Workshop, at the corner of Elizabeth and A’Beckett streets, lies above a shop, up a heavily graffittied staircase. The motorcycle-workshop-turned bar has retained a good deal of its industrial character, but it also boasts a lovely semi-enclosed deck filled with houseplants and sunshine. We say ‘semi-enclosed’ because while it has plenty of windows, it’s lacking a roof, which lends the best part of Workshop a nicely ruinous feel.
It sits in an area of the CBD with a shortage of decent bars, which is reflected in the diverse mix of drinkers – there are university students, backpackers, office workers and often a smattering of DJs or graffiti artists.
There’s a steadily revolving selection of art for sale around the walls, and industrial clutter re-purposed as sculpture serves as a permanent reminder of the building’s past.
Workshop is huge on music: the sound system plays a constantly changing and eclectic array of anything from reggae to indie rock, and the venue frequently plays host to local and touring MCs and DJs.
Although it’s a calm spot for an afternoon beer by day, by night Workshop changes character: the music is loud, and red lighting deepens the vague sense of claustrophobia created by the many sharp angles and hidden nooks that make up the interior. The security cameras and NO JAGERBOMBS sign behind the bar imply that it’s no stranger to late-night trouble, but unlike a number of other CBD venues we could name, Workshop is at least making an effort to keep things safe and civilised.
The bar menu is more or less restricted to dip plates, Margherita pizzas and bags of Twisties and if you’re driving not drinking, coffee and T2 teas are available.