The best places to drink in Brisbane are no longer the giant booze barns that once helped define the city. Instead, a confluence of recent state and council legislation has led to an exciting array of new venues. We round up 10 of our favourites.
The current rooftop darling among Brisbane’s bright young things, Eleven’s people-watching is good but the views outside are something else. Looking uphill towards the CBD, at night the towering office blocks seem more like a glittering citadel. It’s simply stunning. An extensive but restrained cocktail list accounts for the rest of the magic.
Level 11, 757 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
Green Beacon Brewing Company
Green Beacon’s beers are good – try a Windjammer IPA or Wayfarer American Ale – but this boutique brewery’s Newstead location is even better, a river breeze floating up Helen Street through the venue’s giant roller door, afternoons coloured by the light bouncing off the surrounding warehouses. Perfect for a few pre-dinner pints.
26 Helen Street, Newstead
Smaller is these days better when it comes to the best places to drink in Brisbane and Maker is almost intimate to a fault. The tiny Fish Lane venue with its brooding, dark fit-out is barely big enough to entertain two dozen people. Still, that means the service is first class, while the molecular, imaginative cocktail list does the rest.
Fish Lane, South Brisbane
Once the iconic Trash Video store, The End keeps the dream alive with its murals of VHS tapes and a few stacks of the real deal lying around. Otherwise, it’s low lights, pitchers of quaffable cocktails and long tables of Brisbane’s friendliest indie kids.
73 Vulture Street, West End
The Gresham Bar
This former city bank’s sandstone facade and lofty ceilings make it a charismatic place to pitch up for a spirit or cocktail, and its ginormous wall of whisky is as intimidating as the premises themselves. The award-winning staff know a thing or two also, and will happily take you on a flight through their best drops.
308 Queen Street, Brisbane
Super Whatnot’s clever, interleaved design means this laneway joint retains its intimacy even at the busiest of times. Friday nights can get a little gnarly, but otherwise the moody venue boasts terrific cocktails, seasonal beers and exceptional beats courtesy of some of the city’s slickest hip-hop DJs. One of the best places to drink in Brisbane’s CBD.
48 Burnett Lane, Brisbane
Breakfast Creek Hotel
The pick of the city’s refurbished pubs, but for what’s old rather than new. The charming private bar is best, boasting XXXX Bitter ‘off the wood’. Poured unpasteurised from an oak barrel, Queensland’s traditional drop is a smooth, sessionable crowd pleaser. Grab a couple before retiring outside for the river breeze.
2 Kingsford Smith Drive, Breakfast Creek
Known for its gastronomy, Public’s true asset is, in fact, its immaculately appointed bar. Perched on a mezzanine overlooking the busy CBD intersection of George and Turbot Streets, the vertiginous windows present a panorama of Brisbane’s court district. The perfect spot for either a pre-dinner drink or late-evening digestif.
Level 1, 400 George Street, Brisbane
Can You Keep a Secret?
The long neglected Mater Hill end of Stanley Street has come alive, Can You Keep a Secret? emerging as one of best places to drink in Brisbane. Once a suburban vintage shop, these cosy 19th-century premises are scattered with all sorts of retro knick-knacks, making the vibe on a busy night more house party than bar. Feel free to bring along some takeaway from Vespa Pizza next door.
619-621 Stanley Street, Woolloongabba
Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall
Lefty’s chequered strip-club history is signalled by the underwear that still hangs from its extensive selection of taxidermy. Indeed, very little has changed since the bad old days: remove the stage, add some whisky apples, craft beer and terrific live music, and you have one of city’s most rambunctious nightspots.
15 Caxton Street, Petrie Terrace