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What to eat, drink and see at the ANU Pop Up Village

Beatrice Smith

The microcosm of Canberra culture that is the ANU Pop UP Village opened last night to with much fanfare and food. 

 The Pop-Up ReUnion Village, located just down from the Childers Street walkway is the university’s stop gap measure to prevent on campus culture from stagnating while the main student amenities in Union Court are being redeveloped.

With a purpose like this, one might assume that the village would hold a number of basic services, delivered at minimum effort and cost, but one look at the pop up’s maze of multicoloured buildings makes you realise that this is much more than a temporary solution.

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“We’re in the middle of redeveloping Union Court – which needed redeveloping, it was tired and needed a big refresh – but you don’t want to just get rid of it and have nothing,” explained Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt.

“The plan is to give a glimpse of what’s coming. My hope is that it will be a centre for people on campus to [come] out to and unwind at the end of classes.”

As a former ANU student who was not above casting a dispirited side eye at the Soviet-esque buildings that made up Union Court, I was particularly keen to see what the ANU’s vision of a revamped Union Court would look like.

But believe me, if the pop-up village is anything to go by, the redevelopment won’t disappoint. Here’s what we found at the opening.

EAT

First of all, food. You’re obviously not going to go wrong putting an adorable little Brodburger caravan right in the middle of a bunch of students. Back in my day (she says at the ripe age of 25), we would all wait in the freezing cold next to Lake Burley Griffin for a Brod from that caravan and I suspect that this will be a delightful kick of nostalgia for those working in the many public service buildings a short walk from ANU.

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There’s also Zambreros, Mikebabz, Mr Papa, Subway, Sushi Smith and What The Pho in addition to coffee offerings from Kubrick (who offer treats from Knead Patisserie and coffee by Redbrick Espresso) and Coffee Lab, which is by the team behind Coffee Grounds and Coffee Lab in the city and will serve food as well as (perhaps obviously) coffee. It’s a delicious little representation of what Canberra has to offer, perfect for some of Canberra’s newest residents.

The whole idea of their food offerings is to not only provide a wide range of options to students but also to encourage non-students to think of the campus as a destination to visit. Hopefully, this all comes together (after all, why travel to Kingston when you could grab Brod closer?) as I think this will do wonders for the atmosphere of the ANU on weekends, which (especially in winter) can sometimes resemble a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

DRINK

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ANU Bar was, of course, a sticky floored legend that deserves to remembered, however, it was always frustrating trying to seat more than three people inside on a Thursday afternoon in winter. The pop-up village’s answer, MOLO Live (a take on ‘Molonglo’), will be serving up plentiful drinks and plentiful seating to students (even a heated outdoor area) and is run by the Burley Group who know a thing or two about large scale venues.

Image: facebook.com/mololiveanu

Image: facebook.com/mololiveanu

ART

The pop-up village even has a space for visual delights. The Prompt Gallery is curated by Anna Trundle whose expertise from working as a curator for Art, Not Apart puts her in good stead for choosing art that won’t put students to sleep.

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While our national art institutions across the lake have always been regular student haunts (free heating, anyone?) the Gallery – which is currently showing works from the Vice Chancellor’s College Visiting Artist Fellowship Scheme – will give students another excuse to take time out from study and relax, as their Vice Chancellor recommended.

EVENTS & MUSIC

While ANU Bar is gone and with it a long legacy of performances, from what we could see at the opening night, The Club will fill the void nicely.

The purpose-built space has a sound system that looks like it could blow your face off (in a good way) and the minimalist decor (plywood, open eaves in the ceiling) will suit a variety of events, from classical concerts to dance parties.

Find out more about The Pop-Up ReUnion Village here.

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Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Editorial Coordinator involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise you’ll find her at the movies, ordering a cheese board or ordering a cheese board at the movies. More about the Author