One of the city’s original cocktail bars, Lychee started shaking up Brisbane way back in 1999, piloted by seasoned hospitality owners the Moubment Group (The Apo, Defiant Duck, Gerard’s Bar) until Peter Bierton took the keys in 2015. A civil engineer by day, Bierton gave his side project a minor face-lift but otherwise kept the classic Lychee vibe intact. Think red lighting and dark, oriental spaces – ideal for settling in until closing time.
The cocktail list has also been touched up, with Bierton and his staff creating a bunch of fresh takes on the classics. Peach and lemongrass gimlets sit neatly alongside Lychee Lounge martinis, with ingredients such as syrups to jams produced in-house to ensure the drinks reflect the venue’s distinctive personality.
Food is short but sweet. Ginger and pork dumplings, bitter melon dumplings and chicken yakitori with wasabi sesame seeds are designed not as the stars of the show, but to let the drinks take centrestage.
It’s a subtle update, staying true to Lychee devotees while also appealing to newcomers. Both groups crowd the pocket-sized joint nightly, cocktails in hand, watching as West End carries on raucously outside.