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July 20, 2023

Whatever happened to… The Beards?

To mark CityMag’s 10 year anniversary, the co-founder of the magazine and current Creative Director at kwpx Josh Fanning wonders (sic) through the streets of Adelaide trying to remember what happened.

The Beards Chris Edser
  • The Beards album cover (or half of it) illustrated by Chris Edser
  • -
  • Words: Josh Fanning

Whatever happened to The Beards… the band?

Whatever happened to the beards… every hot barista used to have?

Whatever happened to… Cibo? In general?

I don’t know, but things have changed.


This is a weekly column by CityMag founder Josh Fanning exploring how the city has changed – or hasn’t – since he started the city magazine 10 years ago.

Read the other articles in this series here.

There was a time when Cibo Rundle Street was quite possibly the most influential café in Australia. Tony D’Angelo did things with coffee beans the likes of which Australia had never seen. I remember talking to someone from Campos Coffee in Sydney who said what Tony did at Cibo, inspired the Campos operation and reverberated around the nation.

I don’t know about that, but boy, the baristas were handsome.

Call me Jen from The IT Crowd if you want, but the early days of the ‘hot barista’ movement really felt like they meant something. Like, it was 35°C at 8pm and Adelaide was drinking coffee all of a sudden. Like, cosmopolitan was a vibe and not a tacky cocktail all of a sudden.

I’m sure the baristas were blissfully unaware of their cosmopolitanism, but due to the combination of their kind eyes (brown), age (20-something), tattoos (rarer in 2010), spacers in their ears (plastic tubes), and fulsome black beards (like lithograph renderings of bushrangers I’d seen) the boys really changed the mood for men and women — gay, or straight — in the CBD of Adelaide.

Of course, the mood might’ve changed due to the fact we were hooked on a literal drug that seemingly slows down time and physically speeds up blood flow… but the Cibo baristas were a big mood (regardless of caffeine’s addictive properties).

These baristas were a mood before we used that word as an adjective by itself.

The shift those baristas symbolised was the maturation of Adelaide’s hospitality industry.

Sure, one was studying architecture and the other was a musician, but both put care and craft into their work largely unseen in hospitality. For the first time, being a barista and working in hospitality looked like a career rather than a part-time job a young person did for beer money while they achieved their very useful Bachelor of Arts from a Top 100 university.

Wondering about The Beards, I sent a text to Chris Edser. Chris illustrated many album covers (and this film clip) for The Beards and I thought he might have known whatever happened to… them.

Members of The Beards are “still close friends” Chris texted, one – Tom – is playing this weekend at The Olivia Hotel under the name, Sad Sad Tim.

The Beards, however, are no longer making music dedicated purely to the love of beards. Similarly, the bearded baristas have both moved on from coffee.

So, what’s the connection between the comedy folk rock band The Beards and the beautiful barista beards? Well, it’s their FU attitude of course.

The Beards were all about saying FU to the seriousness of the music industry and becoming popular despite (maybe because of) taking the piss.

The beards worn by the baristas were all about saying FU to Adelaide’s pink polo popped-collar private school aesthetic and backing that up with sex, caffeine and velvet milk folds.

And you could feel the city move a bit because of both.

Rock on. 🤘

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