greenhouse by joost

On Saturday, we went to Greenhouse by Joost. It’s a pop-up bar right on Sydney Harbour, at Campbells Cove in The Rocks.

What the heck is a pop-up bar? That’s what I asked my wife when she suggested we go. Apparently it’s a new trend of temporary drinking establishments, the latest hottest thing in our fly-by-night global economy. Constructed with temporary (or reusable) materials, shaped any which way their creators see fit, they spring out of nowhere in hip and convenient locations and stick around for a couple of months or even just a couple of weeks. The owners are thus freed of many of the hassles and overhead of running a business. The point is to make a splash, make some cash, and then fold up and go on to the next thing.

The concept might be familiar to you – temporary venues are now a common sight at arts festivals and in urban parks during the summer. Many of them are sponsored by large corporations. If you’re familiar with the the Beck’s Festival Bar here in Sydney, or the Spiegel Tent in any number of major cities, you get the idea. They can be quite well-appointed, and feel more permanent than they are. My colleagues from the Abu Dhabi Film Festival will probably never forget the impossibly lavish Festival Tent at Emirates Palace.

Greenhouse by Joost is both pop-up business and green art project. It was designed by Joost Bakker, a Dutch-Australian artist, painter, florist and entrepreneur. He built his first Greenhouse in Melbourne in 2006, and since then has done a few of them around Oz. There’s a permanent one in Perth. The one here in Sydney (which is a restaurant as well as a bar) will be up until the end of this month.

The Greenhouse is built entirely of recycled and recyclable materials, it’s carbon neutral, and it’s waste free. But you probably could have guessed all that. The concept of sustainability is becoming a common one. Which is a good thing.

The place feels nice – it’s colorful and inviting; the exterior walls are a vertical strawberry garden. Inside, it’s clean and well-lit. The windows facing the Harbour are huge. As is often the case when green materials are put to good use in building, it’s attractive, with lots of interesting shapes and rough textures in the design. There’s bold visual art and text everywhere you look.

The roof is a great space. The deck is made of unfinished wood. There’s more color, more art, another bar. Most strikingly, there’s a long, long container garden planted with basil and parsley that runs around the whole thing. (The herbs are used in the kitchen. I read that other vegetables are grown there too, but I didn’t see them.) And you simply can’t beat the temporary world-class view. It was unseasonably chilly and wet on Saturday, and we had the roof largely to ourselves. I’m sure it would be hard to find a seat up there in nice weather. We chatted, enjoyed the drizzle, and watched a massive cruise ship depart Circular Quay.

I didn’t eat the food, so I can’t comment on that. I did drink a good amount of ale, and that’s my one complaint: the beers were $10 each. I guess it’s all to support the cause.

Here’s the review in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Notes on the sustainable restrooms: The toilet and sink are designed to work together – to save water I think. When you wash your hands after using the toilet, it flushes. But this backfired when I stepped into the restroom at one point just to wash my hands – I ended up flushing the toilet too, and thus wasting water. Also, the men’s toilet I used did not have a light. I guess this saves a bit of electricity, but using a toilet in the dark is not a practice I’d want to sustain for very long.

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1 comment so far

  1. Hallee the Homemaker on

    I guess this saves a bit of electricity, but using a toilet in the dark is not a practice I’d want to sustain for very long.

    Especially after much ale consumption.


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