When Kris Dadson and Luke Dillon launched Suburban Social Neighbourhood Bar & Kitchen in December 2016, they knew that opening a bar would be a job of tweaking and fine tuning. Four years on and their successful Chapel Hill gastropub has cultivated a loyal following, but the duo are the first to admit that a bar owner’s job is never done – there’s always something they can improve upon. Transferring that ethos to Brisbane’s bar scene as a whole, the tandem are deeply invested in helping cultivate the city’s suburban bar scene, having experienced firsthand the demand for quality-yet-easygoing options that cater to those living in Brisbane’s suburban pockets. As locals move to Brisbane’s outer belt in increasing numbers, the Suburban Social team saw a great opportunity to not only take their brand of hospitality to one of these growth corridors, but use the chance to enhance Suburban Social’s offering. After flagging Holland Park as a viable site for expansion, Kris and Luke snagged a suitable spot (formerly a convenience store and fish and chippery) sandwiched snugly between Stomp Espresso and Balti Biryani on Holland Road. It was here that Suburban Social 2.0 would sit – a watering hole that continues the group’s established fun and community-centric ethos, while elevating the overall Suburban Social experience by challenging preconceived notions of what a neighbourhood bar could really be.
Upon walking into Suburban Social Holland Park, diners are immediately greeted by an eclectic aesthetic that could be loosely described as light industrial with a vintage sheen. For Kris and Luke, malleability was key to the venue’s layout and vibe – the new location has been designed to accomodate everyone, from quiet weeknight catch-ups and family outings to raucous birthday parties and intimate Tinder dates. The team has spruced up the interior by installing new bifold windows, a double-fronted bar (with some bar seating), a spacious main dining area boasting cushy leather banquettes and a deck space at the rear of the venue for breezy sundowners or larger private events. Drapl was enlisted to coat the venue’s feature wall in an eye-catching circus-themed mural, while other walls are utilised to advertise what’s on tap and on the menu. Although COVID-19 restrictions currently limit capacity to roughly 50 patrons, in full flight the bar will be able to accomodate close to 100.
The food and drink
With the commencement of this new era, Kris and Luke were eager to give the menu some tasty upgrades across both the food and drink offering. To help achieve this, the crew has enlisted the services of new head chef Marty Coard, who was previously at Sirromet Winery. Marty is immediately shifting gears in the Suburban Social kitchen, placing a greater emphasis on quality, seasonality and locality – we’re talking top-notch ingredients sourced from within a 50-km radius. By giving bar-style dining the same treatment as restaurant fare, Marty hopes to not only enhance the menu’s flavours and elevate its overall quality, but also engage locals in discussion around food. After securing the foundations, Marty will begin to subtly evolve the menu of both locations over the coming months, introducing interactive morsels boasting some out-of-the-box ingredients that folks might not immediately recognise. Suburban Social’s communal, share-style approach to bar dining will remain, as will some unassailable favourites (regulars can expect the popular Sichuan-peppered calamari, chicken wings lathered in Tabasco buffalo sauce and double cheeseburgers to stick around), while newcomers like pan-seared mahi-mahi and gourmet Stockyard Beef steaks will first prove their worth as specials. Over at the bar, lovers of beer will be amply catered for, with eight taps dedicated to Australian craft and a further 40 beers and ciders filling the fridge. The bar has signed up to Untappd to give regulars a preview of what’s available at any given moment. A 25-strong cocktail list will boast a collection of classics and reworked concoctions (many of which will be mixed using Australian-made house-pour spirits), and wine drinkers will be able to select from a clutch of boutique labels.
Suburban Social Holland Park is now open. For operating hours and contact details, head to the Stumble Guide.