Just when we thought we were being spoiled for choice with the amount of new venues opening in Brisbane… BANG! A whole lot more opened up.
From mini-golf-themed bars and laneway eateries to hidden speakeasies and rooftop bars, the new venues that opened in 2016 are nothing short of creative.
So work your way through this list of Brisbane’s newest bars, bistros, eat houses, cafes and restaurants that are worth blowing the budget on.
Bars, bistros and restaurants
Get ready for the tipsiest round of mini-golf you’ve ever played! Housed inside the church next to The Brightside, Holey Moley’s interior has been completely transformed into a mini-golf wonderland. Combining cocktails and caddies, you’ll putt your way around the course with obstacles including creepy clowns, mannequins playing Twister and burnt-out cars.
There’s something for everyone at Tomcat with two bars to enjoy – a relaxed party bar and a hidden speakeasy saloon pouring high-end liquor. Perched above Wickham Street, simply head up a short flight of stairs and voilà! You’ve entered the newest party destination.
We will never say no to a rooftop tipple or two! Perched atop the 16th floor of the Pullman and Mercure Brisbane King George Square, Sixteen Antlers Rooftop Bar offers patrons uninterrupted views of the iconic City Hall clock tower and beyond to the city skyline. The intimate open-air space has been transformed into a leafy green retreat, and serves up cocktails, wines and craft beers for thirsty revellers.
As its name suggests, this restaurant celebrates the deliciousness that is the genius combination of frites (chips) and burgers. With a simple menu of burgers, creative side dishes and desserts, each dish celebrates fresh produce sourced from within a 100km radius.
If you like American food, you’ll definitely love this. The newest addition to the Wilston food scene, NoHo Bar & Grill has been plating up some of the best American street food in town, with Philly cheesesteaks, po’ boys, mac’n’cheese croquettes, corndogs and burgers all available on the menu.
Housed in possibly the most charming building in Paddington, it’s not hard for The Hope & Anchor to be welcoming. Jamie Webb has taken over the Given Terrace space, stripping it back to its bones to create an inviting neighborhood bar reminiscent of those in the UK. Priding themselves on their honest, no-fuss food and booze, The Hope & Anchor serves up bar snacks such as beef jerky and potato chips, the classic chip butty or scamorza arancini.
Start spreadin’ the news – New York-style eats have arrived at South Bank. After opening stores in Surfers Paradise and Sydney, Brooklyn Depot has ventured north to Brisbane, bringing with it juicy burgers, loaded hot dogs and double waffle ice-cream sandwiches. You read correctly. Double. Waffle. Ice-cream. Sandwiches.
Owned and operated by self-proclaimed craft beer enthusiasts, Zero Fox also caters to hungry patrons with a large menu of Japanese eats. Snack on small plates of okonomiyaki, pork dumplings and kimchi fries, or fill your stomach with a hearty bowl of katsu chicken curry.
Chingon | Brisbane
Get the white-table restaurant vibes of Chingon Melbourne out of your head – Brisbane’s Chingon is definitely the more badass sibling. Giving off a grungy industrial cantina vibe, the menu dishes up some seriously good Mexican with a selection of seven handmade soft tortilla tacos, including the likes of al pastor pork, carne asada (steak), de pollo (chicken) and ceviche de pescado (citrus-marinated fish).
Taking over the shipping container on Fish Lane, this modern Vietnamese-style eatery focuses on vibrant eats paired with a curated selection of wines, Asian-inspired cocktails and ice-cold local and Vietnamese beers. For lunch, grab rice paper rolls, chicken pho, chicken coconut or beef salad, or wrap your mitts around a crunchy bánh mì.
Housed inside the new 180 Brisbane building on Ann Street, Metropole brings casual-style dining to an impressive open space, which features a mix of world cuisines, as well as an espresso bar, cocktail bar and covered laneway bar. If you’re imagining a food court, think again. Sure, you can get your lunch packaged up to take away, but you can also dine in the laneway or dining hall from a real plate with real cutlery!
This fun and casual bar boasts some of the finest drops in town. If you’re a fan of Japanese food and drink or simply love a good time, consider parking yourself at one of Biru Shinobi’s tables.
Sitting on the corner of Edward and Ann Street, this restaurant makes the most of its semi-open-air space. Think roofless hut-style booths, with Californian vibes, banana-leaf wallpaper and a rad cruiser bike that screams Santa Monica Pier. On the street you’ll find Santa Monica Express, where you can grab coffee, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and more to take away. The kiosk doubles as a beer window, where those dining in can grab a quick cold one to wash down their feast.
The Latin-inspired menu lends itself to sharing, and features a selection of healthy AND delicious dishes. Almost everything on the menu is gluten-free and made in-house daily, and is low carb, high protein and packed with fresh vegetables, premium meats and house-made sauces and salsas. There are plenty of vegetarian options available and everything can be eaten in or taken away.
In the downstairs bistro, The Apo’s focus is on the charming and strange, which is easily gleaned from their menu of brow-raising dishes like the charred cabbage and moved almond tarator. But upstairs at The Apo’s second half and bar of fancies, the focus becomes more concentrated and classic. Their wine list is comprehensive but not overwhelming and they’ve got a neat variety of quintessential cocktail fizz on tap to keep you happy and lightheaded.
The vision for Club Sosay involved board games, wine, snacks, and making friends with strangers, so this new Paddington haunt is more like a licensed games hall than anything else Brisbane’s seen before. Come in pairs or packs and Sosay will provide you with a selection of more than 250 board games (including their own game, Burger Up) and even hook you up with some other players if you don’t quite make the head count. Oh and wine. Don’t forget the wine.
