Death and Taxes
It’s a well-worn saying: you can be certain of two things in life, death and taxes. In Brisbane, though, you can at least be sure of something else: if Martin Lange opens a bar, it’s bound to be excellent. He’s behind some of the best boltholes in town (and indeed on the east coast): Cobbler, Savile Row and Finney Isles. Before that, there was the much-loved, long-closed Sling Bar in West End, which Lange co-owned with Blake Ward.
In 2019, Lange re-partnered with Ward to open Death and Taxes in Burnett Lane in the CBD. Wiebke Lange (Martin’s wife) is a third partner, while long-term Lange lieutenant Sam Tripet manages the venue and has a small stake in the business.
Inspired by the underground bars of London and Paris, Death and Taxes is designed to encourage guests to forget the outside world: the interior is defined by warm lighting, a high-set bar with a tiled front, and a line of sumptuous leather booths. The space transitions neatly from the open front room to the wood-lined, heritage-listed back area with its 100-year-old floors; here it feels less a bar and more like an opulent art gallery. The classy flourishes extend to the exterior, with large lion door knockers and couple of murals adorning the brick walls that act as an entryway from the main lane.
For booze, more than 600 bottles line a four-metre-tall back bar, fuelling a 30-drink-strong cocktail list. You might try a Dr. Know-All, with Tanqueray gin, snow pea, vanilla and peppermint crème, shaken with egg whites; the Huntsman – and old-fashioned style mix of Singleton 12 scotch whisky, manzanilla, Benedictine and apple caramel; or a sunnier Sleeping Giant, with pamper Anejo rum, pineapple and coconut curd, Pedro Ximenez and Branca Menta. There are also 40 bottles of wine, including a bunch of dessert vinos.
There’s no food menu, but Death and Taxes shares Cobbler’s approach – BYO grub is accepted and even encouraged.