By City Swooner | August 16th, 2017
Australia’s third largest city and the hub of Queensland culture, Brisbane is renowned for its year-round summers and tropical weather, which means rooftop and outdoor bars are out in abundance. However, this river city also features it’s fair share of urban, underground-style establishments dotted around the West End and CBD… you just need to know where to find them. Lucky for you, our swooners have scouted out the city’s best venues, and handpicked the top 10 hot spots for you to take your next date.
A West End favourite for over 16 years, Lychee Lounge is loved by Brisbane locals and out-of-towners alike. The bar’s interior is a blend of East meets West aesthetics; oriental features coupled with contemporary furnishings that give the bar a sultry yet sophisticated ambience – the ideal setting for a fun, intimate date. Cocktails are Lychee Lounge’s specialty, and their ever-growing list of delectable drinks is tangible proof of this. The signature Lychee Lounge Martini is a must try… but don’t stop at the drinks. Pair your poison with a mouth-watering share plate – from hand-made, wild mushroom arancini balls to grilled haloumi wrapped in prosciutto and sautéed in salsa verde – the menu is certain to appease even the most discerning of palates.
Dark and unassuming from the outside, the Cobbler is a charming whiskey bar that bursts with character once you walk through the front doors. With over 400 whiskeys on offer, this stylish, New York style loft bar takes the notion of drinks very seriously. It’s so serious about whiskey, in fact, that ice is cut from a giant block so it doesn’t melt in the drink and dilute the taste. Although the bar doesn’t serve food, they have a BYO policy which allows patrons to bring their own snacks along. The vintage-style furnishings give the place a warm and homely feel, a wonderful environment for a casual yet cosy date.
A true gem located in the heart of Brisbane’s West End, The Loft is a vintage-style cocktail bar run by passionate and highly skilled mixologists. Described as a New York-style village bar that combines the sophistication of the Big Apple with Brisbane’s relaxed and low-key summer vibe, it’s the kind of venue that has something for everyone. Situated above the hustle and bustle of Boundary Street, The Loft offers an antique garden with loads of hanging greenery and an open deck – a gorgeous setting for a relaxed and casual date.
The Milk Factory is not your average pub – think sophistication of a cocktail bar without the pretentiousness. The interiors of this heritage building are fitted out with seafaring-style props and paraphernalia; anchors and oceanic murals adorn the walls, whilst the timber furnishings replicate the insides of a ship. The food selection at The Milk Factory ties in perfectly with the nautical aesthetic, the selection takes you on a culinary journey across the seas, with each meal representative of a different place on the map. What’s more, the menu shifts every three months, so the offering is always fresh and exciting. Gigs and comedy nights are also hosted regularly, so if you’re looking for somewhere fun and playful to take your date in Brisbane – The Milk Factory is it.
Elixir Bar delights itself on the tranquil environment it sets, nestled above the hustle and bustle of Brisbane’s Ann Street. It’s an urban sanctuary and the perfect place to meet up with a date or get to know someone new. Its uniqueness comes from its story, taking inspiration from the Elixir of Life tale in Chinese folklore. There are exceptional cocktails on offer, blended exclusively by Elixir’s ‘alchemists’, and the setting offers a clever mix of openness and intimacy, so if you’re after some privacy it’s there for the taking. Plus, you can still enjoy the great outdoors regardless of the weather, with a retractable roof protecting diners from the rain.
Set atop the Tryp Hotel, Up on Constance is the perfect place to wind-down after work with a drink or two, whilst soaking in the incredible views of Brisbane’s sunset. The setting is cosmopolitan, bright and airy, and the atmosphere buzzing, with classic music nights and regular live DJ sets. The share-style food menu features delicious eats such as crispy pork belly bao and spicy beef sliders, whilst the cocktail, wine and beer list is never-ending. Classy but not ostentatious, Up on Constance is a Brisbane favourite that is sure to impress your date.
The Bowery is an eclectic, warm and unassuming bar just waiting for you to call in. Named after the Bowery area in lower Manhattan, this bar definitely channels a New York vibe, with its exposed brick walls and sultry jazz tunes spinning away in the background. With the flashing lights of the nightclubs around it, The Bowery offers something different and relaxed that regular patrons adore. It has plenty of wine, beer and spirits on offer, but their real specialty is cocktails. So place your order and cosy up in one of the prohibition style booths, and let the setting do the talking.
If your date loves a quality drop, Grapy Therapy is a must. A wine connoisseur’s heaven, Grape Therapy houses Brisbane’s largest collection of premium, cellared and old Australian wines. The bar has a real gentlemen’s club feel to it, with dark timber accents, leather couches and warm lighting that creates an intimate yet inviting ambience. It’s a sophisticated venue with an equally sophisticated wine list, and if you find yourself peckish you can choose from a selection of cold meats and cheeses or order a crispy-based pizza from Ciccio’s Pasta Bar upstairs.
The Gresham, often described as a saloon, oozes old-world charm and features whiskey and bourbon aplenty. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you walk through the doors, especially as many of the whiskeys and bourbons on offer aren’t available anywhere else in Australia. In fact, it offers some of the highest calibre spirits in the country. If whiskey isn’t your thing the cocktails may sway you, designed to ease you into the taste of the spirit. The wonderful thing about The Gresham is that the bar itself has maintained the building’s original character and architecture, so it really is a unique space. Plus, rather than a dress policy, the bar has an attitude policy, so regardless of what you and your date are wearing, you’ll fit right in.
A cheeky underground den only accessible by a secret laneway door, this edgy Brisbane bar pays homage to one of New York’s most iconic neighbourhoods. Brooklyn Standard has a cool yet humble vibe – it’s the kind of place you can really let your hair down. What this bar lacks in food it makes up for in entertainment, with live music every night of the week playing everything from blues and rockabilly to funk and soul. If you find yourself a bit of a muso and think your date might be too, Brooklyn Standard is where it’s at.