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FOOD & DRINK

Five New Brisbane Bars to Book a Trip to ASAP

Spend your weekend drinking vino in an inner-city winery or pairing tacos with tequila in the Valley.
By Sarah Ward
May 31, 2019
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Five New Brisbane Bars to Book a Trip to ASAP

Spend your weekend drinking vino in an inner-city winery or pairing tacos with tequila in the Valley.
By Sarah Ward
May 31, 2019
  shares

FIVE NEW BRISBANE BARS TO BOOK A TRIP TO ASAP

Spend your weekend drinking vino in an inner-city winery or pairing tacos with tequila in the Valley.

From opulent piano bars to all-day tapas spots hidden down laneways, Brisbane almost has it all when it comes to bars. But this hasn't stopped a horde of new and inventive ones from opening this year. A taco and tequila joint hidden inside a bar, a leafy and neon-lit cocktail bar and Brisbane's only inner-city winery have all recently opened their doors. Since we're almost half way through the year (yes, already), we thought it was time to take stock of what's popped up around town. We suggest booking in visits to these new drinking dens ASAP.

  • 5

    When the Emporium said goodbye to its old Fortitude Valley digs and relocated across the river at South Bank, it took its luxe look and feel with it. The relocated hotel is staycation central — but even if you can’t book a room and make an indulgent night of it, you can still drop by the venue’s glitzy new Piano Bar every day of the week. A cascading gold and crystal chandelier, plenty of shiny black mirrored surfaces and — of course — a piano are just the beginning at this cosy but lush spot, which is located on the hotel’s ground floor. Naturally, live music is a highlight. Hear a pianist tickle the ivories from 4pm from Monday–Saturday, and from 3pm on Sundays. On Friday and Saturday nights from 7.30pm, live jazz also echoes through the space. While you’re enjoying the decor and the soundtrack, make your way through the Piano Bar’s hefty 14-page drinks list. Classic cocktails (all $19), including four types of martini, take pride of place, but wine, beer and spirits lovers won’t leave disappointed. Piano Bar also offers a small food menu, starting with a cheese and finocchiona salami toasted sandwich ($12), as well as smashed avocado with poached eggs and smoked salmon ($16), all for brunch from 10am. All-day options include a whole baked camembert wheel ($20) — perfect for winter.

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  • 4

    For the past four years, Jacob Knauth has been slinging fried chicken out of The Brightside under the name of Lucky Egg. For his latest venture, he has hopped across the road set up Trash Taco, this time inside tiny bar Barbara. Mexican bites combine with Barbara’s hefty spirits menu in the 100-person venue, which operates from 5pm from Wednesday till Sunday. And yes, the eatery’s main dish is all there in its name — in fact, it’s very adamant that it doesn’t serve up burritos or enchiladas. Taco fiends can choose from pork, lamb, beef, chicken , vegetarian and bean for $6 a pop ($6.50 if you’d like a flour tortilla rather than corn). Or, you can opt for a make-your-own plate that also comes with pickles, guacamole and salsa, and is available for one ($17), two ($25), three ($33) or four ($41) people. Want something other than tacos? A few other dishes are on offer, including corn chips ($8), fried pork rinds ($6) and spicy drowned pork rolls ($12) to snack on, as well as chilaquiles ($9) — which are described as ‘like nachos, but saucier’. You can also tuck into barramundi ($8) or refried bean ($6) tostadas, or three types of quesadillas ($6.50–8). Pairing it all with a margarita or some mescal is obviously recommended.

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  • 3

    Spanish feasts are on the menu at Burnett Lane’s newest restaurant — and it’s serving up dishes all day long. El Matador serves Iberian-inspired breakfasts, plenty of tapas for lunch, dinner and everything in-between. And all come with drinks, naturally. Drop by first thing for Spanish tortillas with cheese and onion crisps; corn fritters paired with wood-roasted cherry tomatoes and smashed avocado; and coal-smoked king fish topped with shaved San Simon smoked cheese. Cava-filled bloody marys with paprika are also on the morning lineup, should you need something stronger than a coffee. For those heading along later in the day, expect a huge range of bite-sized selections — there’s a sizeable tapas and pintxos menu, which spans everything from four types of shellfish with salmorejo, alioli and lemon; to sticky pork ribs with smoked paprika; three-cheese tarts with baby figs and honey; and Spanish favourite patatas bravas. With the bar designed around an open kitchen, jamón and other cured meats from the humidor are also a highlight, as well as six types of Spanish cheese. As for drinks, you can tuck into one of three sangria jugs to share, pick from classic cocktails, or opt for an array of Spanish, local and international wines and beers.

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  • 2

    Throw a stone in Brisbane’s inner city, and it’ll likely hit a bar. Try to find somewhere that doesn’t just pour wine, but makes it, and it’s a completely different story. Until now, that is. Thanks to the opening of Brissie’s first urban micro-winery, stomping and sipping in the shadow of the CBD now go hand in hand. Located inside Campos Coffee’s old 500-square-metre warehouse in Fortitude Valley, City Winery Brisbane is a barrel room, cellar door and a 70-seat restaurant that’s open Wednesday–Sunday for lunch and dinner. Highlights on the food menu include small plates of smoked mussels, pork and liver terrine and grilled red claw, plus smoked fish rillette and roasted pumpkin with toasted grains. From the large plate selection, diners can choose from pork, sheep, beef, fish or sirloin, then match it with crunchy potato, grilled corn on the cob and cucumber sides. With a big fresh produce focus, Crane and his team source their ingredients from the establishment’s own market garden in Rosewood. They also butcher and dry-age their own meat, and make all of the bread, butter, yoghurt, cream and charcuterie that patrons will be eating.

    Images: Grace Elizabeth.

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  • 1

    Taking over the slice of Newstead that Chester Street Bakery once called home, Hello Gorgeous has one thing in common with its now-defunct predecessor: wherever you look, something catches the eye. In the site’s previous incarnation, colourful and inventive cakes screamed out for attention. Now, it’s the vivid decor. Given its name, this new watering hole isn’t pretending to be modest. It might be compact in size, accommodating up to 100 people, but Hello Gorgeous is designed to make an impact. Emblazoned with the venue’s moniker, a pink neon sign lights up one corrugated iron wall. Elsewhere, tropical prints and plants are scattered around the joint. Patrons grab drinks from a bar decked out with pastel pink tiles and gold detailing, then sit and sip at teal banquettes. House cocktails on tap and by the glass take pride of place on the drinks menu, and Hello Gorgeous’ staff can make most classic and contemporary concoctions by request; however, the venue’s list of non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic beverages is just as sizeable. Here, you can indulge in a few Hello Gorgeous gimlets or a trio of tipples made from the booze-free spirit Seedlip — or, back on the strong stuff, choose from more than 45 wines, 20-plus beers and ciders, and over 100 different types of spirits.

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