First Look: Dickson Taphouse | HerCanberra

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First Look: Dickson Taphouse

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How many draughts does your local pub pour? Eight? 18?

Dickson Taphouse, the Inner North’s newest watering hole opens this arvo, and it anticipates tapping 800 beers in the next year alone.

An ambitious venture from Meem Collective, the team behind Old Canberra Inn and Queenies at Kingston, the Taphouse sits on the corner of Woolley Street, in rooms occupied by Duck’s Nuts Bar & Grill only three weeks ago.

Performing a quick turnaround, owners Ben Johnston, Kalina Koloff, and Nick Diver are taking serious advantage of what the space already has to offer—like 18 individual beer lines.

A photo of the building’s empty keg room, hoses clean and at the ready, attracted a smattering of independent breweries on the venue’s Facebook page last week.

“Because of OCI’s reputation, everyone wants to come to us with their beer,” says Ben.

So aside from six static handles featuring favorites like Capital Brewing Co.’s Coast Ale and BentSpoke’s Crankshaft IPA, they’ll be sampling one keg of every other brew, keeping the remaining 12 taps on constant rotation.

Ben estimates they’ll go through five new beers a day—you literally have to show up tonight if you wish to catch the first pours!

Head Chef Matt Standen wants variety, too. In a neighbourhood dominated by Asian cuisine, he’s excited to introduce an Italian menu.

In true Mediterranean style, his dishes focus on sustainability, featuring local produce and ethically sourced ingredients. Food is made in-house as much as possible. Even the spaghetti.

Ben sounds gleeful as he describes the glitzy new pasta machine they’ve imported from Italy.

“The mouthfeel of a homemade pasta…you can’t get that from a packet.”

The menu includes classics—grass-fed Beef Ragu, Carbonara, and free-range Pork Schnitzel—as well as unexpected innovations.

Kimchi Arancini balls embrace what is probably the most popular flavour in all of Dickson now, thanks to the strong Korean influence. The Pickled Sardines on Toast is very moreish to have with a beer.

You’ll find child’s portions and plenty of vegan and vegetarian dishes too, like wonderfully textured Lentil and Spinach Pasta. And instead of Hand Cut Chips, which OCI and Queenies both rep, DT has Rosemary Salt Fries with Pecorino. Mmm…molto delizioso!

A cocktail list, curated by General Manager Richard Cockram, focuses on light and fresh libations made to pair with the rich flavours from the kitchen.

The Woolley Street Collins sounds particularly enticing, made with gin, ginger and G.H. Massenez “Golden 8” Williams Pear Liqueur, a dark, sweetened eau-de-vie that goes down like butterscotch.

Duck’s Nuts’ old TAB room has transformed into a cozy parlour where you can sink into a brown leather armchair while nursing an Adelaide Hills Distillery Gin Negroni. Or perhaps you’ll prefer sipping the bergamot-flavoured Reggio Spritz, perched on a velvety olive couch?

The dining room has lush green wallpaper covered with tangled hops vines while the barroom sports high-top tables and low, snuggly couches and will feature live music.

Ben affirmed that, thanks to the local council, the entire Woolley block is undergoing major renovations in the near future. Larger pedestrian spaces and added greenery will make the location perfect for live entertainment.

“People from city planning are asking us what they should do here in fact.” With support like that, Dickson Taphouse is sure to become the neighbourhood establishment.

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Dickson Taphouse
Where: 30 Woolley Street, Dickson
When: Open 12pm – late, seven days
Website: facebook.com/Dickson-Taphouse

Photography: Dana Cape

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