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Food & Drink

Beyond Q cafe opening music to owners’ ears

Ian Bushnell
Owners Simon Maddox and Jenni Lawton

Owners Simon Maddox and Jenni Lawton in the new downstairs cafe space. Photos: Michelle Kroll, Region Media.

It may have taken a year longer than expected but the Beyond Q bookshop in Weston has opened its new cafe and live music venue, ahead of the planned wine bar and speakeasy that is waiting on its liquor licence.

Owners Simon Maddox and Jenni Lawton have been putting the finishing touches to the quarter-of-a-million-dollar project, including an outdoor courtyard, and will officially open the space with a ceremony next Monday on a date they feel is memorable – the 11th of the 11th.

Originally downstairs at the Curtin shops, Beyond Q was forced to move when its lease was not renewed as part of the controversial redevelopment there, and the cafe opening has been a big relief for the couple.

“It’s a move we didn’t want to make but now that we’ve done it it’s really good,” says Simon, who conceived of the concept as a divorcee’s second date, somewhere to go for a quiet drink with music.

While the liquor licence application is still in train for the former upstairs cafe and collectables area, it and the new space is BYO.

Great coffee at Beyond Q

Great coffee, as ever, is part of the winning Beyond Q formula.

The new cafe has a full commercial kitchen, and a new menu for breakfast and lunch is being developed.

It holds about 150 and the many musicians Beyond Q has cultivated love the new stage.

One of Simon’s favourite new playthings is the iPad-controlled PA system, which enables him to quickly turn down the volume if it is too uncomfortable for some.

“The music can be too loud for some, but if they want a quiet room they can go upstairs or in the far corner,” Simon says.

Located in the Weston Arcade, the cafe now activates the rear section and provides a much more accessible venue, proving that if you build it they will come.

“It’s quite surprising how many people find us given we are at the back of a shopping arcade,” Simon says.

The new stage

The new live music venue can accommodate an audience of 150.

He and Jenny envisage the whole Beyond Q concept as a firm part of the community, hosting book launches, gigs and events, including a dementia cafe where music from a sufferer’s youth stirs memories.

“We don’t want to lose that atmosphere. It would be very easy to make it a burn and churn café,” Simon says. “Now that this has opened I think we’ll attract a lot more community interest.”

Eventually, a mezzanine floor will be installed above the stage to house an office but also to provide a place to hang a screen for classic movie nights.

As well as books of all kinds, Beyond Q also boasts a 1000-strong collection of classic vinyl records.

You get the impression that Simon and Jenny are never short of ideas, so it will be interesting to see how Beyond Q evolves, especially when the liquor licence comes through to give Weston a new Friday and Saturday nightspot.

Plenty for bookworms

Don’t forget the books, totalling around 180,000.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on The RiotACT.

This entry was posted in Food & Drink and tagged Beyond Q, Canberra cafe, Jenni Lawton, live music, Simon Maddox, Weston.

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