Pigeon Island

· Thursday February 16, 2012

About a thousand years ago, a lovely young couple started a multi-purpose Fringe venue on the roof of a building on Synagogue Place - milk crates, bamboo and crushed velvet, all lashed together with gaffer tape and fairy lights. Most people walked past the makeshift sign on the corner that said 'Tuxedo Cat' on their way to the Garden, but almost anyone curious enough to climb the stairs (at that time mostly comedy nerds, cabaret buffs and street art hipsters) will wax lyrical about Cass and Bryan's singular ability to sexify even the most challenging of venues.

Synagogue Place has since been demolished, and Cass and Bryan are about as old and broken as you can get after a thousand straight years doing battle with liquor licensing and local planning authorities. But their latest incarnation - a huge complex on North Terrace - is by far their most ambitious. The new site incorporates the Scarface-esque Club 199, as well as the cavernous next door bunker that was the former site of the flagship exhibition for The New New, and within these walls is a stupefyingly impressive venue-within-a-venue called Pigeon Island.


From what I can gather, Cass and Bryan gave some other dude called Brian carte blanche to build a thing inside the old New New place. Turns out Brian was some bizarre genius - former Google employee, author, master carpenter and intermittent Alaskan wilderness camper (not even joking). Together with some other dude called Colin they have built a cafe slash quasi-Indian eatery surrounded by a menagerie of strange wooden stuff. Like weird booths made out of pallets, sexy varnished bar tables and, oh, I don't know, just a lazy GIANT GEODESIC DOME MADE OUT OF RECLAIMED HARDWOOD.

It's where you're getting all your coffee, cake, chai and pretty much anything else that starts with 'c' during the Festival season, and now, well into the year!