Damian Griffiths' soon-to-be-opened venue is Chester Street at Newstead - a bakery cum bar.
Damian Griffiths' soon-to-be-opened venue is Chester Street at Newstead - a bakery cum bar.

Yeast and beer are about as closely linked as yeast and bread so, on one hand, the latest venue dreamed up by hospitality maven Damian Griffiths seems natural enough.

Take a bakery, and make it a bar.

But then you pause to consider the fact that the start to a baker's day usually begins at the same time a barman would go to bed.

Damian Griffiths soon-to-be-opened venue is a bakery cum bar called Chester Street at Newstead.
Damian Griffiths soon-to-be-opened venue is a bakery cum bar called Chester Street at Newstead.

So how will Newstead's soon-to-be-opened Chester Street actually work?

Based on the success of Mr Griffith's other endeavours, the answer is probably “very well”. Indeed, the concept mash-up is nothing new for the energetic entrepreneur.

His boutique Limes Hotel also has a rooftop cinema. The hugely popular Alfred and Constance is a restaurant cum tiki bar cum cafe housed in two remodelled Queenslander homes.

But a bakery bar?

Mr Griffiths, please explain.

“I was in San Francisco last year and came across some great bakeries that were more like food stores. At night they transformed into a bar and restaurant. There is also something really great about eating in a working bakery; it's busy and bustling," he said.

“I think every neighbourhood needs a local bakery. The mass produced bread today just isn't good enough. We have set up an old-fashioned wood-fire bakery. We use only organic flour and don't add any additives to our sourdough - the result is amazing bread.

BT: How did you choose the location?

DG: By chance, the landlord Peter Bellas contacted me to see if I might be interested in taking over his Greek pie shop. He liked what we had done at Alfred and Constance and Limes Hotel and Rooftop Bar and I think he felt we would be a good operator for the premises. He had already set up the kitchen, but we built the wood-fired oven and the bar and re-designed the interior.

BT: Which will be more successful, the bakery or the bar? Why?

DG: I think both work hand and hand. The bakery is the daytime aspect of the venue and the bar will be popular at night. It's an amazing space to sit and eat and drink at night. The blue-tiled wood-fired oven is so amazing to look at, particularly when the fire is burning and the artisan bakers are working. I think there is something very honest and pure about bread making.

BT: How do you think Chester Street relates to the future of hospitality in Brisbane - are we going to see more of these mixed-concept venues?

DG: I hope it can be a model for the future. Customers today are very interested in how food is prepared, whether it be a meal or bread. Our idea of cooking and baking in an open style like our wood-fired oven is unique. The idea to bring a bar to a bakery is novel. But I also think the two fit together quite nicely, a bakery by day and bar by night.

BT: How well do you think Brisbane will receive your latest venture – are we ready for this?

DG: I spend a lot of time on the floor of all my venues and I like to talk with customers to find out what they like and want. We have also been talking to the local neighbourhood, including locals who've been trying the bread at our pop-up bakery, while the venue has been under renovation. I think Brisbane is ready.

BT: We've seen so much from you in recent years. What's next?

DG: It's been busy; we are working on another venue right now next to Alfredo's. I can't say much other than that I have always wanted to do really good Asian food. I am a massive fan of Neil Perry's Spice Temple in Sydney and Hakkasan in London. I also think Asian food would complement the offering at Alfred and Constance and Alfredo's.