I found heaven in Helensvale!
The NightQuarter made its grand opening this past weekend and I am happy as a clam about it!
For me (and I imagine everyone else) the night was a big success! I arrived around 8pm; the crowd was the perfect size. Busy enough to feel like I made the right decision on what to do with my Saturday night, but not so packed that it was overwhelming.
As I walked in I immediately started to smile. It smelled SO good! I wouldn’t have been surprised if my feet left the ground and I floated in like a cartoon character!
Not only was my nose happy- All of my senses were on fire- I wanted to see, touch, taste, smell and hear everything the NightQuarter had to offer!
Being the planner that I am, I decided the only way to attack such a magnificent event was to make a round then decide how to dive in. Logical enough…
The layout was smart. The perimeter was made of shipping containers turned micro shops, the rear was a stage and grass hangout, and the centre was filled with everything you could ever want to eat.
However, I did not get that information by sticking to my plan.
I started on Tapas Street; a corridor with multiple food stalls on each side and tables in the centre. As I walked through the bar-height tables eyeballing everyone’s food, I had to stop and listen. Sitting amongst the crowd was the band CC the Cat playing an almost Latin inspired tune that perfectly set the tone of the night- cool, full and eclectic.
So much for my game plan of making a round and deciding where to start, By that time I was immersed and there was no going back. (I did keep to my counter clockwise route though.) As I left Tapas Street I passed by a kids play zone. If I were 7 or so I would have loved it! Lots of giggling and running going on there!
My next stop was The Backyard. It felt like being out in a country stable except the smell of hay was replaced by a delicious BBQ smell. This area was really cool- exposed beams added character to the ceiling, Edison bulbs dangled in wire baskets illuminating the mismatched tables and chairs, and for a little added eye candy there was an old Ford truck with a beautiful cherry red paint job on display. This was an awesome spot to sit and have a beer, enjoy some brisket and just hang.
I moved on to the centre area. This was the biggest of the structures built. A large canopy with multi coloured pendants hanging down hosted approximately 15 permanent food stands. The food stands consisted of sausages, dumplings, cakes, pizza, paella, fried rice and so much more. There was a variety of seating too. High tables for standing and having a quick bite and shorter ones for taking your time, sitting and having a little bit of everything. At the end of the seating area was a wine truck catering to all your fancy grape needs!
At this point I’m thinking to myself “This place is great!”
As if I weren’t already smitten with the NightQuarter, the Main Stage plummeted me straight into love. I’m not sure if it was the taco stand in the back, the grass beneath my feet, the dancing people, or the killer band (Hanlon Brothers), but that is where I decided I was in love and I wanted everyone to know about it. (Naturally I texted all my friends and told them this was what was on for next weekend!)
I hung out there for a long time until I decided maybe I should keep going, it was only going to get better right?
Right! It did get better! I walked out of the Main Stage area and stumbled upon World Famous Funnel Cakes. Now I’m not sure why, nor do I care, but the funniest thing was going on- The staff was dancing while making cakes. It was such a great mix of silly and genius. I didn’t know that funnel cakes could get any better, but I guess adding a little jig to the recipe made these especially good! Plus watching them dance made waiting for your cake a whole hell of a lot more enjoyable! Keep on dancin' guys!
Back to food- There was another section under strung party lights housing pop-up tents which made me believe I was now in the rotating vendors section. It felt like a carnival and I loved it! Rows and rows of food, food, and more food. Pizza, burgers, juices, teas, cronuts, more BBQ, cotton candy, chocolate, ice cream, coffee, it goes on and on! I’m excited to see what’s going to be popping in and out of this section over the weekends!
Now that I’ve bounced all over this Market, I finally get to the shopping. Converting shipping containers into little shops was a brilliant idea! Not only were they visually pleasing, it just felt cool! My favourite part about the shops was the diversity. They had it all, plants, jewelry, kid's, women’s and men’s clothing, leather goods, home goods, art, temporary tattoos, massage, even a barber shop! I was blown away by how interesting and well picked all the stalls were. I would have never guessed a barbershop would be a part of the NightQuarter, but the way they did it was so tasteful and added a layer of hip!
Lucky for all of us, the NightQuarter is now open every weekend on Friday and Saturday nights from 4pm – 10pm, located at 1 Town Centre Drive, Helensvale and entry is only $3.
I’m very serious when I say you’ve gotta check it out!!!!
Two thumbs up, you’ll love it!
By: Marleigh Kelly