Coffee and music have been bedfellows since the beginning of social coffee drinking. The very first coffeehouses were a place where conversation, music and social interaction could be enjoyed, all for the price of a cup of coffee. Centuries later, and the tradition of live music and coffee continues in a wonderful nod to history and to the culture of West End and Melbourne’s coffee scene, at Bass Espresso. At this unique café, you can sit back and sip on one of the several varieties of coffee available and have the opportunity to listen to some
Brisbane’s most talented musicians. To understand this wonderful café/music venue, you have to get to know the brainchild and owner of this creative haunt, Glenn Holliday. Holliday is a man with a passion for coffee, a bass player and member of the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra as well as an electrical engineer during the week — making him one of the busiest, most passionate and best all-rounded people you are likely to come across. Having spent years perfecting his own roasted coffee at home, he finally found just the right
spot to fulfill his dream of running his own coffee haven — a place to bring locals the best coffee experiences found readily in Melbourne’s laneways. While Glenn may have found inspiration for Bass down south, the result is something that is very sensitive to the ‘micro community’ of West End. “The style of businesses and the colour of the West End locals really impressed on me the need to create something that was high quality, while being very relaxed and comfortable, but most importantly being honest and true to itself.”
Bass sources the house coffee beans from local coffee company, The Single Guys, while Holliday continues to roast the filter, de-caf and single origin beans himself. With a slow-extraction cold drip coffee, Syphon and V60 Pour-Over coffees available on order, as well as any milk you like (including goat’s milk), customers really are spoilt for choice. To complement the coffee menu, punters can also expect a more extensive menu going forward, with chef Alex Carey taking the reins in the kitchen. As for the music, you can expect to see some of the best musicians in the city.
“I have had the opportunity to have friends from the Queensland Symphony Orchestra perform at Bass, which I find quite surreal. Usually you will only capture a glimpse of musicians of this standard at QPAC.” This is not just a great opportunity for patrons. Bass also provides a place for musicians with limited performance experience to get up and have a go. “The opportunity to meet and enjoy so many musicians playing live is definitely a highlight. I met Cliff on our opening day … he had mentioned in passing that he was a musician and that he lived just around the
corner. He has now played with us multiple times, and refuses to take payment. West End has such a generous, sharing and creative spirit.” It has been just over a year since Bass Espresso opened its doors, and Holliday says he could not be happier. Although he admits the last 12 months has been filled with challenges, his energy is sustained by his passion and focus and encouragement, found in the way they have been embraced bythe West End community.
Words by Alice Lindley | Images by Darlia Argyris