Secret’s Out, 11 Of The Best Underground & Hidden Bars In BNE
Hide and seekBy Style Journo | 2nd June 2023
Mix in a dash of darkness, add a garnish of mystique, and you’ve got yourself a quintessential underground concoction; come nightfall, we’re chasing the allure of the hidden drink dens our city has under wraps.
If you find rooftop bars submerged in too much sunshine for your liking, and a pub setting less than salubrious, then tunnel down for a stiff beverage – these clandestine charms are known only by those seeking the sweet allure of low lighting, leather lounges, whispered secrets, and an ambiance that never quite sees the light of day.
From a phony barber shop to a cupboard leading to Narnia, tick these off and rest easy knowing you and the hidden bars of Brisbane are now very well acquainted.
By the way, we consider everyone in this list the best of the best! To make finding your next favourite that much easier, we’ve ordered the list alphabetically by suburb and also have filtering tabs for your convenience. Did we miss someone from the list? Let us know here! Hide the form
- Brisbane CBD
- North Brisbane
- East Brisbane
- South Brisbane
- West Brisbane
- Gold Coast
- Sunshine Coast
- A - Z
- Z - A
Mrs J. Rabbits Speakeasy
Jump feet first down the rabbit hole and you’ll emerge inside Mrs J. Rabbits Speakeasy. Through a wooden cupboard in Woolloongabba’s Electric Avenue you’ll find whiskies, gins, tonics, and botanicals worthy of this Narnia-inspired wonderland. With an antique cupboard that is filled with far more than it seems, you’ll need to use the password from the bar downstairs to get you through the concealed entrance. Filled with wooden walls, hanging ferns, and trinkets galore, this hidden bar in Brisbane is cosy with an undeniable otherworldly ambience. Their menu is right on theme – each playful cocktail comes with a quote straight out of wonderland, served in vintage teacups! Tempt your imagination with the Queen of Hearts, Tick Tock Croc, or the Glass Slipper, nibble on bar snacks, and experience this hidden charm on Logan Road.
If good times are your thing, then you’ll find them pumping six days a week at this underground ode-to-NYC bar just off Eagle Street. Brooklyn Standard is where the vibe is high and the party is happening all night long. What sets them apart isn’t just the expert bartending team, but their cracking live music each night with funk, rock and roll, Mariachi, RnB, and everything in between. A quick look on their Facebook page will uncover the week ahead line-up of rocking music, so you can get your hips shakin’. After a boogie on the d-floor, get stuck into the American-inspired menu with fries, wings, burgers, and bar snacks.
Death & Taxes
For those who can’t turn down the nectar of a neat glass of whisky, this hidden bar in Brisbane is your new night haunt. Find the grim reaper waiting on Burnett Lane – Brisbane’s oldest laneway – and follow him through to what is dubbed the only things you can be sure of in life – Death & Taxes. Inspired by the underground bar scene in London and Paris, it boasts an ever-growing collection of over 1000 spirit bottles, century-old floors, deep buttoned leather booths, and arched wooden bookshelves. Winning whisky bar accolades for the past two years, you can count on their selection of aged, big-flavoured classics as you slowly savour each sip. If you prefer something a taste more experimental, opt for what has now become a household name among guests – a Death & Taxes OG whisky cocktail!
This opulent vintage lounge bar and hidden treasure in Fortitude Valley is a must-do while on a night out in Brisbane. Step inside the out-of-place orange door on Ann Street and peel back the curtains to reveal a slice of central London – it’s where the name is from, after all. Experience a glorious old-school chandelier glowing above you and incredible views of the wide-scape spirit bar from every angle. With a carefully curated cocktail list, Savile Row is where tailored drinking is at its finest (psst…there are over 900 spirits to choose from!). Whether it’s an intimate setting for you and a plus one or a social gathering, there are delightful seating and standing areas for all to sip and be merry.
Follow the sound of saxophones underground to experience Brisbane’s home of blues, funk, and soul. The Doo-Bop Bar is a basement brought to life every Friday and Saturday after sundown with world-class jazz performed by local and international artists alike. With exposed brickwork and thick wooden beams from the original Federation-era warehouse, it holds an old-world ambiance that pairs perfectly with jazz. Whether you’re fueling your night with a feast or making your way down the cocktail list, head to The Doo-Bop Bar’s socials to view the lineup and settle in for a night of rhythm and movement in true Miles Davis style.
