Rooftop watering holes have come along way in Brisbane but a true sky-high lounge – think Ce La Vie and 1-Altitude in Singapore, Marini’s on 57 and SkyBar in Kuala Lumpur, or even 28 Skybar Lounge in Melbourne – has yet to make an appearance. Till now.
Janine Watton, of Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane, thinks she knows why it’s taken so long. “In Brisbane a lot of the new high-rise buildings are residential, which is very hard to open up to the public,” she says. “Same with the office spaces. Before us, there wasn’t a new [single use] hotel built in Brisbane for about 10 years.”
Watton is the director of sales and marketing at Four Points, and along with hotel general manager Brad Mercer is one of the driving forces behind Sazerac. Opening April 14 on the 30th floor of the 99 Mary Street property, this lounge bar will provide panoramic views of Brisbane from the heart of the CBD. “It will add a whole new element to the what’s on offer in the city,” Watton says.
The 150-pax venue will be semi-open to the elements with louvred windows. But Watton doesn’t want you to think of it as your typical stuffy hotel bar. “It’s ‘Sazerac’ and not ‘Sazerac at Four Points’,” she explains. “It’s a standalone bar with its own dedicated staff, who will be approaching it as its own venue.”
Four Points executive chef Ambrose Andrews is in charge of a menu that focuses on share plates, while Casey Hurst (formerly of Melbourne’s Candela Nuevo) and Justin Greenway (ex-Stingray) are designing a drinks list that will range from exotic cocktails to craft beer.
And while Brisbane may have been slow to take to the sky bar concept, Watton sees it as an opportunity for the city. “I love that each of the east coast cites has their own feel with their bars,” she says. “Brisbane has started to develop a rooftop experience and up high you can see a lot. From Sazerac you’ll see the hinterland in the south, right around to the planes landing in the north. Would you get the same in Sydney? With all the buildings, I’m not so sure.”