Update: Since publishing this review Cabinet has closed their doors. Another Canberra business bites the dust.
There doesn’t seem to be a bar, restaurant or retail store in Canberra that doesn’t have a predecessor that comes with an abundance of memories.
Not long after my 18th birthday I was acquainted with the Manuka night scene. The cars that revved down the strip, the police cars that followed and the bakery that was open till all hours. One very fond memory was Minque – a small club and some crazy memories.
Since then it had been turned into an extension of Legends, the Spanish restaurant above it owned by Kay & Tony Romero. Now the owners have transformed it into a lounge bar, still allowing people to indulge in delicious Spanish food, but with an added variety of cocktails, beer, wine and spirits.
According to their website “When the people cried out for a Lounge Bar in Manuka, we listened… a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere for those who enjoy a drink or two in relaxed surrounds”, it certainly was that.
Upon arrival there were a few small groups of customers, I invited along a group of 6 friends to help me judge. Half liked it was quiet and not over crowded, the other half felt like they were missing out on a party somewhere else.
Manager Alex Tribelco shared that what made Cabinet unique was the lounge bar feel (something Manuka lacks) and the comfort factor of the chairs and lounges. Alex mentioned that currently Cabinet has a strong female clientele, so fella’s maybe this should be your starting point of the evening.
The decor is a nice change from its Minque days and the colour scheme reflects that of the house of reps and senate. There’s a small spot for a dance floor and plenty of comfy chairs so you’re not left standing all evening.
While enjoying our drinks we were given a plate of complimentary Pintxo’s which was a great reminder of the Legends restaurant above. Even better, if you go on a Friday after work it’s $1 Pintxo’s between 7pm and 9pm.
For all the single folk out there, they also host speed dating nights on Wednesday’s which is organized by www.fastmatch.com.au the sessions are separated into age groups and there is free flowing bubbly during the speed dates.
All in all the verdict is; if you want to avoid the crowdedness of Public and actually be able to find a seat and have a conversation, Cabinet is for you. I would definitely recommend it as a place to start the evening with friends where you can actually catch up for a decent cocktail before moving on to Public or somewhere in Civic for the heavy drinking part of the evening.
Check out their website or better yet, stop in and judge for yourself.