Brisbane is packed with great bars and restaurants, but it isn’t always obvious which ones do both jobs well. To help, we’ve rounded up 10 of our city’s best spots for drinks with dinner.
As befits a former apothecaries’ hall, The Apo serves a range of inventive concoctions, thanks in part to Top 25 World Class bartender Daniel Gregory. How about porcini and wild mushroom in your Bloody Mary? Or try the Velvet Underground – vanilla-and-camomile tea, gin, rock candy and lemon. The food menu is just as inventive. Order the wallaby with fermented muntries (native berries); or for dessert, the nitrogen parfait.
Known for its impressive cellar (and chandelier-heavy ceiling), Cru’s cocktail list doesn’t disappoint. Take a seat at the open window and enjoy deciding which Espresso Martini will go best with (or serve as) dessert. Cru has four, including the Tiger Blood, with butterscotch schnapps and chilli-sugar syrup. Other cocktail options include the Old Maid, made with Tanqueray gin, lime, sugar syrup and mint.
The cocktail list at Gerard’s is a tribute to the classics – Mint Julep, Negroni, Pisco Sour. Choose your own Martini, made the way you like it, or mark autumn’s arrival with the Fine Fig Feature, a blend of cognac, sherry, spiced-fig syrup, lime and apple juice. Pair it with smoked lamb sweetbreads or coal-grilled octopus.
Harveys Bar and Bistro
Harveys is both charming (modern décor, green and leafy surrounds) and disarming (relaxed service, classic Aussie fare with a twist). The tart I Don’t Need No 10k Back Bar Caprioska – featuring Ketel One Vodka, Amaro Montenegro pink grapefruit juice, fresh citrus, and sugar-rich syrup – wins for best name, but also try the Currant Collins, made with Ketel One vodka, blackcurrant liqueur, fresh citrus and lemonade.
On the Brisbane River down at Eagle Street, Pony has sweeping views, a lovely garden terrace and great cocktails. Whet your appetite with one of its signatures; the Susie, made with Ketel One vodka, elderflower liqueur, grapefruit, agave and fresh lemon, served straight up. For something different, try the Jalisco Java, which not unlike an Espresso Martini, but with tequila.
Urbane is for occasion dining (think five- or eight-course degustation), and the drinks rise to the occasion. Cocktails are of the seasonal variety you’d expect, and Urbane also does contemporary spins on classics: a Spiced Julep with chocolate bitters, orange and mint; and a Very Ginger Mule, with vodka, ginger liqueur, lime, lychee and ginger beer.
Saké Restaurant and Bar
Where else in the city will you find fruit imports such as yuzu, ume and yamamomo berry? Instead of straight sake, try a Saint Tropez, made with Tanqueray gin, Shiroku-blended yuzu sake, sweet basil and lemon. For something more familiar, try the Miss Wednesday – Sake’s version of a lychee Caprioska.
Thanks to its central locale, Public is good for an after-work drink and some interesting tapas. Order the emu tartare or a bowl of cumin olives with the Space Gin Smash, made with gin, mint, grapes, elderflower, lemon and apple. There are also plenty of low- and no-alcohol options, such as the Elderflower Fizz – a blend of elderflower, pink pepper, honey and basil. Or the Malabar Crush – gin, lime, ginger, pok pok tamarind and cardamom tincture.
Aria is a slick operator, and has a range of cocktails as refined as its food. The Australian Negroni features gin, vermouth and riberry aperitif – ideally paired with the moreton bay bugs with shiitake and seaweed butter – while their Bittersweet Symphony matches vodka with peach, lemon, passionfruit and bitter orange aperitif.
Stokehouse keeps things light, fresh and seasonal at both the restaurant and its adjoining Stoke Bar. Try the Fig Tang Swizzle featuring Tanqueray gin, fig reduction, and a bitter grapefruit organic elixir with the soft shell crab slider, milk bun, baby gem, and Marie Rose sauce; or the Wood-Fired Old Fashioned - Bulleit Rye bourbon, agave syrup and chocolate bitters prepared over smoking triple sec-soaked woodchips – with the Rangers Valley rump minute steak, rocket, Grana Padano, and aged balsamic. Service here is a cut above, so don’t hesitate to ask for a recommendation – if you can tear your eyes from the view.
This article is presented in partnership with World Class.