The wait is nearly over – the finishing touches are being put on anticipated Fortitude Valley hub X Cargo as you read this. Two years in the making, X Cargo on McLachlan Street promises to offer a comprehensive spectrum of entertainment to the masses, with casual beer-garden hangs, weekend revelry, satisfying feeds, an outdoor cinema, sophisticated function capabilities and boutique events. X Cargo director Aydan Sturgess and his team have recruited design firm Collectivus for the design, which is centred around crisp-white shipping containers stacked to create a tiered hospitality playground. Passing pedestrians have glimpsed sizeable murals in progress as the containers were loaded into place, with the vibrant works overlooking X Cargo’s myriad of nooks and crannies. These pastel murals – alongside lush greenery and the striking freshness of the containers – are combining to create a laid-back vibe reminiscent of 1970s Miami, paired with some quintessential tropical Queensland touches.
Your first visit to X Cargo might have you feeling like you’re navigating an MC Escher painting, but there is a definite method to the madness. X Cargo’s layout includes several levels, starting from the ground-level zones and working its way up the shipping containers to a series of elevated terraces. On terra firma you’ll find the main beer garden The Lawn, which boasts its own 40-foot bar and entertainment nook, and Eats Alley – a spacious and multi-purpose meeting place that extends from the street to an old converted Queenslander (nicknamed The Deck) at the venue’s rear. X Cargo’s kitchen, cafe space and the Palm Lounge (complete with a 20-foot bar) can be found near the street front, with furniture sprawling out onto the astro-turfed lawn. Those looking for a better vantage point of the action can ascend to X Cargo’s upper levels, where shipping containers have been converted to house booth seating, high tables and lounging areas – all offering a killer view. The Flamingo Lounge (named for its proximity to the Lee Harnden-painted flamingo mural) overlooks Eats Alley, while The Lookout offers views of The Lawn and the McLachlan Street strip. Capping off the venue is the lofty Sky Deck, which rises above X Cargo’s tiered structure to provide panoramic views over proceedings – complete with its own bar and lounge area.
The food and drink
Head chef Peter Popow (formerly of Melbourne’s The Meat & Wine Co) has come on board to curate X Cargo’s various food offerings, from the kitchen to the cafe. Peter is showcasing Queensland on a plate, sourcing seasonal and local produce. To match X Cargo’s palm and pastel aesthetic, Peter has settled on an American-oriented array of eats for the main kitchen, sprinkled with some tasteful Cuban influences to evoke Miami’s vibrant culinary scene. The cafe will open early for grab-and-go coffee and pastries, plus dine-in options for patrons to graze on leisurely in the surrounds of Eats Alley. The bars offer a good mix of libations, with numerous tap beers pouring X Cargo’s own house beers (called High Tide and Low Tide), as well as local and international names, Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and tap cocktails. X Cargo’s bars will also serve up several streams of specialty cocktails, ranging from traditional to tropical concoctions and nouveau delights.
X Cargo will open its social hub to the public on Saturday July 28. Head to the Stumble Guide for more information.