After six years and countless pints poured, The Mill on Constance called time on its Fortitude Valley tenure after owners Gillian Letham and Gerard Hartnett couldn’t come to terms on a lease extension with the venue’s landlord. Although The Mill’s closure was devastating for the entertainment precinct’s beer-bar scene, the duo (who also own The Oxford Taphouse in Bulimba) already had plans for a third venue in their portfolio. Gillian and Gerard were on the hunt for a new opportunity way back in January, searching for a suburban space where they could deliver a top-notch craft-oriented product to an area in need of a boozer to call its own. The couple had settled on a space in a prime position on Mitchelton’s Blackwood Street when The Mill’s closure was announced, therefore in order to retain The Mill’s crack team of knowledgeable staff, Gillian and Gerard got to work making the project a reality. After over a month of frenzied work the duo welcomed The Woods into their boozy portfolio last week.
For any neighbourhood bar, atmosphere is tantamount to the fare – especially when it comes to ensuring repeat custom. The Blackwood Street space had previously housed a wholefoods shop, and when the business vacated it left behind a strong palette of mint green. Gillian and Gerard set about shifting the venue back towards a more approachable aesthetic – one that emphasised cosiness, comfort and casual vibes. The original brickwork was revitalised, green replaced by black, concrete floors polished and bi-fold windows installed to look out towards the street and outdoor beer garden. Gerard, a carpenter by trade, assembled the bar’s timber furnishings by hand and placed them alongside cushy seats (if you’re going to be lingering for a few bevvies, you want to be comfortable). Gillian and Gerard also ensured the scratch-built bar featured an open layout so the bar’s friendly team members were always within sight and shout of the interior, exterior and footpath.
The food and drink
With an established pedigree for serving phenomenal frothies, you just know that the crew here at The Woods can stock a bar right. The fridge is filled with upwards of 60 lines of beer – on par with The Mill at its height – featuring everything from pales and pilsners to stouts and saisons. Accessibility and approachability is key – adventurous drinkers will be amply catered for, but beer novices can also work with the bar team to find a brew to suit. The beer list will be chopped and changed regularly based on the whims of the well-informed staff’s tastes, but you can expect brews to linger longer on the taps. Speaking of taps, the bar is equipped with ten – six for beers, one for ginger beer, one for cider and two pouring ready-to-sip kegged wine from Riot Wine Co. Gillian and Gerard aren’t ones to turn their noses up at wine, either – the drinks list boasts a savvy selection of varietals, including drops from Vinterloper’s Urban Winery Project pop-up and pet-nats and blends from New Zealand’s Garage Project. The back bar has been fleshed out with a curated selection of Australian spirits, which funnel into a small hit-list of classic cocktails. As for the grub, it will change as often as the beer, with a list of all-day morsels (think popcorn chicken, sauteed chorizo, Thai fish cakes and fried pickles) sharing menu space with an ever-rotating selection of lunch mains (chicken schnitzel, charred rump steak, vegan burgers and salads) and dinner dishes (braised lamb shanks, beetroot bourguignon, market fish with sautéed greens).
The Woods is now open! For opening hours and contact details, hit up the Stumble Guide.