Five Australian cities will be in the grip of Ashes fever this summer. Here’s what to do before, after and between matches in Brisbane (test matches 23-27 November).
TAKE A DETOUR
Detour is located just a block from the Brisbane Cricket Ground (aka the Gabba). The industrial exterior is tempered by warm timber and copper finishes inside. It’s a striking, welcoming space with food and service to match. Wagyu sirloin comes prettily plated with smoked eel, fresh yuzu and fennel, while vegetable dishes like mushroom tataki and carrots with smoked almond are extraordinary.
Taking pride of place under its namesake bridge, the Story Bridge Hotel is a landmark in its own right. Though it has changed since opening in 1886, the building’s original charm remains. The Corner Bar retains the casual atmosphere of Queensland pubs of old, while the beer garden takes advantage of the river breezes. Its four restaurants offer everything from burgers, pizzas and pasta to juicy steaks.
GET THE PARTY STARTED
It’s Oktoberfest every day of the year – well, six days a week – at the Brisbane German Club. The party atmosphere is fuelled by a staggering array of German beers and the venue’s resident lederhosen-clad one-man band. Its location opposite the Gabba makes it a favourite watering hole after matches.
TAP INTO LOCAL BREWS
The beer started flowing at this pub in 1863 but since the Clarence Corner Hotel was taken over by the Brewhouse a few years ago, it tastes better than ever – free from preservatives and brewed down the road in West End. For a quintessentially Queensland experience, soak up the ambience of this revamped historic hotel over a pint or two of Brisbane Pale Ale.
STROLL SOUTH BANK
After a long day’s play, stretch your legs with a walk through vibrant South Bank Parklands. There are 17 hectares to explore: lush subtropical gardens, barbeque and picnic areas, public art, a man-made beach and a wide, breezy boardwalk on the river.
CLIMB TO NEW HEIGHTS
Riverlife offers day and night climbs of the dramatic 20-metre rock face overlooking the river and city skyline at Kangaroo Point. But if that isn’t adventurous enough, take the leap and abseil down instead, pausing on the way to appreciate one of the best views of the city. It’s not all white-knuckle thrills, though; the sunset kayaking tours are a relaxing way to explore Brisbane from the vantage point of the river, ending with a refreshing drink at the company’s riverside headquarters.
The slow-cooked beef cheek and bean chilli with housemade cornbread, coriander salsa and poached egg is reason enough to pay The Priory Kitchen a visit. If it doesn’t see you through the match, nothing will. Sweet surroundings and even sweeter staff seal the deal. And the fact that it’s across the street from the Gabba makes it a no-brainer. A few minutes down the road is longstanding breakfast favourite Pearl Cafe (28 Logan Road, Woolloongabba; 07 3392 3300), which is tucked into a historic building and has all the appeal of an old-world European bistro. Sweet-tooths are especially spoiled here with the likes of pancakes with brûlée fig, honeycomb, mascarpone and pistachios.
SEE ALSO: The 10 Best Places to Drink in Brisbane