If it weren’t for Jon Blute, Jesse Barbera wouldn’t have moved to Brisbane. The two Rhode Island friends have known each other for decades, so when Jon raved about the fun he had in Brisbane while studying abroad, Jesse didn’t hesitate following up on the recommendation. It so happened that Jesse loved Brisbane so much that he chose to stick around after Jon had moved back to the States. Several years on and Jesse has carved out a home in the local hospitality scene, owning and operating Fortitude Valley hotspots Black Bear Lodge and The Brightside as a member of The Happy Horseman hospitality group. When a new tenancy became available underneath Black Bear Lodge, Jesse and the Horsemen decided to act, choosing to install a pub-style venue inspired by their own tastes and named after the bloke that brought Jesse to town – Jon Blute himself. Jesse and his team decided that the kind of pub they wanted to drink at was one without gimmicks – it wouldn’t be a gastropub, it couldn’t be a sports bar and there had to be a live-music element. The end result is Blute’s Bar – a watering hole that does away with the artifice of modernity, where being an affordable and comfortable place to drink is the only lodestar.
When we say Blute’s Bar is inspired by classic pub aesthetics, we’re not kidding. The bar has been shaped as an ode to the pubs of the 80s, where regulars could perch on a stool and socialise freely with beverage in hand. To accurately realise this vision, The Happy Horsemen enlisted Kim Burns of Jumble & Stack to design the fit-out and then recruited Peter Bernoth to install it. The bar’s interior boasts a strong palette of hardwood, tiles, stained glass and warm lighting extending from the custom-built bar and furnishings to the cushy booths and stage. Blute’s Bar is putting the finishing touches on its beer garden too, which sits in Bowery Lane at the venue’s rear.
Blute’s Bar has teamed up with neighbour Jacob Knauth of Lucky Egg to put together the menu, which includes the chicken joint’s signature crispy morsels plus a few new dishes. The selection of newbies includes a mixture of pub classics that have been given an inventive spin, including classic chicken and vegetarian parmies, kimchi cheese chiko rolls, crispy sweet-potato fries with red eye chicken gravy and cheese, and chicken and waffles (for weekend brunch only). Of special note is the Dive Bar Cheeseboard, which boasts creamy and crumbly cheeses, olives, pickles, dip and a handful of Australia’s greatest cracker – Jatz. The bar is amply stocked and caters to most – if not all – tastes. Beer taps pour everything from local craft drops to popular international ales, supplemented with a decent wine list and a back bar of all-star spirits. As for entertainment, Blute’s Bar will host cover bands on Saturday nights, karaoke on Thursdays and themed nights on Wednesdays, while a few televisions will screen the odd sporting fixture.
For more details on Blute’s Bar, click on over to our Stumble Guide.