Finding a pub that remains unlit by the glow of televised sport is rare, but Casey Market Town will soon be home to Casey Jones – Canberra’s newest gastropub – which promises to be big on food and entirely TV-free.
The brains behind the venture, Josh and Shell Leemhuis, who are also licensees of The George Harcourt Inn, said the ballooning growth of Canberra’s north was a boon for the hospitality industry.
Casey Market Town is still hunting for businesses to occupy its 30 speciality shops but it has announced the centre will feature supermarkets Supabarn and ALDI, Priceline Pharmacy, Vogue Hair & Beauty, Anytime Fitness, Zambrero, Sushi Land, Domino’s, Subway, Caffe Cherry Beans, Hot Wok, an Indian restaurant and takeaway, and Coffee Guru Gourmet Coffee Company.
The centre, expected to launch in mid-April will have 450 free parking spaces and the developer, Koundouris Group, has floated a plan to incorporate a community recreational centre and club in future.
Mr Leemhuis said great pubs had personality and finding a fitting name for his new baby took some thought.
“It’s a name that hits a couple of generations,” he said. “There is Casey Jones the old train rider, then Casey Jones from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and of course the connection with the suburb.”
The split-level venue will seat up to 150 patrons on high-top tables and in private dining spaces on the higher floor, and on the lower level in secluded booths, central dining area and a separate beer garden, which will open out onto a grassed green square.
With help from chefs Adrian Sandrey and John Callaghan, Casey Jones will serve breakfast seven days a week, opening at 6am on weekends and 7am on weekdays, and transform into a lunch and evening dining spot with live entertainment.
Mr Leemhuis said the new smaller site offered a chance to “step it up a notch and hit the note between fine dining and pub grub”, however plenty of what patrons loved about The George Harcourt Inn would carry over.
There will be the same midnight final call, an equally enviable offering of on-tap craft beers and the same friendly atmosphere, which meant “the George has never had the need for security guards”.
Launching an extensive cocktail menu with the help of interstate mixologists was exciting new territory, he said.
“We are trying to do something different to every other pub out there.
“Think a Hibiki and maple bacon-infused Old Fashion or pint of Brookvale Ginger Beer, whilst sharing a platter of cherry cola and chilli flame-grilled ribs and you will get a taste of what we will be delivering.”