5 (or is it 9) awesome places to eat and drink in Brisbane

When I first visited Brisbane almost 15 years ago, there weren’t really any good places to go for a drink. But now, with the small bar culture sinking its claws into the flanks of Brissie’s hospitality industry, things are a-changing.

Limes hotel and rooftop

A few weeks ago Mrs Romance and I went to visit the effervescently awesome Nikki from Styling You, and we got to hang out together in a few of Brissie’s top spots.

Fortitude Valley is Brisbane’s most exciting suburb for entertainment and partying. And it all seems to culminate on the corner of two streets in the heart of the suburb: on Alfred and Constance streets.

Alfred and Constance

Alfred & Constance

This is an enormous venue that owner Damien Griffiths has cleverly separated into very different experiences. It’s created three or four very distinctive areas for people to eat, drink and make whatever they want of their night without having to leave the premises… which is a very nifty trick, isn’t it?

Originally two great big queenslander houses, Griffiths has had them joined together into one big house party.

The Vanguard Beer Garden Bar

This is the mainstay of A & C. Taking up the entire ground floor, this is where the eating happens. Oh, the food! Unbelievable. We all tucked into some of the tapas style snacks like soft shell crab rolls, lamb ribs and slow roast pork belly.

Then shit got real when Mr Styling You and I delved into our respective burgers. The Chicken Schnitzel Burger was good, but the A&C Burger was extreme. Best thing on the menu – but go with an empty stomach.

The desserts are also intense!

Open: Lunch & Dinner 12pm till late Wed to Sun (kitchen open till close)

alfred - constance (c) florian groehn-12

White Lightning Tiki Bar

Upstairs to the Vanguard the funky straw-topped tiki bar and tropo-loco cocktail menu of White Lightning beckons you like a Hawaiian princess. The loungy rooftop garden and kitsch décor are set to make good any promises of a great night out with friends.

Open: Wed & Thurs 5pm – 12am, Fri & Sat 5pm – 3am and Sun 2pm till late

I should also mention there are a few more mini-venues at A&C:

– Alfred’s Café, serving café-type things, open Mon to Fri 7am – 3pm, Sat & Sun brunch & coffee from 8am.
– Tunes Bar, offering DJ’d music and drinks: open Wed & Thurs 5pm – 12am and on Fri, Sat & Sun 5pm – 1am.
– Late Night Dessert Cafe & Alcoholic Juice Bar, whose title I think speaks for itself! Open Wed-Sun 11am – 12am.

Kwan brothers

Kwan Brothers

(Sadly no longer open)

This is a bit of a startling little place. “Inspired by the hawker markets of Singapore, the night markets of Hong Kong, the izakayas of Tokyo and the street carts of Bangkok,” Kwan Bros is like a strange, dark little bar in some Asian city backstreet.

The menus – both food and drink – are as fun, funky and f… messed up as the place itself. The cocktails look amazing, and I honestly want to sink my teeth into the bao they do here.

Kwan Brothers is gritty, lived in and has a great sense of humour.

Open: Kitchen: Mon-Thurs 12pm-3pm then 5pm-11pm, Fri-Sun 12pm-11pm. Bar: 12pm till late 7 days a week.

Alfredos Pizzeria Brisbane

Alfredo’s Pizzeria

(Sadly no longer open)

Done up like the type of little Italian pizza shack you’d find down a Brooklyn alley, Alfredo’s offers – other than a killer pizza menu of course – a nice selection of snacks and a pretty good bar menu too. Best of all, they deliver. Drinks as well as food! Genius.

Open: Sun-Thurs 12pm-1am, Fri-Sat 12pm-3am

Limes hotel and rooftop cinema

Limes Hotel rooftop bar and cinema

A little way down the Constance Street is another of Damien Griffiths’ masterpieces. On top of the Limes Hotel is a bar with great views out over the city. The bar’s not badly stocked, though I’d like to see a few more craft beers on tap, and the feel of the place is suitably slick.

Incredibly, out the back is an outdoor cinema where they screen movies on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and – if you feel like a dip – a couple of hot tubs!

Open: Wed-Thur 5pm-12am, Fri-Sat 3pm-3am, Sun 3pm-12am.

Dutch Courage Officers Mess

Dutch Courage, Officers’ Mess

Designed to look like a speak-easy but with a bit more glamour, the Dutch Courage OM specialises in spirits. It has a good beer and wine selection, but it’s gin that this place is known for. With over 150 different types on the shelf, you will find something here for you – even if you’re not really into gin!

Food here is excellent. The chicken skewers, the cheese platter and the cheese and saffron arancini balls certainly caught my attention!

This would be a great date night venue or a pre-dinner drinks spot.

Open: Tues-Thurs 4pm till late, Fri-Sat 4pm-3am, Sun 4pm till late.

Brisbane’s night scene has certainly changed for the better – offering so much to punters out for a good night. This spot is the best answer to the tough question: “where are we going?”

I’ve been in the situation so many times where my mates have all sat on the fence as to where to go. Drives me bonkers. But this little area of the Valley answers all questions. It’s the perfect cure-all for an apathetic group or the easily distracted!

What’s your favourite bar in Brisbane?

Images by Mrs Romance and courtesy of respective venues’ Facebook galleries.


  • Reply September 26, 2014

    Sonia from Sonia Styling

    That Nikki sure knows her Brisbane (bars)! I’ve enjoyed a cocktail and a boogie at Cloudland and I also like Regatta Hotel for a relaxed afternoon of food and wine.

    • Reply September 27, 2014

      Mr Romance

      She certainly does, Sonia! I’ve never been to Cloudland but it looks pretty popular. There was a big ol’ queue out the front as we went past the other night. Will have to get Nikki to take us to Regatta next time we’re up. Sounds good!

      • Reply December 23, 2014


        Cloudland is gorgeous! A bit too loud for me (I don’t like to yell to people, but take that it a grain of salt, because I’m not a big bar person). Worth a visit!

        A great tip I was given is don’t go to the ladies’ bathrooms for the first time while drunk. It’s confusing enough when sober 🙂

        • Reply December 28, 2014

          Mr Romance

          Ah yes, I’ve heard Cloudland is hte place to be seen at, Vanessa. Will give it a go next time I’m up! Thanks for the tip though. Will pass it on to Mrs Romance! 🙂

  • Oh how I wish we were doing this again very soon … come back Romances!!

    • Reply September 27, 2014

      Mr Romance

      We’re working on it, Nikki! Always working on it! 😉

  • Reply September 27, 2014

    Nick Deane

    As always, some great places to go hang out and have a drink over the weekend! I just wish I was closer to you guys over in Brisbane. Best of luck and cheers!

    • Reply September 27, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Thanks Nick! Well, perhaps one day you’ll be able to get over here and sample some of what Australia’s go to offer first hand!
      Cheers mate

  • Reply October 4, 2014


    My home town! There are so many great places in Brisbane.

    Next time, I’d recommend Greaser (in the Valley, on Brunswick St) for one of the best cheeseburgers I’ve ever had. Then head to Caxton St, and give Lefty’s and Brewski a go. You won’t be disappointed!

    • Reply October 4, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Seriously great town to go out in, Shona! I am extremely interested in heading to Greaser and trying that cheeseburger! Caxton Street locked in too!
      I visited Tippler’s Tap the last time we were there. Very impressive Reuben sandwich!

  • […] is the Limes Hotel’s rooftop bar in Brisbane, Qld we visited. It’s in a great little area with a collection of great little […]

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