The live music scene in Brisbane is a wild and untameable creature. With myriad hidden underground bars and laneways, finding a bustling haunt midweek can be a task. It’s time to put your wallet away and lace up your kicks. We’ve got the rundown on the best Brisbane has to offer every night of the week.
If Monday has you nursing a less-than-enthusiastic mood, Brooklyn Standard is here to help. Settle in by the bar at this gem of a venue hidden below Eagle Lane and fill your Monday night with blues. Sporting an impressive bar, knowledgeable bartenders, live tunes and interiors straight out of downtown Brooklyn, it’s a cure for even the worst case of Mondayitis.
Come Tuesday, hit up The Press Club for their live R&B night. With an extensive rotation of local artists, it’s definitely not to be missed. If R&B is something you tend to reserve for Friday morning in the car, then Sonny’s House of Blues has you sorted with LA-style dive bar vibes. Bouncing between blues, jazz, swing and rock ’n’ roll, the live scene at Sonny’s is literally music to your ears. Not to mention it’s home to the best dingy lighting, private booths and fresh whiskey apples around.
Reward yourself on hump day and release your inner college kid at Buffalo Bar with beer pong and chicken-wing eating challenges. The place fills with live rockabilly soul that will keep you coming back week after week. For something more date-night appropriate, visit The Bowery. Skip the weekend crowds that pack this place to the rafters and soak up the smooth sounds of the house jazz band on a Wednesday instead. Enjoy a midweek cocktail custom-made by world-class bartenders who all (somehow) look like they could be James Dean’s long-lost grandson.
By the time Thursday rolls around, most of us are desperate for a pick-me-up. If it’s wine and a decent meal you’re after, hit up Lock ’n’ Load and unwind with infectious Latin jazz tunes from Eddie Gazani and Lucas Saad Tambelli as they pair up with special guests each week. If you can muster the energy, Cloudland’s Soul’Sa Latin night is the perfect place to dance the night away. Salsa skills are definitely not compulsory here (if you can salsa, please do the rest of us a favour and dance at the front so we can subtly try to copy your moves). It’s simply a fact of life that live Latin-style covers of your favourite pop tunes are IMPOSSIBLE not to dance to.
Congrats on making it through another week! Give a nod to your inner hipster and wander on down to Greaser. With a raw industrial feel, eccentric ’50s style décor and vintage pinball machines, this is where gritty rock ’n’ roll resides. The live band plays every Friday night ’til late, so kick off your shoes (metaphorically only, please, to avoid an OH&S nightmare) and welcome the weekend the right way. For more chilled-out vibes, pay Cobbler a visit. This West End institution takes the crown as the best whiskey bar around. Take a seat at the bar and sip your way through your pick of their 400+ whiskeys while tuning in to the sweet, sweet sounds of everything from Perth bands to local acoustic tunes.
Consider spicing it up every once in a while and ditching your go-to weekend joint for something a little off the grid like Heya Bar. Tucked away underneath Brunswick Street, Heya will have you feeling all kinds of swanky as you venture through the subterranean maze of doorways, secret rooms and dimly lit corners. Heya is definitely the kind of place to (in the words of Eminem) lose yourself in the music. If Saturday night finds you wandering down Caxton Street, don’t forget to pay Lefty’s a visit for old-school American fun. With Texan-style twangs reverberating through both levels every weekend, it’s a must-try for anyone looking to spice up their weekend shenanigans.
By the time Sunday rolls around, it’s time to put those dancing shoes away for another week and chill out with a cocktail in hand. If listening to the same old acoustic cover of Wonderwall for the millionth time is not your cup of tea, there’s plenty of other options to listen to live tunes on your Sunday arvo. If you’re after an elegant end to your weekend, head to Mr & Mrs G’s on Eagle Street. Sip on a liquid refreshment and relax to live renditions of Sinatra and Bublé while enjoying Instagram-worthy sunsets over the river. If that’s not your style, The Triffid will keep you entertained with their Americana Sessions. Lovers of folk, country and rock ’n’ roll will be treated with sets from the most respected artists in town – all without a penny spent!
Feature Image: @cloudlandbrisbane