Amongst the hustle and bustle of Brisbane City (and a hop away from Queen Street Mall) exists a hidden laneway across the road from the big labels: Louis V and Bvlgari. Head down the rabbit hole and you’ll find the moody Miss Demeanour laneway bar. Since re-opening after lockdown, Miss D (as they like to be called) has brought back a new take not just on their cocktails and rotating craft beers, but to their lunch and dinner offerings. In particular are their delicious melt-in-your-mouth burgers with gluten and dairy-free options. They’ve also just launched their bottomless brunch every week from 11am to 2pm, which includes burgers, bottomless fries, and a large selection of booze options including espresso martinis and bloody Marys.
Masked as an entrance to a barber’s shop in South Brisbane’s Fish Lane, you wouldn’t think there’s a hip-hop-inspired secret bar with Biggie Smalls waiting for you on the other side. You’ll find a phone at the entrance which is where you dial the ever-changing number on the vintage phone (check out Next Episode’s Instagram for the weekly code) and the mirrored walls unlock! With neon-lit signs inside, a Biggie Smalls mural, a handful of booths, and hip-hop tunes singing through the intimate space, the NYC-inspired cocktail bar will take you to another world. Staying true to their theme, the cocktails are where Next Episode really shines. From ‘I got 99 problems but a drink ain’t one’ to ‘Gin and juice’ and ‘Hendricks Lamar’ you’ll be sure to find something for your inner homie at this hidden bar in Brisbane.
Susie Wong’s Good Time Bar
Coming to you by the same powerhouses behind Brooklyn Standard is none other than the Hawaiian themed Susie Wong’s Good Time Bar. Who is this Susie Wong and can we be friends? More grungy surf shack than tiki bar, push open the cold room door and be immersed in a room of vibrant colours and vintage novelties. They’ve got the basics down pat with bubble tea cocktails and a frozen selection that will cool you right down after a hula or two on the dancefloor. With surf rock on school nights and classics on weekends, this hidden bar is soon to be a regular hangout.
Embracing all things grit and grime, this is one underground bar that truly belongs beneath the streets. The original cellars of The Prince Consort Hotel, you’ll find Brisbane’s emerging indie band scene performing gig after gig here. Graffiti and framed paraphernalia line the brick walls, antique velvet lounges welcome guests, and exposed ceiling pipes create a grog den like no other. It’s exactly what you want at the end of your twisting journey down a Brunswick Street back alley, past the kitchen, through to a framed Elvis hanging in all his glory. The journey just makes it all the more enthralling! Kick back at the killer burger bar, brave the Greaser rite of passage (hint: it involves whiskey and pickles), and relish a craft Aussie tap beer. Buckle in because this one’s an all-nighter.
Alba Bar & Deli
For a taste of Brooklyn meets Barcelona, Alba is your fix, with delicious bites, cocktails, and a modern wine dished out to patrons in an ambient hole-in-the-wall joint on Burnett Lane. Taking cues from Basque with its laneway vibe, the neighbourhood bar puts a great deal of thought into its aperitivo and rotating cocktail list. It’s also constantly evolving with the seasons, so each time you visit will like a brand new escape. Just head to the heart of the city and follow the sound of understated hip hop, and you’ll find yourself at the hands of Brisbane’s most respected.
A former wine shop turned elegant wine bar, Arcade Wine can be found tucked away behind an ornate plant-covered iron gate. Though pocket-sized, the ambient and charming nature of Arcade makes up for its restricted space, with a smattering of candle-lit outside seats, indoor communal table, and a ceiling-to-floor wall of wine bottles on display. Owner Danilo Duseli has brought the flavours of his home country of Italy to our shores with an extensive and curated range of vinos, homemade tapas, and heart-warming tunes. While many are there to sample the grapes on offer, it is Duseli’s passion to educate his patrons on his accumulated wine knowledge, and share Italian traditions with those around him. Feeling thirsty? There’s no doubt Arcade Wine is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner aperitif, or for those who love share plates for dinner, why would you venture anywhere else? Saluti!