Only days before Two Ships opened, word spread that the whole block had been slated for development into apartments. By the end of 2012, that building - as well as the surrounding buildings which contain Derringers Music and long-standing vintage boutique Irving Baby - will be gone. Initially the bar’s proprietors, Luke Davey and Zac Colligan, refuted these suggestions, but finally they themselves were informed that the story was more than a rumour.
So now the only thing to do is drink up. The Jade Monkey has been a live music institution in Adelaide for ten years and so the opening of Two Ships in the space below it warranted considerable fanfare. The Jade’s basement has been used for all sorts of things - a storage space, a recording studio, a short-lived vintage furniture shop - and now, finally, it’s a small bar. Colligan has been running the Jade for years, but it’s new recruit Davey who deserves the credit for Two Ships.
The refit is awe-inspiring - an old arcade game sits in the corner and a cabinet in a new fake wall showcases an odd collection of sculpted curios. There is a projector throwing video games onto the far wall and a DJ booth in the corner.
Davey gets local bands to share DJ duties Thursday to Sunday nights, giving barflies a taste of superb, challenging, interesting music to accompany their drinks. The cocktail menu is notable for having nothing over $12, and its selections, including a deliciously sour Margherita ($12) and a brilliant musk vodka lemon cocktail ($8), which are particular standouts.
The bar is well stocked with the usual suspects, too. The beer is Coopers and the wine is local, all set at the consistently affordable Jade Monkey prices. The furnishings - old wooden tables with 70s space-age plastic stools - are classic, and the brand spanking new toilets seem like the kind of facilities one would find on luxury aircraft. It’s lovely, interesting, homely, affordable and unpretentious, exactly how an Adelaide bar should be. For as long as it lasts, get drinking.