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West End social hub Come to Daddy a hot spot for cocktails, karaoke and community vibes

Above the entrance to West End’s newest bar is a vibrant neon sign that beams out into the night. The word DADDY shimmers outward onto Montague Road in a mix of luminous purple and blue hues, calling to everyone that passes by. This is Come to Daddy – a new inclusive hub that is already garnering buzz for its killer cocktails, raucous drag shows and dynamic roster of DJs. Take a peek inside …
Jun 06, 2024, updated Jun 06, 2024

When Billerwell Daye started searching for a spot to open his own bar, he wasn’t looking to do something different – he was looking to do more. For nine years, Billerwell could be found on the tools at John Mills Himself, dispensing a tight range of Australian spirits and craft beers.

The inner-city hideaway’s diminutive digs prevented him from adding events to the bar’s offering, so after departing JMH he made finding a place that had a little bit more elbow room a priority.

“Because my other bar was so tiny, I couldn’t do stuff,” Billerwell confesses. “I just always wanted to have a space where we could have the capacity to have a DJ or have some drag shows.”

At Come to Daddy, the inclusive social club Billerwell opened to the public in May, there’s something happening nearly every night of the week. The venue’s itinerary is chockas with trivia nights, karaoke, DJs, live music and drag shows. Though a queer-friendly space, Billerwell is opening the doors to the West End community at large with the aim of making it the new local.

“I knew that there was a lack of queer spaces here in Brisbane because we haven’t had anything new for so long,” says Billerwell. “But I didn’t overanalyse what was here in Brisbane – it was just what I wanted to do. Ultimately [Come to Daddy] is just an inclusive space, so anyone’s welcome – as long as they’re not a dickhead. Treat everyone with respect and you’ll be treated with respect.”

The space, previously the home of Ballistic Beer’s West End taproom, has been fitted out with everything Billerwell needed to make Come to Daddy the flexible destination he envisioned. A small stage for live music (and karaoke performances) sits at one end – backed by an impressive stained-glass-inspired leadlight light box – while the bar and kitchen at the other end have been re-fitted and tuned up. Seating includes low-set benches and stools outside, plus cushy couches, timber tables and bar stools inside.

Billerwell describe’s the venue’s aesthetic as dark academia, with blue tones, leather furnishings and exposed brick creating a striking palette. There’s a slight 70s touch in the mix as well, with a pair of vibrant neon signs wrought by Billerwell’s sister’s company, Sunshine Coast-based Gangs of Neon, casting iridescent tones across the inside and out onto the street.

Regulars at JMH’s bar will be stoked to know that Billerwell has applied his Australian-centric focus to the drinks offering at Come to Daddy, stocking the back bar with plenty of domestic spirits from craft distilleries.

“When I started at JMH, you rarely saw Aussie booze on the shelf, but then about six or seven years ago, you’d go to a bar and you’d be able to clock three or four bottles,” says Billerwell. “Now there are a lot of stars out there that are amazing – there’s just lots of great boutique distilleries that are making premium quality product here in Australia.”

Billerwell and his team are filtering these drops into a tight selection of cocktails featuring riffs on classics (including a negroni made with a Davidson plum aperitif) and a number of signatures. Stand-out sips are the Strawberry Fields Forever (pavlova gin, sloe gin, butterscotch liqueur, lemon juice, passionfruit and aquafaba) and the Myrtle Purse (vodka, lemon curd and rosemary syrup).

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Tap beers include a Straddie Brewing Co. dark lager, Brouhaha’s rhubarb strawberry sour, an IPA from Black Hops Brewing, Revel Brewing Co.’s Pacific Haze, a pastry stout from Range Brewing and Heads of Noosa’s lager, while a sturdy wine list sees Billerwell looking a bit further abroad.

“I have expanded the wines, because previously I had a really tight 250-kilometre radius, but now we’ve actually gone as far as New Zealand,” says Billerwell. “Right now we’ve got five whites, five reds, one rose and we’ve got three sparkling wines.”

On the food front, Come to Daddy’s kitchen is turning out a range of appetite-whetting bites like salt-and-pepper calamari, pan-fried pork-and-shiitake gyoza, and pork-and-beef meatballs in house sauce. Those with a bigger appetite to satisfy can opt for the Croque Daddy toastie (ham, bechamel, Dijon mustard and cheese) or a marinated rump steak and veg quesadilla. Billerwell tells us that the menu could soon expand to include desserts, while weekend brunches are also on the cards in the future.

Though it’s only been operating for a few weeks, Come to Daddy has quickly found a home amongst the local community, which is something that Billerwell isn’t taking for granted.

“We’re getting lots of positive feedback from people just saying thank you for a opening up in West End and having another queer space in Brisbane.” Billerwell tells us. “It’s really lovely seeing so many people come in here and enjoy themselves. That’s the big thing that’s really blown me away – the response has been magical, and we just want to retain that and keep providing a great space for people.”

Come to Daddy is now open to the public – operating hours and other important details can be found in the Stumble Guide.

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