A city otherwise dwarfed by it’s east coast counterparts Sydney and Melbourne, the old river city isn’t widely renowned for its nightlife or foodie reputation. However, while some assumptions are hard to shake, it looks like Brisbane’s eating out street cred is beginning to change in a big way.
Whether it’s due to a few Melbournites migrating to Brisbane, or some locals inspired from their global travels, Brisvegas is now boasting a number of bars and restaurants resembling the cool laneway eateries of New York, Europe and Melbourne. Tucked away in little alleys and laneways, many of these hot new joints are sometimes hard to find if you don’t know where to look.
So, let’s take a trip down Brisbane’s alleyways and laneways to find out where the best foodie gems are hiding.
1. Corbett and Claude.
If you like a big long, expansive bar, a place to escape to, dim lighting, and elegant design and furniture, then this is the place for you. Resembling a venue that you’d run into Mad Men’s Don Draper on a late weeknight, Corbett and Claude has it all.
Located down a laneway off Elizabeth Street near Creek Street, this venue boasts top class cocktails, craft beers on tap and exceptional nibblies to line your stomach. Fresh ingredients are thrown on salivating stone oven cooked pizzas, with succulent olives and cheese boards also on offer to wet to your appetite. If you live in Brisbane, are just visiting, need to go on a date or want to catch up with old friends, Corbett and Claude has you covered for all occasions.
2. The Survey Co.
If you’re chasing that fine dining experience, sans pretentious glitz and glam, head out to The Survey Co. Situated surreptitiously off of Albert Street in Burnett Lane, this place combines contemporary design with first class food to create a must see for all amateur cuisine critics.
Edging a little bit on the pricier side of dining out, The Survey Co really sets the benchmark for creative cuisine in Brisbane. Further enhanced by an extensive first class wine list, this venue sets the scene for a great anniversary dinner or special celebration. Wait staff are hot on their toes with service, leaving you to only worry about what delicious dish to choose for your main and leaving enough room for dessert.
A great way to judge a city's cultural depth is its ability to produce a first class coffee- which must make Brisbane a thriving cosmopolitan all thanks to laneway pace setter, Brew. Introduced to the Brisbane hustle and bustle in the late noughties, this cafe and wine bar combo is a favourite hang out for local coffee lovers.
Starting out as a simple coffee cart on Albert Street in the CBD, initial success led to its extension down a driveway to open up a sit down eatery area. A few months later Brew went even further, restoring what was formerly an underground art gallery into a fully fledged venue that now hosts live music and stand up, and assumes the role of cafe by day, bar by night.
Sourcing the best beans from all around the world, Brew is the go to for all things coffee. Starting humbly serving up coffees in the street, Brew typifies what you can achieve if you master the basics first. Whether you’re looking for a quick coffee, a bite to eat, or a setting for a coffee date or business meeting, step inside the world of Brew. You won't be disappointed!
4. Sonny’s House of Blues.
If you’re looking for a good time, a bit of a jam among friends, an array of unique and tasty drinks and eats, say hello to Sonny’s House of Blues. Sporting similarities to that of its sister venue, Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Sonny’s is a bit like stepping into a time capsule.
Whilst a thriving and rambunctious night spot, you’re more than likely to simply walk past it's reclusive Rowes Lane (off Edward Street) location without noticing. With live music that echoes the beginnings of rock n roll, it’s a big house of fun. Wooden floors combined with 60s American touches cement this venue as nothing less than an iconic must see. The menu reads mouth watering, traditional American treats, and there's an even bigger supply of drinks to keep you singing and partying all night.
If you’re looking for somewhere to dine that’s a little bit fancy and takes innovative food to the next level, look no further than George Street’s somewhat hidden award winning Public dining house. With things on the menu like ‘a can of worms’, which is literally a can of worms, you’ll leave this restaurant with nothing short of a memorable experience.
Exceptional wait staff guide you through a diverse and unique range of seafood and meat inspired servings. Pair this with an assortment of exceptional wine and beer, visiting Public will be something you’ll reminisce about with friends whenever the topic of eating out in Brisbane comes up.
6. Brooklyn Standard.
Brisbane is very much embracing an American theme when it comes to eating out. While not exactly new, the style is iconic for a reason as it helps set the tone for many venues. The Brooklyn Standard, with a small entry, is a thriving basement bar located on Eagle Lane in Brisbane’s CBD.
With live music playing regularly, this joint has a buzzing atmosphere and is graced with an eclectic crowd ranging from business folk to hipsters penning poetry. If you’re looking for laidback vibe, Brooklyn Standard has a few nooks and crannies to hole up in, as well as places front and centre among all the action. There are plenty of canapes and nibbles to graze on, as well as an impressive and loaded list of drink options to cater to your mood and taste buds.
7. Bao Down Now.
With bao so easily available in restaurants throughout Brisbane, has there ever been a better time to be heading out on the town for a delicious bite sized bun? What’s even greater is the fact there is a lone, hole in the wall restaurant neatly tucked away in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley that specialises in exactly that - Bao Down Now.
This hidden gem is home to a collection of bao combinations that are worth considering relocating to the Valley for. Adding chicken, pork, beef and tofu into the equation, you’ll find yourself consuming some of the best oriental delights in the city. Pair this with regularly updated beers and ciders on tap and bottles of wine a plenty, this venue is the perfect starting place to start a big night out, or if you’re simply looking for the perfect place to feast on yummy bao.
With so many fantastic options for eating out, Brisbane looks set to firmly cement itself on the 'cool' foodie map of Aus.
Do you have any other favourite out of the way places to get a bite in Brisbane? Please share them below. For more to do in Brisbane check out some of the best hidden laneways in Brisbane.
Liam Burke writes on behalf of Ab Fab Catering Brisbane. Ab Fab Catering have been Brisbane’s catering specialists since 1989 and in that time have developed a range of delicious menus suitable for all occasions.
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