Plenty of people have gotten into plenty of trouble in Collins Place. In its revamped guise, expect the hijinks to continue — but now, they'll involve boozing in a renovated former police station, rather than spending a stint inside for law-breaking behaviour. The heritage-listed Queenslander's past gives Little Big House its name, of course; however this new watering hole is all about the present and future.
First announced in late October, and located in the still-developing Southpoint precinct at the end of South Bank's Grey Street, LBH comes courtesy of the Matt Moran-led hospitality group Solotel. In fact, it's their third Brisbane venue after Aria and Riverbar & Kitchen. Raised above Grey Street next to the train station, the two-level Queenslander instantly stands out from the crowd with its city views, cruisy vibe, and creative food and beverage menu. Not bad for a building that dates back to 1889, and also counts stints as a Ship Inn, a Spaghetti House and a squatter's den among its history.
Most drinking spots want to be known for their relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere, and LBH certainly delivers — from the open front and side balconies, that benefit from the cooling river breeze, to the downstairs karaoke room, where groups can belt out a tune (and slap on a brightly coloured hat) for free. A pink pool table with an adjacent big screen for sports also takes up one room, while DJ booths are found on both floors. More than a few house parties are planned, because you don't call a pub Little Big House without hosting a few packed-to-the-brim shindigs.
Like most pubs, however, the venue is really all about sitting down at a table, forgetting your worries and hanging out with your mates. Accordingly, whether a Sunday session is in full swing or the verandahs are peppered with lunchtime diners, LBH has the menu for it under head chef Mathew Fulford (ex Stokehouse, Qualia). Beef burgers, hot smoked salmon salad and minute steak all make for easy but satisfying meals, with the two on-site rotisseries also pumping out chicken and porchetta — with chips, or on rolls. As great as that all sounds, it's the chicken parmi spring rolls that are sure to become a favourite. Other nibbles include kingfish and avocado tostadas, lamb sausage rolls and fish fingers, plus ice cream sangas for dessert.
When it comes to booze, two bars — one upstairs, one downstairs — have plenty to offer, including a limited-time-only beer collaboration with Sydney's Young Henry's. A light summer beverage that goes down fast and smooth, their brew goes by the name of Queenslander (what else?), and is only available on the premises.
Further beverage highlights range from two types cocktails in a can (Feels Like Apple Pie and Grape Expectations), frosé slushies and jugs of rosé sangria, to the Salty Sailor and the Garden Tonic (aka, LBH's takes on the espresso martini, complete with popcorn and toasted marshmallow, and the G&T, with elderflower, cucumber, lime, mint). An array of Champagne, rosé, reds and whites (six of the first two, eight of the second) round out the drinks list.
Decor-wise, the old meets the new in the restored fixtures, custom-painted flora and fauna murals, and adorable fake dog sitting by the front door. Throw in a heap of outside seating on the lower floor — overlooking the street, and under palm trees and umbrellas — and many a Brisbanite will have found their new laid-back go-to. Making the place even better, a kiosk out the front will serve food and coffee to those merely moseying on by, and once the train station renovations are complete, sauntering in pre- or post-commute is bound to become common.
Images: Atlanta Bell.