If you know any West End locals, you’re probably in awe of how much caffeine they can drink, how they’d rather walk (or cycle) to their favourite venues and and and the fact that they seem to know when and where the coolest new places are popping up.
While some are pretty forward with their opinions and dietary requirements, they’ve mastered the art of keeping their secret haunts, well, secret. But we think these amazing finds need to be shared.
1. Bliss Bites
Miss Bliss Whole Foods Kitchen is a café that offers healthy breakfast and lunch options. It also has a hidden Bliss Lane along the side of the building and sells Bliss treats, with a plan to launch a range of superfood cocktails (complete with certified organic spirits) in the near future.
2. Hanasho Florist
Skilled Japanese florist Hiroaki Eba works out of his flower shop and gallery on Boundary Street, which is known as a peaceful retreat with freshly-cut floral bouquets and arrangements, sculptures, artwork, potted plants and hanging planters. He also regularly hosts exhibitions at the stores and frequents the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers as an exhibitor.
3. Frequent Community Events
West End is never short on excitement and culture! Multiple venues host live music on a nightly basis; the annual Paniyiri Greek festival is held at Musgrave Park and the Brazilian Carnaval hits the streets each year. Organised by the West End Fire Festival Committee, regular full moon parties are filled with lots of fire spinning and twirling, fun and food at Orleigh Park.
4. A Bar That Gives Back
BOSC (Bar Of Social Conscience) on Vulture Street is a rustic beer and gin bar with an upcycled fit-out and a dedicated mission to donate 20 per cent of all profits to charity.
5. BYO Bar
Brisbane is full of top-notch bars but how many of them offer a cocktail list with more than 300 types of whiskey in a cosy and trendy setting? It’s not just what’s behind the curtains on the street that makes Cobbler so awesome; they also allow patrons to BYO food.
6. Boutique Finds
From trendy pieces and formal attire to bridal couture, West End has you covered. The experienced tailors at J & R Formal Boutique deliver stunning pieces every time, as well as a great variety of fabrics to use for your own future projects. Everywhere you look, there’s a hole-in-the-wall boutique just waiting to be discovered and homewares store to furnish your abode, including a large warehouse-sized Adorne on Montague Rd for all your fashion and homewares accessories.
7. Organic, renewable and environmentally-conscious
It’s the suburb that seems a little greener on the other side of the Brisbane River, with plenty of CityCycle stations spread across the suburb and bike paths a plenty. West Enders can take advantage of the organic fare and fresh produce available at the Davies Park Market held every Saturday. Clothing, jewellery and accessory stalls are also on show, as well as live entertainment, quality coffee stalls and areas to sit and catch-up with friends and family. And the environmentally-conscious mindset doesn’t stop there; you can purchase vintage and high-quality second-hand modern apparel and accessories from SWOP Shop (on Boundary Street), or bring in your own preloved clothing to swap for items available in-store, with no cash exchanged!
8. Two-in-one bookstore
Browse the stacks at Avid Reader and sit outside in their cosy courtyard with a delectable cake or cupcake. They have recently separated the bookstore into an adult section and a children’s section (housed next door in Where the Wild Things Are) and you can also attend one of their “big breakfast bookclubs” on Sunday mornings with special guests.
9. The Bleachers
You wouldn’t know it from the front but this revamped casual café and diner (located on Boundary Street) has a massive courtyard out the back. An extension of the Ben’s Burgers concept, The Bleachers has transformed the outdoor space with bleachers and basketball hoops that have created a great sense of community. Here you’ll find American-style burgers, fried chicken, local beers and soft serve ice-cream.
10. Greek Architecture
Almost 60 years old, the St George Greek Orthodox Church (next to The Greek Club) has some exquisite architecture that you need to see. The foundation stone was laid for the building way back in 1958.
11. Hidden French Bakery
The hole-in-the-wall French bakery on Boundary Street always sells out of their almond croissants by the afternoon and they are to die for! While it’s not a secret that West End Bakery exists, it often gets overlooked because it’s not as fancy as its competitors. Definitely worth stopping in for their generously-priced and sized goodies.
12. Art Scene
Coming over the Go Between Bridge, you’ll notice some beautiful fixed commissioned street art pieces on the cement pillars. The suburb has a strong focus on the arts; while you can view them from the streets, you can also take a stroll through West End’s many galleries and art spaces, such as Jan Murphy Gallery and Queensland Theatre Company’s Bille Brown Studio.
13. Pet-friendly café
Posto on Boundary Street is a café with plenty of outdoor seating to share with your four-legged friend. It’s one of few venues in West End that allows you to dine with you pup.
14. Cowch Delivery
Lucky West End locals can now get Cowch dessert bar’s goodies delivered straight to their house/apartment with Deliveroo.
15. Feel-good feeds
Mu’ooz Eritrean Restaurant is an African not-for-profit social enterprise providing employment, traineeships and empowerment for African refugee women. They also serve traditional Eritrean coffee at the end of meal and it’s next-level delicious!
16. Bench Espresso
Behind Rumpus Room on Boundary Street, coffee and art come together in a creative espresso house/gallery. They also host monthly exhibitions from street artists.
17. Nordic local
Lokal + Co is an eatery and bar with a Nordic influence. Plating up tasty modern dishes, this eatery prides itself on using local produce. Those with a sweet tooth can’t go past their gingerbread waffles with chocolate hazelnut sauce, whipped ricotta and crumbled honeycomb. And now they’re open for extended trade on Friday and Saturday nights for a cheeky wine and tasty Nordic-inspired dinner!
There are also a few new projects and venues on the rise in West End that we’re keeping an eye out for, including this new residential development providing elegant and boutique-style riverfront living so more people can become locals and enjoy all the secret finds of the suburb.
Virtuoso On The River
Feature Image: Lokal+Co, West End