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IAN CALLAHAN

Bar9 Parkside is open weekdays from 7:30am-4pm and weekends from 8:30am-2pm


Bar9 Central is open Monday to Thursday from 8am-4pm, Fridays from 8am-8pm, Saturdays from 9:30am-4pm and Sundays from 10:30am-4pm

 

For more, check out Bar9 under the Café Set.

your users know a little more about you.

How about we start with a little bit about yourself…

I am a Barista turned café owner. I was the 2008 State Barista Champion for Adelaide, then went on to the nationals before moving into judging and helping organise and run the Australian Coffee Awards. I have been involved in coffee for around 12 years in total. I started Bar9 five and a half years ago, and since then I have opened up a few business, owning 3 out-right and another 2 which I part own.

What businesses do you own?

I own Bar9 Parkside, Bar9 Central, which is in the David Jones building, and I am currently working on Bar9 Outreach right now, which will also be in the city. I helped start up Larry & Ladd and also part own Lindes Lane, a craft beer and wine bar.


What would you say Bar 9 is all about?

 

Coffee. Coffee is the heart of everything we do. We have a real specialist approach to coffee. Since we have grown bigger, that focus has then moved into breakfast and brunch as well and focusing on tasting yummy and local things.


When did it come to you that you wanted to start up your own café? What inspired you to start?

 

I have always wanted to do business, ever since I was around sixteen. That was my first passion. I started my first business when I was sixteen. It was a stationary business, ran with a bunch of other guys. Not because we cared about it, but because we wanted to learn the skill set, we did that for around six months. There were five of us and I was the director of sales and marketing. From there, I was always looking to get involved with business; I almost bought a fruit shop at one point! I didn’t, thank god! I did a little bit of travel, went away overseas for a bit then came back and kind of just fell into coffee. That’s when I started competing and getting into the competition coffee scene and developed a skill set. Finally, when I was at a point ready to open a business, it made sense to open a business that I knew a bit about… hence café and coffee.

Did you know anyone else who also was apart of the coffee competition scene that inspired you to start your own business?

 

Not really. I guess I’m the sort of person that if I am going to do anything, I want to do it to the best of my ability, to allow me to get better and grow through that. With the competition and barista side, it just made sense.

 

Were you expecting Bar9 to be so popular?

 

No. When we opened, it was a coffee machine on a desk and three tables and that was it. It was tiny! It was literally a tin shed, it wasn’t a fit-out and it wasn’t glamorous. It was directly across the road from Bar9 Parkside. To see it go on to move across the road and expand again into multiple stores… it was never on the cards. We always wanted to do more, and I’m an ambitious kind of person and I always wanted to watch it grow, but didn’t really know what that meant.


We love the fact that Bar9 is a café that hosts barista courses! Can you tell us a little bit about that?

 

We have a range of different courses, everything from the home enthusiast right up through to professional baristas who want to hone in on quite technical skills that a lot of other coffee courses can’t really offer. Most of our courses go for a couple of hours, and we organise it on a one-to-one basis. We are pretty flexible with our times, usually in the afternoons. Brendan and myself teach the courses.

 

\Moving on to your lovely menu. People are really starting to focus on local produce, is this something Bar9 focuses on also?

 

Definitely. For as long as we have had a kitchen, that has always been our big push. I think Adelaide genuinely has some of the best produce in the country and I think the past couple of years it has really started to understand that and play to that strength. Adelaide produce is becoming prominent in cafes, restaurants and eateries.


What do you believe makes Bar9 unique?

 

We are just genuine, grass roots coffee nerds. Everything has always come from that base. Our biggest thing in my opinion is that we are approachable. There is no arrogance, although we take what we do quite seriously, we don’t expect everyone else to. We want to be really approachable on that front, and right through the décor to the food, the menus and the staff. We try to make sure the quality is on point, that we are approachable and that there is a sense of honesty to everything we do.

 

As you are a coffee enthusiast do you have a lot of different coffee beans, or do you focus on a certain kind?
 

At any one time we always have our house blend, Black Label and Baristas Blend. Black label is what we think people would like. It is based around the liquid snickers bar and its flavour profile of caramel, nuts and milk chocolate. It is just a happy, yum coffee! Baristas Blend is the style we are into drinking, so we kind of make no apologies if no one else likes it! It’s not really for everyone! It is there to freak people out and to be different! Then we have our filter program, which could be anything from one through to eight different coffees up for grabs. We also have multiple brews such as, cold brew and pour over. There’s definitely a huge journey through coffee beyond a skinny latte!

 

 

Have you travelled around discovering different kinds of coffees?

 

Yeah! I spent six months in Brazil and I’ve been to Spain, Thailand, Indonesia, America and Japan. I think the more you travel, the more you see different interpretations of what quality is and you always bring those experiences in with you.


What is your ‘go to’ coffee?

 

If I just feel like comfort and don’t want to geek out and go into the depths, I’ll get a flat white. Simple and rounded, it’s like a big warm hug! If I want something exciting to put my head into and experience, I’ll have an espresso!


Being a young owner yourself, do you have any advice for other young people looking to start their own business?

 

Just do it. The earlier you get into the market, the quicker you learn from the market. Done is better than perfect, don’t wait for everything to be right before you jump in. If you sit there trying to craft an idea, someone else will do it before you and it won’t be as good as what you were thinking! My biggest advice is just open! Whatever it is you’re doing, just do it. You’ll figure it out along the way, and if you fail, you’re young enough to bounce back, and you’ll work it out! Make sure you’re always learning, try and absorb as much knowledge as you can and find people that have done what you want to do, or something similar. Talk to them to bounce ideas off and take on their advice. Also, read like crazy. I hate reading, but I love learning. Just try and absorb as much information as you can, but don’t wait. It’s kind of like a degree, you wait till the end to find a job and that’s great for academics, but that’s not business. In business, you just go and make sure you learn really quickly along the way!

 

 

 

Bar9, owned by thirty-two year old entrepreneur, Ian Callahan has grown his business from a little tin shed with only one coffee machine, to become one of Adelaide’s most popular coffee spots. Ian Callahan is the proud owner of Bar9 Parkside, Bar9 Central… and soon to be, Bar9 Outreach. With a brain for business, Ian keeps the people of Adelaide flowing through the doors with his amazing knowledge and love for coffee. Customers also have the opportunity to take part in a barista course, indulging in the coffee world. Bar9 also offers some of Adelaide’s finest produce amongst their diverse and tasty breakfast/brunch menu. Not to mention, the ever so creative and welcoming staff to make your Bar9 experience even better.

 

The Adelaide Set enjoyed a coffee with busy owner, Ian Callahan and talked about what Bar9 is all about.

Interview Conducted by;

Jesse Little