From a suburban local dedicated to pickles, to a hidden bolthole smack bang in the middle of Fortitude Valley, here are the recent bar openings everyone’s talking about.
Blind Tiger, run by Robert Harding, owner of The Moustachery barbershop next door, is partly an extension of that highly distilled man cave – a slick, lowly lit speakeasy with close to 50 different whiskies and 16 different rums available. A half-dozen taps swing through a rotation of craft beers from brewers such as Rogers, Stone & Wood and Green Beacon. The imaginative cocktail menu references the old-school tunes the bar plays – Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald, and so on. A short food menu deals in cheeseboards, charcuterie plates, sliders and the like, but let’s be honest: you’ll come here for the booze. Grab a table and watch the buzzy Bulimba village life pass by outside.
1B/204 Oxford Street, Bulimba
0432 434 943
Greenhill Bar and Dining
Sharing the bisected old Casablanca site with recently opened Fritzenburger, Greenhill’s fit-out has a raw, industrial aesthetic of exposed brickwork and polished concrete. The cocktail menu is the main draw, centred around Melbourne Moonshine, a small-batch Victorian producer. Combinations include Moonshine Fizz (a take on a Gin Fizz), Bootlegger Lemonade (sour mash and house-made lemonade), and When Life Gives You Apples (Melbourne Moonshine’s Apple Pie shine, spiced-honey-and-apple syrup, herbal liquor and sparkling). The bar menu offers small plates such as prawn crackers, edamame and baked brie; more substantial items include a trio of sandwiches (featuring a peanut-braised pork shoulder number), a steak and a cheeseboard.
48 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane
(07) 3367 2308
Hope and Anchor
Jamie Webb is no stranger to the hospitality scene. The restaurateur’s portfolio already includes Ginger’s and Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, both on Caxton Street. His latest venture is inside a heritage-listed cottage further up the hill on Given Terrace. There’s a strong Australian line-up of beers on tap and in tin, including the Gold Coast’s Balter and Sydney’s Young Henrys. Wines by the glass, top-shelf spirits and a short selection of cocktails round out the rest of the drinks menu. Food is a collection of simple, British-inspired bar snacks such as chip butties and devils on horseback, and more substantial plates such as a half baby chicken and a classic steak.
267 Given Terrace, Paddington
(07) 3367 8300
Up an interminable flight of stairs at 210 Wickham Street is Tomcat, the Valley’s newest drinking den. The main bar is a grungy, rambunctious space dotted with dry bars and lined by private seating areas. The staff keeps things speedy with a straightforward, rotating selection of beer, cider and wine, fronted by a couple of cocktail taps. The drinks are backed by a short menu of pizza, available by the pan or slice. It’s on the other side of the venue where things get truly interesting. If you can find it, The Boiler Room encourages longer sessions over a cocktail menu anchored in the house specialty: Rèmy Martin cognac. The venue offers bottle service; if you’re into it, purchase a keeper and stash it behind the bar long term.
210 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley
Opening back in March, Ploughman owners Larraine Henning and Leigh Graham have introduced Brisbane locals to the combined magic of pickles and beer. As you might expect, the menu is driven by the briny stuff. There are variations of ploughman’s platters on offer, and a sandwich might be stuffed with grilled cheese and sauerkraut, or perhaps pastrami on rye. But this is a bar first and foremost. To that end there are Brisbane ales rotating through on tap along with a selection of international beers and ciders, boutique wine and Australian small-batch spirits – McHenry gin from Tasmania, Hoochery rum from Western Australia.
3/15 Samford Road, Alderley