When news broke of the closure of beloved Maylands staple Little Shop of Plenty, you could practically hear the hearts breaking across the inner north… But when one door closes, another opens – and this is a pretty good door.
Brixton Yard opened over the weekend and has taken over the former mechanic’s garage with aplomb, balancing a new direction with a healthy respect for what came before them. We popped in for a chat with owner Steve Hennessy about what we can expect from his new venture. It’s all hands on deck when we arrive on a sunny, blustery afternoon: Steve’s parents are out the front, painting the fence and varnishing tables. Inside, his grandparents are just leaving – and are only too happy offer up the dirt on young Steve’s childhood antics. It might seem premature, but it quickly has us pretty ready to call it our new local – never mind that we don’t live in the area.
The feeling continues with Steve’s laissez-faire approach to the menu. “Lots of wine, burgers, boards – charcuterie boards, share boards, dips, small bites. Beers.” Knowing his success at his existing venue, Northbridge favourite Yes Please Perth, we’re feeling optimistic. “A little bit of everything… Most of it came around because I was trying to find somewhere that’s not a ginormous pub to watch footy, really.” If sports aren’t your speed, don’t worry – there’s only a couple of TVs, limited to just one of the rooms inside. Aware of the legacy of Little Shop of Plenty, there’s also options for vegans and other dietary restrictions.
The family-focused vibe carries through the entire venue – it’s the type of place you can just wander down the road to, day or night, kids in tow or for a casual dinner date. It’s entirely lacking pretension. He even shows us the play area that will be adjoining the front courtyard, designed with the experience of a 16-month old who’s keen to make a quick getaway. “I kind of want to put pram parking bays down, just for funsies – like draw some lines on the paving over there and park your prams,” he tells us, half joking.
While the interior has been given a lick of paint or two to freshen it up (including some murals and skateboards painted by local artist Matt Pisco), the courtyard is the star of the show. Sitting on the corner of Railway Parade and Eighth Ave, it’s encompassed by greenery (and a picket fence, freshly painted by Steve’s mum), dotted with trees established by Little Shop of Plenty and illuminated in the evenings by festoon lights. Planters have been upgraded by another local artist, Robert Jenkins (The Black Mountains).
“We’ve got to pay a lot of respect to what Little Shop did, ’cause they basically made it a venue from a mechanic shop, and it’s just such a nice place… I was actually driving past after we took it on and Little Shop were coming towards the end and they did a few nights. Driving past, phwoar. ‘That looks so good‘.”
There’s clearly a healthy level of respect for what was his local cafe – but also for other Perth businesses, including neighbours Commune Wine Store and Seasonal Brewing, both of which he’ll be working with on the drinks offerings. We can also expect to see Gage Roads and Beerfarm represented, plus Five Senses on the coffee front. Truth be told, he can’t help but rave about other businesses: “Lyric’s got music, you know, Swallow‘s that cool little like European style bar, that’s great down there. Henry On Eighth – Steve, over there is doing great stuff. So just try and like kind of working together. Everyone’s kind of doing a slightly different thing.”
“King Somm do really well around here, too. King Somm’s great.” And we’re confident locals will be saying the same about Brixton Yard, too.
Brixton Yard is open Wednesday to Friday 6:00AM to 10:00PM, Saturday and Sunday 7:00AM to 10:00PM, and is located at 217 Railway Parade, Maylands.