Bar/fly: Brisbane

By Ellie Mitchell

Ellie Mitchell discovers Brisbane has several ways to quench your thirst after a day in that hot Queensland sun.

With so much choice and character, it's easy to find your own favourite Brisbane watering hole. Illustration / Rod Emmerson
With so much choice and character, it's easy to find your own favourite Brisbane watering hole. Illustration / Rod Emmerson

Whether you want a grungy underground watering hole with live music, a sophisticated riverside location bar for people-watching, edgy nightlife or simply a chilled out lazy afternoon, Brisbane has it all. With so much choice and character, it's easy to find your own favourite haunt. I found four hot spots, each with their own quirky enticing vibe...

Alfred and Constance - Fortitude Valley

It's like being at your mate's house party except this time the 20 beers are on tap. The locals come and spend an entire afternoon here eating, drinking and chatting the hours away without the distraction of TVs.

The young, attractive and friendly staff offer excellent service, there's generous reasonably priced gastro pub-style grub and the chefs create by the open wood-fired oven.

These two beautifully converted Queensland-style villas offer a huge outdoor area for chilling in the warm Brisbane climate. Visitors are spoilt, with five areas to choose from.

Each room has a different theme: there's Alfred's cafe/dessert bar, combining delicious cakes with alcoholic juice and boozy smoothie stations; a Tiki bar upstairs serves cocktails beautifully presented in pineapple halves; grab a refreshing cocktail jug from The Vanguard Beer Garden Bar; or lounge around on one of the terraces or balconies on a huge softball glove.

The decor is original, from large elephants on the walls to bicycle seats, the private dining area has a darker spooky theme and is available for hire for private events. While you're here, why not nip next door to Limes Hotel, owned by the same people.

Grab a nightcap on the funky roof-top bar or relax at the outdoor cinema, also on the roof, or even stay the night!

Cloud Land - Fortitude Valley

There is, quite simply, nothing like it! Cloudland, with its growing reputation as Brisbane's premier urban oasis, will definitely give you a night to remember. Spanning four levels, it has a retractable glass roof that opens at the touch of a button and an indoor sparkling waterfall flowing down the entire 14m wall. On arrival you will be stunned by the interior decor, from lush plants to the glistening lights of the bar made up of 19,000 crystal balls.

Whether you want to grab a bite at the incredible Italian restaurant or prefer an intimate afternoon of cocktails, Cloudland is the perfect venue for an unforgettable experience day or night. You can hang out (literally) on one of the suspended basket chairs and sway while you sip, or go with a group and have your very own wicker tepee close to the live band or DJ on stage. Venture up one of the spiral staircases and recline in one of the boutique booths, or watch your mates from the balcony dancing away to the music below.

Next Door Bar and Kitchen - Southbank

Perched high on a stall, cocktail in hand, you can't beat this sophisticated 1920s-style establishment on the Southbank.

The decor is black, the staff for the most part in 1920s braces, with music reminiscent of the Charleston era, the location is perfect - overlooking the beautiful river and cityscape - and ideal for people-watching.

The friendly staff will recommend the best cocktails. Not only do they taste good but they look beautiful, perfect for a photo opportunity. Try the voluptuous "It's the berries" - served in a tall glass jar. If you get peckish, grab a bite to eat or head to one of the many local dining venues.

Brew - CBD

Great grungy vibe with an eclectic mix of people, right in the CBD but discreetly tucked away, this underground venue unveils a unique drinking experience.

Originally a coffee place, hence the name, it became so popular that it was turned into a wine bar, serving food and offering live entertainment and quirky areas for chillaxing.

Lighting is dim, each seating area is different from the next and with table-waiting service, what better way to wind down after a day of sightseeing without the hassle of going to the bar?

It's a favourite drinking hole for locals. This place is buzzing and the drinks flow as long as you are patient. Its baby brother Littlebrew has recently opened in Paddington, so why not combine an afternoon of shopping with a crisp vino or refreshing beer? Perfect.

CHECKLIST

Getting there: Qantas, Air New Zealand and Jetstar fly daily to Brisbane from Auckland.

Further information: See tq.com.au.

The writer travelled as a guest of Tourism and Events Queensland.

- NZ Herald

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