Fancy a game of darts in a modern and sleek location? Then new venue Oche in Fortitude Valley is for you. The last time I played darts was back in London in the 80’s. It was fun then and it’s still fun today, but at Oche there are new state- of – the – art dartboards, food from some of Queensland’s best known chefs and a cocktail list and bottoms up beer experience which will have your eyes popping. Oche has been brought to Queensland by Welsh born Daffyd Evans. It was originally a big hit in Oslo and is the first bar of its kind in the Australia. SheSociety were happy to take a sneak peek into this new venture which is sure to have Queenslanders putting down their phones and catching up for a game and a few giggles with friends and family this Summer. Many thanks to Kath Rose and Daffyd Evans for this unique invitation.
First things first , the name is pronounced ‘ockey‘ rhyming with hockey. The oche is the line which players must stand behind in the game of darts. The Oche sign is the first thing you notice when you pull up to the Old Mill Building at 111 Constance Street, Fortitude Valley. The sign is bedded in a forest of greenery which perfectly melds with the heritage brickwork in this 115 year old building. As you enter the cool of the interior you are invited upstairs with the words ‘ Step Into The Oche‘.
Stepping inside you are amazed by the high tech dartboards, sleek bar and open space which extends through to an open kitchen, more darts spaces ( there are 14 in all) and a sprawling flower filled terrace space with green walls, hanging plants and more games, in the form of shuffleboard ( SHUFL boards). One of the highlights for me was a cool steel Jacaranda tree whose foliage will change with the seasons and events. Think Cherry Blossoms for Chinese New Year and green, orange and white blooms for Saint Patrick’s Day. There is dark iron, lots of timber and the original brickwork which has been lovingly restored plus some feminine touches like orchids and pink so we know this venue is not just for the lads.
The site was once an Old Mill, a craft beer bar called The Mill and for many years home to my friend John’s innovative games company Krome Studios. So it’s fitting that it’s latest incarnation fuses both the old and the new.
We had a lot of fun testing out the darts boards. You can play with up to 12 people in each darts booth. Boards are illuminated and surrounded by high tables, plush banquettes and screens. Using software developed in-house, the Oche darts experience is unlike the traditional set up. Three cameras track the flight path and landing point and collate all results for you.
We started at the beginners level, but I soon found my darts arm and was excited to score a bullseye. The electronic boards keep things interesting, letting you know how you’re going and thankfully keeping score ( No cheating or arguing about scores here). The darts themselves are real and they are quite heavy. It doesn’t take long to find your groove and the laughter and fun begins. I will be a pro having practised before I take my boys along. This is good old fashioned fun in a high tech setting. There are 14 different games to choose from and each game takes roughly 10 minutes with bookings running for a total of 85 minutes.
I was very surprised to see not one, but two, of my favourite Brisbane super chefs behind the pass. Ben Williamson ( Gerard’s) has designed a menu to cater for darts players. All food can be eaten with one hand making this is a no cutlery venue. The menu was being brought to life by Ben, Head Chef Tom Swapp ( Pony ) and their capable team.
On the day I was there we sampled the delicious chips and dips (with a twist) and amazing pizza. You can try salt- blocked cobia, tacos stuffed with a range of ingredients, chilli – peanut chicken buns, fried whole squid with n’duja aioli, charred lamb cutlets with fenugreek and an eight strong selection of pizzas (My pick would be the Middle Eastern with confit onion, tomato, basturma, labne, pinenut and mint) and large share boards that will hit the spot with many hungry darts players. Menus more than cater for vegans and vegetarians.
Cocktails paying homage to Brisbane sit comfortably next to a considerable premium gin and wine list. Ask Louis to mix your favourite. The signature raspberry sour is a crowd favourite in Oslo. Be amazed by the phenomenon that is the ‘ Bottoms Up ‘ beer system in the Seasonal Bar at the front. This bar will serve beverages from a different local brewer, winemaker or distiller every month, starting this month with Green Beacon Brewing Co.
Oche opened on December 7 and will be a great new addition to Brisbane’s interactive bar scene. So put down your phone, gather the gang and get ready to test your aim and arm at Oche. You know you want to! Oche is open from 12 pm to 12 am every day of the week. It’s cool in so many ways and a great way to beat the Brisbane heat.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).