Get into Shorty’s – A mini-review

by The Editor

Shorty's Bar

On New Year’s Eve this year, staff and owners held a private party to farewell Milk and Honey after ten years on the corner of ‘Melbourne Lane’ and Bunda Street. Less than 90 days later, we’ve got Shorty’s.

So, what is it? Like John Travolta himself, is the site set for a renaissance?
Shorty's Balcony

First questions as we attempt to ‘get’ Shorty’s: is this a bar, a restaurant or a pub? You may think this an easy question, however as the current trend in post-industrial interior design continues to blur the lines of the three you sometimes can’t be sure. Anyway, just look at that logo above. We may be taking a leap of faith here, but we see a top view of a bottle top.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a pub.

Shorty's Bar 4

And so it should be.  Simon Hammond has come in to oversee the latest creation of Frank Condi and partner. Frank, as we’ve mentioned, is a bit of a legend around the Canberra hospitality scene, with a string of successes under his belt. This should certainly be one to watch, especially with it’s location that ties Garema Place venues (Honkytonks, Hippo and Playground) with those on Bunda Street (Tongue & Groove and Cream).

There are two entrances to Shorty’s – one is a relatively discreet entry on Bunda Street that reveals the pub now occupies the space that was formerly Lil’ Blossoms florist. The more traditional entry is near La Scala – and is the same as utilised by the previous tenants.

Ready for an after work tipple, we made our way in via Garema Place. Once inside, you are hit by a dazzling array of textures, materials and design cues. Get past the extraordinary teal facade of the bar (with the most beautiful wooden counter in town) and you’ll find contrasts aplenty: Danish inspired bar stools contrast with high tables on ornate wrought iron pedestals; pub tables and Winchester-styled benches residing under a branded neon light with all the brashness of Dali’s Chup-a-chup logo. It’s hard to know where to rest your eyes – there is SO much going on.

Shorty's Bar 2

Did we saw that’s a bad thing? Not at all. These objects and styles manage to hang together in their own peculiar way, defining spaces within the pub onto for rather distinct areas. One can imagine regulars falling in love with their particular spot not just because of the viewpoint or the seat, but perhaps for a new found relationship with the surrounding miscellanea.

Pleasingly wines start at a gentle $6.50 for a glass of the Tatachilla Chardonnay, Shiraz or Sparkling. From there, you can venture as far as your palate and wallet may take you – all the way to a vintage Veuve (2004 – $175). Sadly, only two wines from the local region feature on the list (making up only 5% of the range) Happily, they have chosen the Long Road Chardonnay by Eden Road (one of our faves) and the Nick O’Leary Shiraz (certainly an agreeable drop), but may be limiting for an increasingly parochial wine drinking population. For the beer drinkers, a schooner of Squires costs as little as $6.50. If you’re in the need for urgent medication, martinis are $16.00.

Shorty's Bar 3

We didn’t have time to try anything from the kitchen, having been informed it opens would open at 5.30pm (a shame for city workers chasing a pre-commute drink and snack), however the menu looks a lot of fun and – if it follows the philosophy of the drinks list – should represent great value.

As the bodies filled the bar, the atmosphere developed a gentle hum, but time did not permit us the opportunity to settle in. Next time we plan to take on the Pig’s Face Sanga and a packaged cocktail, all under the compound gaze of a giant house fly. No, really.

Curious?  So are we. Guaranteed we’ll be back to Shorty’s soon. If you get there before we do, let us know in the comments.

29 Garema Place
Open Hours – TBC – (currently breakfast lunch and dinner)