Lee Potter Cavanagh to open new Canberra bar


Things are starting to happen in Canberra. Whilst the nation’s politicians don’t seem to get much of anything done, the bartenders at least seem to be making some progress.

And opening in October is a new bar and restaurant called Akiba, headed up by well known Sydney bartender Lee Potter Cavanagh. The bar is owned and operated by brothers Mike and Pete Harrington, who count Tetsuya’s, Aria, Bel Mondo and Forty One on their resumes among others.

Potter Cavanagh is in an executive bartender role, and has recently returned from a stint in the UK as group bars manager for Hix restaurants, as well as opening Big Easy Covent Garden (his efforts in both roles saw them garner top ten nominations at this year’s Spirited Awards at Tales of the Cocktail).

Potter Cavanagh said that Akiba will do “away with many of the stuffy traditions that leave many dining and drinking experiences tiresome or OTT.”


“Akiba will deliver a service style that is casual, relaxed and fun while still delivering an excellent product that is world class,” he said.

And thanks to Akiba, Canberra will be one of the few cities in Australia to house a Rotovap for drinking pleasure, Potter Cavanagh said.

“Can’t reveal too much on the Rotovap,” he said, “we’ll be using it to obtain flavours otherwise impossible to get into a drink using other techniques. A great example from the UK would be the Gibson made with a distillate of Pickled Onion Monster Munch chips. We’ll be having some fun with it don’t you worry about that!”

They’ll also feature cold-pressed juices, a carbonation system and cocktails on tap.

“All of this will be used to ensure that most of the work for the list is done in prep and drinks can be bashed out in cracking time leaving plenty of room for banter,” he said.

The venue is located at 40 Bunda Street in Civic, and is due to open in October this year, said Potter Cavanagh. In the meantime he’s looking for staff.

“[We’re] on the lookout for a crack team of banterologists who like good eats and drinks,” he said. “If you think you’re the duck’s nuts or have the monkey magic get in touch via any means necessary.”

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.