with Dionysus in NewActon.

Coffee aficionados can look forward to tasting Red Brick brews later in the year at a new espresso bar at the Fyshwick warehouse.

While Canberra’s coffee roasting businesses multiply, Tim said the local competition was a friendly and supportive culture.

“It’s more about people working with coffee from Canberra versus people importing coffee to Canberra from the big commercial companies,” he said.

“That’s where the growth in the market is, people start to realise there is a lot of benefit to working with a local company, you end up with a better understanding of your product and lot better support as a café owner.

“That’s probably where the change is. There’s a lot less people going to the big commercial Sydney and Melbourne-based companies and starting to work with us and ONA, Lonsdale Street Roasters and Two Before Ten because we have a slightly different offering and we can probably provide better service.”

Makeshift by Red Brick is open Monday to Friday 7:30 am to 4 pm.

Are you a fan of Red Brick coffee? Share your favourite coffee experience with us below.

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