For years I have heard the joke about winding the clock back an hour and 20 years when you land in Brisbane. I am sure it was funny once.
To be fair, it wasn’t that long ago that people from outside the Sunshine State would ask me where to drink/dine/party while in town, and I could only offer a few recommendations. However, these days, there are so many options that that list has grown exponentially – both in quantity and quality.
The bar scene is the best it’s been (sans the ridiculous licensing laws and I.D. scanning). We have restaurants that serve past 9pm (not even kidding, this was a thing not that long ago). There are options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night, late-late night and all of the drinking things. What a time to be alive and in (Bris)Vegas!
24-hours in (Bris)Vegas
Head to Café O Mai in Annerley; a short 10-minute drive from the city. Once a very small corner shop, Margaret and her team have slowly taken over the three shops next door.
We all remember our first breakfast bánh mì and so will you. Bacon and egg with all the traditional accoutrements – it’s a game changer, people. Add excellent coffee and service, it’s a must do. The rest of the menu is also worth a try. It was one of the first places to do vegan phở in Brisbane.
Head to GOMA and check out the current exhibition. This gallery is world class. It houses some of the most exciting and innovative exhibitions in the country.
After GOMA, walk along Southbank towards Stokehouse Q for a long lunch. There is no better place for lunch in Brisbane. Let the team look after you and watch the Brown Snake (aka the Brisbane River) wind slowly past as you enjoy some of the amazing produce Queensland has to offer. Take advantage of their thoughtful wine selections and while away the afternoon.
After lunch, walk over the Goodwill Bridge and into the Botanic Gardens for a little lie down and a chance to recover. Alternatively, walk a few hundred metres to Blackbird Bar & Grill for a cocktail. The bar team here will look after all your needs. Penny Grant’s wine list might keep you here for hours, it’s easily one of the best in Queensland. The view here of the Story Bridge is second to none and you can really get to know the Brown Snake as the sun goes down.
Dinner requires a short uber to the Valley (aka Fortitude Valley). Options are aplenty here, but we can’t go past Longtime. Mod-Asian and a boisterous atmosphere, and queues from 7pm despite the fact it’s been open since 2014. You can book for an early spot, but even if you have to wait, it’s worth it. The bug curry, the pad see ew and the chicken bao are things of beauty. Cocktails are fire and the wine list is skewed perfectly towards the spice and heat of the kitchen. Longtime shows a level of detail that makes us want to eat here every time we are in town.
The post dinner options are many, but for us a Negroni at The Gresham (considered Australia’s best bar) is a must. Housed in an old bank, this place could be anywhere in the world. It’s dark, moody and the drinks are oh so delicious. If you are whisky nut, prepare to spend all of your money here.
For late-late night frivolities, there is one place that continues to over-deliver in terms of music, atmosphere and delicious fresh-apple-and-whisky drinks. Lefty’s entered the scene years ago and has been providing late night entertainment ever since. It has also been providing deliciously salted popcorn to ensure you keep drinking (therefore staying well hydrated, duh). You will need to find the entrance to Mermaid’s on your own, but make sure you do. A small bar within a large one, it’s like a Matryoshka of bars. Find it. Find yourself and lose yourself at the same time.
There are so many other options. This is just one example of what can be done in one day. What a day it would be…….