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The Copacabana Club, a secret Gabba garden speakeasy from the Mr Badger’s team

More than just a Barry Manilow song, the Copacabana is a special name in hospitality. The iconic New York City nightclub was known for hosting the likes of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, The Supremes and Sam Cooke, earning a reputation for showcasing hip-swingin’ tunes and delivering good times. The team behind Mr Badger’s is looking to evoke a dash of the historic club’s old-school charm with its new sibling sip spot The Copacabana Club – an open-air speakeasy that’s showcasing live jazz and blues every weekend, while also dispensing some exceptional cocktails and deli-style fare.

Hidden doors and secret entrances are a bit of a calling card for Dan Rodriguez venues. Most of the hospitality veteran’s Logan Road concepts have some mystery to them, from the disguised entry of his Cuban-inspired cocktail joint and jazz bar The Tailors to Mrs J Rabbits, a secluded sipping spot secreted away behind a false closet at the top of Electric Avenue. Even Mr Badger’s (the sandwich deli Dan co-owns with Adam Pykett), which draws inspiration from the tramway heyday of Woolloongabba, boasts a liberal dose of creative theatricality courtesy of its scratch-built depot-inspired interior.

The Copacabana Club, a new outdoor speakeasy nestled out the back of Mr Badger’s, furthers Dan’s proclivity for discovery – it too is accessed via a secret entry. “Brisbane loves a secret door, and now we’ve got three of them,” says Dan with a chuckle. To find The Copacabana Club, curious wanderers must seek out the door leading to Joseph S. Badger’s office, which is located on the other side of a locker room just beyond Mr Badger’s deli counter. Through this doorway guests emerge out into what Dan describes as a European beer garden meets New York City rooftop. Blending traces of glitz and grit, The Copacabana Club is designed to be a destination for late-night antics – a hot spot inspired by the famous club of the same name where Frank Sinatra, Carmen Miranda and The Temptations once performed, and iconic films like Goodfellas were shot.

Adorned with picnic tables and vintage couches, and illuminated by festoon lights, The Copacabana Club’s open-air space is inviting and approachable – a casual alternative to Dan’s other Logan Road venues. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings, The Copacabana Club is equipped to cater to casual dinners, pre-game snacks and drinks, and a little bit of hot-footed dancing. On Friday nights, The Copacabana Club hosts live-music performances from jazz, soul, funk and blues artists, while DJs spin tunes on Saturdays. On these nights, Mr Badger’s kitchen offers its menu of deli-style snacks and substantials, including a selection of deep-dish, cheesy crust pizzas.

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In addition to wine and beer, the bar is dispensing its own range of signature cocktails, including libations like the Francoise Hardy (rose vermouth, St Germain elderflower, cloudy apple, prosecco and soda), the Dancing Dickie Daniels (Pampero Anejo rum, amaro, grapefruit, spiced orange and passionfruit) and a trio of effervescent spritzes. On Sundays, The Copacabana Club makes room for food trucks like King of the WingsBBQ Mafia and The Bun Mobile. Every month, the venue will host monthly dance events from the likes of Corner Pocket Swing and My Little Havana Salsa, while musical bingo and trivia nights are also expected to be regular fixtures of The Copacabana Club’s event calendar.

The Copacabana Club is now open to the public – head to the Stumble Guide for more info.

This article was written by James Frostick from The Weekend Edition.

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