Seek out Bodega – Toowoomba’s new secret grungy good time bar
We’re suckers for secret sipping spots – give us a hidden door and an out-of-the-way location and we’re all in. Next time you’re in Toowoomba, head to the Walton Stores laneway and look for signs pointing to Bodega – a brand-new drinkery and music venue tucked away behind a New York deli-style shopfront.
Bodega is a secret bar that wants to be found. The yellow-brick walls of the Walton Stores laneway (adorned with illuminated signage and murals advertising live music, cold beer and good times) are an intentional giveaway. If you’re bold enough to pull back the large wooden barn-style entry doors, you’ll discover an antechamber furbished as a New York-style convenience store boasting shelves laden with provisions and a fridge stocked with unfamiliar beer cans. Don’t be fooled by the decorative ruse – the true offering actually sits behind this facade. Through the fridge (yes, in 2021 secret portals to other realms are no longer disguised as wardrobes, they’re refrigerators) you’ll find Bodega’s true form, a grungy neon-lit barroom and music venue boasting an edgy yet welcoming appeal. The venue comes from Todd Farr, the former chef and owner of Asian eatery Junk who is fusing a host of his own globe-trotting inspirations to create a big-city concept in a small town where nightlife options are limited.
For his new concept, Todd has blended elements of covert speakeasies, New York bodegas, Mexican good time bars and rollicking Los Angeles dive bars into an unpretentious community hangout that supports local creative talent and – if the vivid neon sign behind the stage is to be believed – is ‘the happiest fucking place’. The drinks list at Bodega is all about fuelling good vibes, starting with a list of Latin-inspired cocktails like pisco sours, spiced palomas, micheladas and margaritas, accompanied by a tight list of classics including mojitos, Moscow mules and the Dirty Shirley – a grown-up take on the Shirley Temple. A rotating range of boozy slurpees, picklebacks and fernet branca shots add to the fun factor, while groups can split one of three sangria jugs while bands kick out the jams. Savoury snacks are available in the form of convenience store snacks like Cheetos and pork crackling. As for the music, Bodega’s weekly itinerary will feature musical bingo and jam nights on Wednesdays, live bands from Thursday through to Saturday, and DJs spinning the hits on Sunday evenings.
Bodega is now open to the public. Head to the Stumble Guide for operating hours and other important links.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.