Canberra’s newest bar is the perfect blend of traditional Italian elements and modern chic design. Meet Joe’s Bar: the ideal place to sip on a pinot noir or cool cosmo while kicking back on a chocolate-tinted, fur-covered lounge chair.
Located on the ground floor of East Hotel, Joe’s Bar is Canberra’s newest addition to the small bars that are transforming the nation’s capital into the heart of hip. It was conceived by siblings Dan and Dion Bisa, whose vision was to create a space that offered contemporary comfort, while still maintaining their Italian roots. This space would be one that would also blend smoothly into East Hotel, being owned and operated by family business Bisa Hotels. In fact, the bar is even named for their father, Joe Bisa, a first-generation Italian-Australian.
“We wanted to take all the inspiration we have gathered from the glamour and sophistication of the truly stunning bars we have enjoyed in Italy and create something that melds these qualities with the vibrant energy of the bar and restaurant scene in Australia,” said Dan. “From the beginning, it was about the detail, from the artisans, to each and every wine that we have included on the menu.”
Kelly Ross, creative director at The Gentry, was engaged to work on the chic Italian project. The rich colour palette for the bar was brought to life by seeing it in terms of wine terminology, drawing on qualities of clarity, brilliance, tone and depth. Murano glass and a concrete curtain hint at the north Italian heritage. A quirky rope installation, a tasteful pinot-hued pink wall and low hanging lights are constantly playing up the contradictions between soft and hard, old and new.
The bar itself is a colossal leather-finished granite, flowing effortlessly into the natural, oiled timbers and contrasted against polished stone. This statement piece perfectly compliments the wine list; a selection of the finest Italian wines, alongside some of the best wines from the Canberra region. Without overlooking its contemporary style, the bar also features an enviable cocktail list, as well as imported and local beer.
“It was important for us to have representation on our wine list from not only some of the classic Italian wine producing districts, but from the Canberra region as well,” said Dan. “My vision was to have the best wines possible available to enjoy in an inspirational and stunning space – a multisensory experience.”
The attention to detail in Joe’s bar extends beyond tasteful aesthetic cues. Designed by Italian-born chef, Francesco Balestrieri, the authentic Italian dishes are made in-house using seasonal and local produce, and are a perfect compliment to the wine selection. This is more than just your typical concept bar – it is an intimate space to be shared with friends, a true fusion of contemporary details and north Italian heritage.