The ongoing revitalisation of Colwill Place from overlooked shopping strip into a sparkling hub of bespoke beauty and retail hasn’t just given the charming character building a new lease on life – it’s also become a launch point for several beloved Gold Coast businesses looking to expand into the Brisbane market. Recent months have seen the opening of new outposts from Mermaid Beach plant resource The Borrowed Nursery, its colourful florist offshoot Foliar and Casuarina boutique Nikkou Store. On Tuesday January 19, Colwill Place’s ranks were further bolstered by the arrival of Bear Boy Espresso, the Helensvale-born specialty coffee and brunch outlet that caused a splash on northern end of the Gold Coast upon opening in December 2019. Even though they were less than a year removed from their coastal cafe’s opening, Bear Boy’s owners Brodie and Andrew Howard had already given consideration to the idea of further growth, but it wasn’t until Lauren Lance of The Borrowed Nursery put Brodie and Andrew’s name forward as candidates for Colwill Place’s vacant cafe space that the notion gained serious traction.
Although boasting a smaller footprint than its Helensvale sibling, the 45-seater space ticked every box on Brodie and Andrew’s list – it could easily accomodate Bear Boy’s distinct visual style, offered room for outside dining and was perfectly positioned to fill a coffee dead zone at the heart of the Lutwyche Road corridor that tethers Windsor, Albion and Kedron. Over the final months of 2020, Brodie and Andrew undertook a comprehensive DIY fit-out of the space, replicating the cafe’s established Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic conceived by Southport-based design studio Space Cubed (the cafe’s slick branding is the invention of 40/40 Creative). The interior is awash with terracotta hues, crisp whites, warm timber and pops of gold, with rendered walls and an Italian-marble coffee counter creating some sublime textural interplay that’s accentuated by the smooth curves of alcove shelves and a cosy booth at the rear. The outdoor deck offers room for breezy brunching, while some added footpath dining will be added in the coming weeks.
With a service model that emphasises the hospitable aspect of hospitality, Brodie and her team aim to make the Bear Boy experience approachable and memorable for all comers. Here warm welcomes double as the first course, a form of rapport building that is intrinsic to the cafe’s identity and early success. Once seated, it’s only natural for your thoughts to turn to coffee. Good news – Bear Boy takes its caffeine seriously, with a high-tech espresso machine and filter bar geared towards crafting the perfect drop. Single O‘s Killer Bee blend is currently Bear Boy’s house go-to for espresso brews, and is also providing beans for its filter and pour-over sips. Over time Brodie is eager to showcase a different feature roaster each month, with regular staff cupping sessions ensuring Bear Boy’s baristas are intimately familiar with each roaster, big and small. Those looking for an alternative to the jitter juice can sip on organic loose-leaf tea from Mayde, Prana Chai lattes, cold-pressed juices from Hrvst St, Somersault sodas, smoothies, shakes and drinking chocolate. If you’re rocking a grizzly belly grumble, Bear Boy’s brunch and lunch items will humble it. The selection has been pared back slightly compared to Helensvale’s menu, though diners will still be able to sink teeth into OG Bear Boy bites like the Big Bear Benny (crispy potato waffle, poached eggs, hollandaise and sauteed greens), the Boy Breakfast Burger (smoked bacon, fried egg, aged cheddar, rocket and relish) and the cluckin’ good Chicken + Waffles (buttermilk fried chicken, poached egg, sriracha hollandaise on a sweet waffle). New kids on the block include mango and coconut hotcakes with Coyo ice-cream, granola tarts, sweetcorn and zucchini fritters, Curly Wurly acai bowls and sweet-potato salads. Expect the menu to get a shake up every four months or so to catch seasonal ingredients at their best.
Bear Boy Espresso is now open at Colwill Place. Head to the Stumble Guide for operating hours and social media links.