Former FIFO worker's explosive bar opens on Ocean St

SNEAKY BARON: THIS new bar is like a cave, which is fitting because the guy who started it, Damon Strachan, was an explosives technician in WA mines.
SNEAKY BARON: THIS new bar is like a cave, which is fitting because the guy who started it, Damon Strachan, was an explosives technician in WA mines. Patrick Woods

TUCKED into the "sneaky corner" shopfront that used to be well-known restaurant Red Sea 2, Ocean Street's newest bar opened on Thursday.

Sneaky Baron is the brainchild of Damon Strachan, a former fly-in, fly-out explosives technician and partner Lucy Davis, who runs popular boutique hotel Oceans Mooloolaba.

It's no surprise the man who designed this bar worked at mines in the Kimberley for years - its industrial fit-out and 1960s cartoon-inspired artwork create a cave-like feel.

Glass doors on two sides let fringe dwellers soak in the sun, with bar stools overlooking Ocean St, while the floor space inside has room for mingling, and tables and comfy booths provide a spot to rest your weary legs.

But it's the cocktails that will probably make this bar a favourite for Ocean St regulars.

A cheeky cocktail menu boasts the Harambe. Mr Strachan agreed with a wry smile that this was Sneaky Baron's nod to the bizarre social media phenomenon emerging since Harambe the silverback gorilla was killed when a toddler got into his enclosure at Cincinatti Zoo in May.

Order a Harambe and you'll get a monkey bobbing about on your glass. The cocktail has Monkey Shoulder blended scotch with banana liqueur, butterscotch schnapps, pineapple juice, banana and egg white.

Other treats at the Sneaky Baron are divided into Baron's and Baroness' Collections, with Summer in Bombay and Raspberry Shortcake just a couple of the ladies' popular picks.


The kitchen is open from 7am to 10pm, with tapas from 2pm.

It had taken three months to transform the old restaurant space - work that his mate and "chippie" Scotty Jarvis had done the majority of, Mr Strachan said with a laugh.

He said Ms Davis and he had originally looked at buying an existing bar, but thought: "Oh how hard can it be to build something from scratch?"

"We worked on it and worked on it, and here we are," he said.

Timber and industrial elements including a railway track along the base of the bar, and silky oak slabs from Noosa made the bar unique, Mr Strachan said.

Each slab was sanded and sprayed three times before they were ready to serve as benches.

"We've got a pretty fantastic cocktail menu: 30-odd cocktails, seven espresso martinis," he said.

"Black Forest Martini, Tigers Hate Martini."

Mr Strachan agreed it had been a big career change - and one he was glad of.

"I was getting too old, too tired," he said, laughing.

A New Zealand citizen originally, Mr Strahan lived on the Sunshine Coast "on and off" for 15 years, and used to work for Solbar when it was in Coolum.

He convinced two cocktail barmen from Rick's Garage and Diner, who had worked at Lot 104 in Mooloolaba, to join him.

The opening night on Thursday went smoothly, with locals enjoying the new venue, but with one "bump", he said.

A drunk man had forced his way in after closing and smashed a window.

"Not the best start ... the next morning everyone came down and there was smashed windows," he said.

Find Sneaky Baron at 2 Ocean St, Maroochydore, and on Facebook here.

Topics:  cafe cocktails ocean st

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