Australia’s first Oche is now open in Fortitude Valley, turning the ol’ pub game of darts into a modern social experience with electronic scoring and dartboards with built-in games, a superstar chef, a dedication to local produce and pours, plus an outdoor terrace and two bars. The spacious venue is designed to welcome up to 360 customers and its opening marks the official Australian debut for the business, after having its spectacular launch in Oslo, Norway in 2018, and will be the launch pad for openings in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.
Housed in 700sqm across two floors of the 115-year-old Old Flour Mill Building at 111 Constance Street, Oche Fortitude Valley is designed to be environmentally considerate with no cutlery, minimal coverings of the beautiful heritage brickwork, local produce and brews given precedence, waste carefully disposed of, and sustainability across operations as a priority. The name is pronounced ‘ockey’ and is the name of the line that players must stand behind to throw their darts.
We were fortunate to attend the opening of the venue, play a game of darts and sample some of the menu items. – it was a really fun night out, and I’d definitely be keen to go back with a group of friends and play again! The space is divided into a series of booths, each with a dartboard that keeps score electronically, a tablet to control the games or call a server, padded benches and stools to wait your turn, and a long bench to rest your drinks, food, or forehead on when you miss the board (as I often did – enthusiasm over accuracy!) 85 minutes was enough for a mid-sized group of 6 people to get through almost three games and there’s plenty of time to eat, drink, and chat while the other players take their turns. The service was super friendly at every turn and the whole place had a great buzz and atmosphere as people tried their hand at darts, many for the first time, letting their hair down and letting their competitive sides show.
You’re also encouraged to play with your food. The Oche share menu is crafted from local produce by chef consultant and former Head Chef of Gerard’s Bistro, Ben Williamson, and designed to be eaten with one hand and without traditional cutlery so you don’t have to put it down to take your turn stepping up to the oche. Respected flavour maker Chef Tom Swapp is also part of the team, with a track record including West End’s Billycart, E’cco Bistro at Newstead, Pony Dining on Eagle Street, the award-winning Jellyfish, and leading a team of 14+ chefs for four years at the hatted Spirit House on the Sunshine Coast. Between the two of them, there is no shortage of interesting dishes and flavour combinations, steering deliberately clear of more traditional deep-fried snack foods. Check out the full menu here.
Cocktails paying tribute to Brisbane are officially paired with the menu, sitting alongside a considerable beer, wine, and gin list, and are served on the outdoor terrace or the two dedicated bars. Local brews and brewers are championed at Oche Fortitude Valley with the Seasonal Bar showcasing a different local brew master, wine maker or distiller every month. In December, the Seasonal Bar will be the home of Green Beacon, with following month takeovers released soon.
The opening of Oche Fortitude Valley reflects the ongoing rise of social experience bars – where people now go to be entertained and engaged while enjoying a night out. Oche Fortitude Valley Managing Director Dafydd Evans said, “Oche signals the renaissance of the analogue social experience, where the phone is no longer the centre of the universe and instead real-life experiences and relationships are given the priority and attention they have long been denied. We want Oche Brisbane customers to talk, play, taste, sip, laugh and connect, to engage in an age-old game that’s been re-skinned and modernised, supported by a cool checklist of experiences – cocktails, local brews, food to suit, chill tunes, a venue that could tell a thousand tales, and the opportunity to get a little competitive at the same time!”
Oche is an 18+ venue, of course, but apart from that anyone can play – singles, couples, and groups.
For more information and bookings, visit the Oche Fortitude Valley website.