Containers are everywhere these days and even provide cool bar venues.
Set back from the road and surrounded by empty buildings, vacant lots and construction sites, Revival Bar on Victoria St is a beacon of colour and quirkiness.
It is a bit of an odd mix on this side of town; damaged and deserted buildings that speak of what has been lost sit alongside the scaffolding and pristine paint jobs of new life springing up among the rubble.
Revival reflects both sides of the story. The recycled materials throughout the bar evoke an element of nostalgia, but, as the name suggests, there is a true sense of optimism about the place.
Similar to Addington's Cargo Bar, Revival is made from a cluster of shipping containers, with an outdoor area festooned with coloured lights.
A little red Lebanese food caravan is parked out front and a tiny hairdressing bar, Felix Culpa, sits at the back door.
After stopping to admire the ingenious use of supermarket trolleys as seating at one of the outdoor tables, we make our way to the bar. First up, a Stoke IPA for me and a glass of Trinity Hill White Label merlot for my amigo, both $8.50. The outdoor area looks like a top spot to while away a sunny afternoon, but, due to the cold wind and drizzle, we head inside.
The place is bigger than I expected, and cleverly divided to create several cosy alcoves off the main space. Drinks in hand, we sit on chairs made from old suitcases and survey the scene. With its bold textured wallpaper and rough wood cladding, the interior is hunting lodge-meets-old-colonial-house, and the golden glow from candles and low-hanging bulbs makes the space feel warm and inviting.
Despite being a dull, dreary Tuesday, several groups look settled in and a steady stream of punters is coming and going. We soon return to the bar for round two. The wine list is modest, with only a handful of whites and even fewer choices for red wine drinkers. However, it does include a smattering of top-quality drops from producers such as Trinity Hill, ranging from $9 to $11 a glass.
Beer drinkers can choose from all the usual suspects, as well as some classy craft and imported varieties, such as Three Boys, Hoegaarden and Kirin.
There are also cocktails for $14, and a selection of shots, all around the $9 mark. Despite their interesting names ("Cookie Monster" or "Redheaded Minx", anyone?), my greedy eyes have already locked on to a Three Boys pilsner, $12.50 for a 500ml bottle. My wine-quaffing amigo cannot be swayed towards a cocktail either and opts for a glass of Knappstein shiraz, $9.
As the rain becomes heavier, we recline on our suitcase couches while a candle flickers in an Agee jar beside us. We contemplate the décor and decide a stag's head on the wall is all that is needed to really set it off.
Where: 92-96 Victoria St.
Prices: Standard, reasonable.
Ambience: Optimistic and light-hearted, with lots of quirk.
Service: Friendly and laidback.