Joe's Bar is Canberra's newest venue

Natasha Rudra
Joe's Bar is opening at the East Hotel in Kingston. From left, Dion and Dan Bisa.
Joe's Bar is opening at the East Hotel in Kingston. From left, Dion and Dan Bisa. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Mark your diaries. Canberra's newest bar opens on Friday in Kingston and it's all about family.

Joe's Bar features small plates, cured meats and a wine list that harks back to Italy.

A slick marble bar runs down one side of the room with modern low seating and funky coffee tables for a casual feel throughout the rest of the space.

There's a fuchsia-pink feature wall with cool lighting – and if you reach out a hand to part the draped curtain near the door, you'll find it's made out of concrete.

East Hotel director Dan Bisa and assistant general manager Dion Bisa named the bar after their father Joe, who's been a stalwart of the Canberra property development scene for 45 years.

"The core was Italian and we wanted to hit home that we were an Italian family, that we run this hotel," Dan Bisa says.

"We love it that it's a little bit of connecting Dad to the hotel. I said, 'Dad we're thinking of naming the bar after you.' And he said, 'Well I'll never come there if it's named after me.' He was joking."

Dion Bisa said the bar would serve plenty of cocktails, wine and some grappas ("Dad loves grappas"). She says the bar would feature "simple food, lovely Italian wines, the things that Dad loves and is what we grew up on. Mum said she wouldn't come if there weren't oysters, so there are oysters."

The brother and sister spent a lot of time doing their research ("drinking in a lot of bars", as Dan Bisa jokingly puts it) and Joe's is designed by Kelly Ross, who has a background in theatre, with Murano glass feature pieces to reference Joe's Venetian heritage.


"She wanted it to be rustic and comfortable and she's tried to make it a bit about the history of where Dad's from," Dion Bisa says. "She walked into the space and said, 'I see a concrete curtain here.'"

They loved it and the bar went from there.

There'll be plenty of outdoor seating for the warmer summer months and the bar will lead onto the hotel foyer.

You can expect to see at least one more new offering at East – there's still the bookshop and wine bar Muse yet to open at the hotel in the next month.

Joe's Bar opens on Friday, July 31, at East Hotel in Kingston.