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Queenies reigns over Kingston

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Kingston has had “the Kingo” since 1936, but it has had to wait a long time for Queenies to arrive.

Queenies at Kingston promises a breath of fresh air on the corner of Giles and Kennedy Streets (formerly Charlie’s Corner) and a place where the focus feels far more feminine.

Owned by the team behind the Old Canberra Inn, Ben Johnston, Kalina Koloff and Nick Driver, the décor is the first thing you’ll notice when you walk past – namely a majestic, soaring, Art Deco-inspired bar made in brass and glass along the back wall.

Designed by Kelly Ross and made by blacksmiths Lok Sutherland and Chris Sulis from Double Griffin Forge with a hand-painted fresco by local artist and gallery owner Kacy Grainger, the bar is lit by enormous glass and brass hanging globes and is a decidedly glamorous place to pull up a stool for an after-work martini with friends.

Alternatively, the cosy lounges, velvet-upholstered chairs and Art Deco art and lighting flourishes evoke a pre-war lounge room feeling and suggest a more relaxed end to the day. All of this is surveyed by an enormous painted circus canvas of Liliokalani, Australia’s first belly dancing queen. The warm and quirky design and unique pieces were envisioned by Kelly Ross who has also worked with the nearby East Hotel group.

General Manager Rich Cockram said getting the look and feel of the place had been quite a journey, but the owners were delighted with the detailed flourishes—the 1930’s mahogany radio that transforms into a DJ’s table for a night of vinyl, for instance, or the reclaimed 1907 train carriage seats  which have been restored to their former glory.

Mostly, however, they are just delighted to get a corner spot in the sun in Canberra’s inner south. “It’s been such a strange year with COVID, but we are all excited to have arrived at this location and finally opened the doors,” said Rich.

“We feel that we are going to appeal to a broad demographic that reflects the changing neighbourhood, this is more a bar and cocktail focussed offering with an innovative and local-inspired menu, it’s a place we hope everyone will enjoy, and we think Kingston really needed it.”

Culinary creativity is provided by executive chef Matt Standen, who has put together a substantial menu that focuses on Australian native flavours, with a twist of Asian fusion – all with an emphasis on sharing. Like the charcoal lemon myrtle ½ chicken with Kurrajong braised green leaves, or the miso butter baked barramundi with wattle seed, lemon, and salt bush.

Need a wine to match? Sommelier, Ash Smith (aka the “Crazy Wine Lady”) will find the perfect match from the numerous wines by the glass that include a fine selection of the Canberra Region’s best like the Mallaluka Aligote or the MADA Tempranillo Rose.

Smaller dishes to nibble include the Bunya pancakes with fried cod, charred pineapple and chilli picked succulents, saganaki with yuzu and redcurrant, or purple yam pandesal, with whipped buffalo milk curd.

But really, you all want to read about the cocktails don’t you? Because if you are going to saunter up to such a spectacular looking bar, you want to order something that befits the aesthetics, right?

Bar manager and cocktail mistress, Holly Ingram, may well suggest there is no better time to order a Witches Versus the Patriarchy—Pre-Prohibition rye, Belgrove Distillery ginger hammer, lemon, whites and fizz—than now.

Or perhaps raise a glass to the recently departed Australian feminist icon Helen Reddy—her eponymous drink combining Blanco Tequila, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Autonomy Davidson Plum Aperitivo and lemon. Hear. Me. Roar!


What: Queenies at Kingston
Where: Corner of Giles and Kennedy Streets, Kingston
Hours: 12pm-11pm Sun-Thurs, 12pm-midnight Fri-Sat
Bookings: 6174 4096
Website: https://www.queeniesatkingston.com.au/

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