Riff Bar & Bistro in Fortitude Valley is the newest casual dining spot to add to your must-visit list! Offering up crowd-pleasing classics, Riff Bar is perfect for a hearty breakfast, quick lunch or indulgent dinner. If you're feeling inventive, you can even create your own, ideal for the fussier members of your crew. Compile anything from potato hash, eggs and corn salsa to trusty ol’ smashed avo on toast.
No strangers to the Brisbane food scene, the Barakat family now presents us with Il Verde. Positioned in a sunny corner spot, the Italian restaurant adds to the Brisbane Showgrounds’ ever-growing King Street dining precinct in Bowen Hills, serving up pasta and wood-fired pizzas made from scratch in-house and a selection of delectable antipasti and mains.
The Valley has just added a sophisticated new art-deco restaurant into the mix in the form of Nickel Kitchen & Bar. Open for all of your wining and dining needs, Nickel's leather booths, dark timber interiors and simple but well executed menu make it a must for a long lunch or really long dinner. High on our list of must-eats? The Barossa Valley chicken Kiev, the sizzling bay prawns with chili and the honey-roasted chicken waffles.
Known for renowned Sydney spots Quay and Otto Ristorante, the entrepreneurial minds at The Fink Group have looked north to open a sister venue, Otto Brisbane. Conceptually similar to Otto in Sydney, the new venue offers a modern Italian menu using Australian ingredients while overlooking the Brisbane River and Story Bridge from a location within the impressive 480 Queen Street development.
You can stay here for every meal of the day as this restaurant does a superb job of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Party on into the late evening as this day-cafe transforms into a happening, bar-centric bistro-style restaurant with a modern Australian flavour.
This new industrial-chic bar to perch atop Caxton Street is serving up anything but your average pub food. The most recent venture from the creators of New Farm’s The Little Larder, GreenHill is all about showcasing innovative drinks and interesting bar snacks. With a menu that will change and grow with the crowd, the current offerings include mouth-watering morsels such as baked brie, twice-cooked lamb ribs with potato emulsion and charred corn on the cob.
Deb and Cosimo de Nichilo opened Ristorante La Famiglia in Trafalgar Lane in June – a spot perfectly positioned on the Stanley Street end of the intricately designed urban laneway. The restaurant serves up authentic dishes using seasonal produce and herbs from its living wall, alongside regional Italian wines and limoncello.
“What’s yakitori?” you ask. Well, it’s a type of Japanese skewered chicken and you can eat bucket-loads of it at Bird’s Nest. With a strong focus on fresh, quality and healthy fare, the skewers at Bird’s Nest are prepared in-house daily and cooked to order, and the menu is almost 100 per cent gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly.
With locations in Milton and South Bank, the food at Mucho Mexicano is as authentic as it comes. It’s Mexican market eating: fresh, light, spicy and above all, tasty. There is a small Texicana section on the menu to keep the chimichanga-lovers happy, and plenty of tequilas, mezcals and margaritas will go nicely with whatever you choose.
The restaurant under the new Art Series Hotel, Tumbling Stone has a philosophy of no-nonsense delicious dining, with a focus on high-quality local produce. There are plenty of small plates to ensure you try a bit of everything, from Gruyère cheese tarts with wild mushrooms, poached eggs and sautéed spinach, to the Bangalow sweet pork.
The brightly-coloured walls and eclectic furniture complement this café’s range of vibrant smoothies, juices and acai bowls. KoKobana goes one step further with its menu, offering up savoury options to the local café crowd.
Newstead’s About a Boy & a Girl is here to prove that eating well doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fun and flavour. You’ll find the market and cafe in amongst the warehouses of Proe Street in Newstead – what sets it apart is the sun-warmed seats and sprouting garden beds out the front. Lining the shelves of the market, you’ll find an abundance of specialty items (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and more) and certified organic products
Pablo & Rusty’s is a coffee spot leading the charge for cashless transactions with a system that ditches the coins and notes in favour of a digitised system. Using ingenious apps and Frank Green SmartCup technology, Pablo & Rusty’s streamlines the process of grabbing your morning cup. Order from black, white, batch-brewed filter coffee and nitrogen-infused single origin selections.
Bell Bros Coffee House offers a selection of Mt Glorious Blends, including the flavoursome wood-roasted blend. Bell Bros Coffee House will also be serving a large range of teas ranging from English Breakfast to oolong and Taiwanese green tea as well as some high-end aged pu-erh tea from China.
Josie North also serves filter coffee, which is perfect for those looking for a more refined and delicate taste plus milk from Maleny Dairies and bonsoy. Non-coffee drinkers are catered for with tea options and specialty hot chocolate from Mork. All-day breakfast options include grilled cheese with pickles and onion jam, and cinnamon oatmeal with almonds and rhubarb and ginger compote.
Kenmore coffee haunt The Single Guys delivers fine coffee and a simple menu among minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired surrounds. Their aim is to share their knowledge of coffee, its origins and the processes involved from crop to cup.
The focus is split in two – the coffee offering encompasses small-batch beans, with a focus on local, boutique roasters such as Blackstar Coffee and The Odyssey Project, plus one regular rotating local roaster. For eats, Project 41 offers a range of gourmet salads and sandwich options (think jaffles, made-to-order sandwiches and six-inch subs), and also bake an array of pastries in house each morning.
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