The Playmaker
Let's play
  • It's Friday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Melbourne
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?

Brisbane's Got Festival Fever: A Visitor's Guide to the Best Places to Unwind Between Non-Stop Tunes

Give your ears and feet a rest between the epic lineup of springtime festivals by visiting these standout Brisbane venues.
By Alec Jones
September 05, 2023
By Alec Jones
September 05, 2023


in partnership with

Give your ears and feet a rest between the epic lineup of springtime festivals by visiting these standout Brisbane venues.

Oh springtime, we missed you. Chase away those winter blues and bring back the sunshine. With sunshine comes warm air and warm smiles, festivities and just a great vibe blooming like a bright flower across the city. The springtime is chockablock for Brisbane, especially if you're in town for some of September's several music festivals, aka the Brisbane Music Trail.

This eclectic offering combines the strengths of BIGSOUND, Brisbane Festival, Sweet Relief! and Future Art. Quite the offering, no? It's set to be a hectic few weeks for festivalgoers, and you'll need to take breaks. When it comes to accommodation, you can nab a sweet deal of general entry to Sweet Relief! plus a luxury stay for two at Crystalbrook Vincent. Otherwise, we've done the legwork to pick apart the River City for the finest bars and restaurants to rest your feet and ears in between gigs this September.

  • 8
    Interior of The green

    If you’re the sort of person who has more plants than pieces of furniture at home, then this venue is an ideal pick for your inter-gig dining needs. As obvious by the name, The Green appreciates the presence of a few dozen house plants, too, oxygenating the airy interior even further and providing a lovely backdrop for your meal. Look up for cascading plants both indoors and in its outdoor dining pavilion and garden room. Plus, you can browse the selection for a leafy companion to take home afterwards or any number of handmade goods on the shelves.

    The food is spread across a breakfast and lunch menu of Middle Eastern cuisine, including shakshuka or cardamon and tahini porridge with fresh banana and salted sesame brittle. Come lunchtime, the menu includes smaller share plates of breads and dips and mains like Mooloolaba king prawns with rose harissa, brown butter and dill and lamb shawarma with Lebanese pita, ox hart tomato biwaz and onion, fermented tomato shatta and mint yoghurt.

    READ MORE Add to Playlist
    Want to start building your ultimate playlist?

    Start creating a personalised itinerary — or add to an existing list. Save it, share it and take it with you on your next local adventure.

  • 7

    If you’ve never tried a Lune Croissant, then you’re about to have a life-changing experience. These croissants have made it into bakery stardom with a specialised recipe that results in a crunchy, buttery crescent-shaped treat that can’t be beaten (the New York Times says it’s the world’s finest). The founder is a former F1 aerodynamicist who brings a lens of science and engineering to the craft, going as far as to use climate-controlled glass tubes in the baking process.

    So what makes this worth a visit? The South Brisbane venue serves up a menu of Lune’s favourite croissants seven days a week, alongside monthly rotating specials. Past extras include lemon curd cruffins, a muffin-croissant hybrid made with lemon curd, citrus sugar and candied lemon zest; and coconut kouign-amanns, a traditional pastry from the Bretagne part of France, filled with coconut caramel and desiccated coconut. Getting in early is recommended because Lune operates on daily batches, so when it’s sold out, you’ll need to come on a different day.

    READ MORE Add to Playlist
  • 6

    One of the youngest entries on this list, Fosh officially opened its doors on August 17, 2023. From its riverside position in Portside, Fosh puts you in the mood for something fishy. Good thing the team is chock full of seafood experts. The owners trace their roots across Brisbane’s seafood scene to the late, great Fatcow Steak & Lobster, plus George’s Paragon Seafood in Sanctuary Cove. Fosh occupies a 700-metre space that puts you in sight of stunning river views, within range of a fireplace and within reach of an island bar. Talk about a holy trinity.

    On the food front, you can be fancy with a starter of caviar bumps with optional vodka and champagne or simpler classics like prawn cocktails or barbecued octopus. Moving onto mains will introduce you to your new loves: dry-aged fish, Moreton bay bugs with spaghetti, a kilogram of mussels, fresh rock lobster or twice-cooked chicken. And if the little treat fairies in your ear get the better of you, turn your sweet tooth to chocolate cake with raspberry gel or lemon tart and creme caramel with orange segments.

    Images: Blank Studios / Markus Ravik.

    READ MORE Add to Playlist
  • 5

    Visitors to Brisbane will spend some time wandering the city’s famous waterways, so optimise your experience by heading to the nice parts. One such area is the Howard Smith Wharves, a bustling area that’s home to a Greek waterfront eatery in an ideal dining spot, Greca.

