“Is it true that you bought all of your staff Adidas?” Go inside Brisbane bar Hello Gorgeous
Justinn De Beer is a longtime veteran of Brisbane’s hospitality scene; having begun his career in South Africa, he has worked all over the world. But for the better part of a decade or more now he has called the village — as he calls Brisbane — home.
Now, having spent his career working in the service of owners, notably at Fortitude Valley’s Laruche and at the city’s Brooklyn Standard, De Beer is striking out on his own.
Hello Gorgeous is his first venue as an owner, and he’s kicked things off with a bar that looks very much his own: there’s a light, partying-encouraged atmosphere and the decor — courtesy of De Beer’s stylist partner Bea Berry — suggesting a Palm Springs kind of vibe.
“We found the spot and I absolutely fell in love with the high ceilings,” says De Beer.
It also represents De Beer’s first project together with Berry.
“We started working on the concept, then we found the wallpaper, and the rest of the colour palette kind of came around that,” De Beer says, and it was Berry who took the lead in the design of the interiors.“Bea had full carte blanche — in the first week we had opened, we received so many compliments on the fitout,” he says.
When we visit, De Beer has opened the ground floor level of what will eventually be a three-level venue; a function space and private dining room is on the second floor overlooking the bar below, whilst the final stage of the venue will see a set of stairs ascending to a rooftop bar.
And it’s these features that De Beer hopes will draw the punters in, despite being “a little off the beaten track” in Newstead, right next to Fortitude Valley.
Food is front and centre here as well, with an outdoor deck purpose-built for late afternoon drinks and eats, though De Beer is adamant that the focus is on fun times.
“I wanted outside to be casual drinking and eating — the last thing I want to be is a restaurant,” he says. “We’re smack bang in the middle of it — we’ve got the whole of the James Street precinct [nearby], I’ve got Gerard’s Bar, I’ve got a lot of big gun restaurants nearby and I don’t want to compete with them.”
So that means that the food De Beer is doing is casual — there’s plenty to share, and seafood options galore. It’s the kind of thing that’s going to go well with champagne (there’s a healthy selection to be had here) or a cocktail.
And you’ll notice, if you have an eye for detail, that there is a uniform of sorts for the staff at Hello Gorgeous: a fitted navy shirt, and select footwear.
“All my staff are wearing Adidas [shoes],” says De Beer. “Everyone who knows me well enough knows that they’ll always see me wearing Adidas. In this industry, I want people to be individuals and I don’t want them to be a number or wearing a chequered shirt and a bow-tie — for me the key point of this whole uniform is Adidas. I bought everyone a brand new pair of Adidas and if they stay for six months it’s theirs.”
For De Beer, it’s all about the details.
“I have had friends and people go, ‘Are all your staff wearing Adidas?’” he says. “It’s the little things, you know?”
You’ll find Hello Gorgeous at 32A Chester St, Newstead and open until late from 4pm on Monday to Thursday, and from 12pm Friday through Sunday.