    Considering the waterfront atmosphere, it’s no surprise that the menu goes heavy on seafood. You can start light and simple with bread and dips or a plate of oysters, or dive headfirst into the adventurous Poseidon’s plate, a collection of cooked and cold seafood from across the menu. Otherwise, turn your eyes and stomach to the charcoal swordfish, eggplant moussaka or grilled lamb cutlets to fill your table. Blend it with a vintage Greek salad or a side of roast potatoes, and top off the experience with specialty desserts like the avgolemono pie.

    Image: Nikki To

    READ MORE Add to Playlist
  • 4

    Bianca is a member of a big family of Brisbane restaurants, ranging from Japanese and Thai cuisine to tequila bars. All these eateries are from the same team, and they bring their stamp of quality to this trattoria that specialises in gentle twists on Mediterranean favourites.

    The wider menu is divided across a few choices — smaller groups dig into the a la carte menu, which ranges from scallop crudo with squash and preserved lemon to mafalde beef ragu with aged pecorino to over a dozen antipasti options and a small range of desserts. Of course, Italian means great drinks, too — Italian wines or cocktails are available, including a Campari, creme de peche, white peach and orange juice blend, or a combination of gin, apricot, rosemary and lemon. Larger groups of diners, AKA seven or more, can dig into set menus that draw from the wider A la carte selection, with smaller and larger menu pricing at $84 or $130 per person. If you’re travelling with a big group in tow, this is our recommendation.


    READ MORE Add to Playlist
  • 3
    Yoko Dining

    Returning to the Howard Smith Wharves near our old friend Greca, we turn our attention to its close neighbour Yoko Dining. This openair eatery brings the atmosphere of a Tokyo music bar to the Brisbane riverside to great effect. The vibes are vinyl-fuelled and laced with retro energy, filling a box space made with timber framework, concrete and just a few splashes of colour.

    The food comes either from a hibachi grill or a raw bar — that dishes out nikkei tuna ceviche, oysters and assorted sashimi. The hot offerings include spicy pork udon, karaage chicken wings and premium cuts of wagyu aplenty. And desserts range from mochi to orange and lemon myrtle sorbet. One of Yoko’s main drawcards is the drink menu, packed with Japanese cocktails, spirits, whiskeys, wines and beers for all.

    READ MORE Add to Playlist
  • 2
    Valley Hops Brewing

    You’ve probably worked up a thirst at this point on your journey along the Brisbane Music Trail and through all these wonderful restaurants. Let’s make a stop at Valley Hops Brewing to fix it. Located in Fortitude Valley (do you get the name now?), this brewery has brought a slice of leafy and hoppy paradise to the Brisbane skyline with a setup towering over Ann Street. Sure, most breweries are a bit closer to the ground, but Valley Hops is self-sufficient even at altitude.

    The brewskis are split across a core and seasonal range, the former made of a fruity exhibitionist tropical ale, interloper hazy IPA, Diehards original lager (which nods to the local NRL team) and more. The latter range, currently titled ‘Nocturnal Animals’, involves a watermelon cold IPA, oatmeal stout, mango and passionfruit sour and more. Pair your drinks with hot and hearty snacks designed to be held one-handed (leaving more room for beer) like pizza, hot chips, wagyu sticks and ‘schmiddies’.

    READ MORE Add to Playlist
  • 1

    A lesser-known fact about The Great Gatsby is that it only achieved its global popularity after author F Scott Fitzgerald passed away. But it’s a testament to the quality that its influence can be found today all over the world, like in The Gatsby Lounge Bar, a thoroughly 1920s venue that would make Gatsby himself blush. Found in the historic GPO building, it’s a late-night, walk-in-only bar on the upper level that is as lavish as you’d expect.

    Don’t come hungry because food isn’t the focus here; it’s the 74-page drink menu that takes up the spotlight. Soak up the ambience of a DJ and live saxophonist while you enjoy tipples of champagne, wine, beer, whiskey, spirits and, of course: cocktails. Cocktails like a chilli-infused tequila and mango gasper, a Gatsby bellini using peach tea-infused vermouth, or a cocktail made with edible citrus paint. You can also keep it simple with classics like manhattans, negronis and martinis — or build your own on that classic base by choosing a combination of spirits, mixers and garnishes to craft your own take.

    READ MORE Add to Playlist

For more information on the Brisbane Music Trail and to book tickets to the festivals, visit the website

  •   shares
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x
Counter Pixel