From a relocated outlet for your favourite American, to one of the jazziest Vietnamese joints in town, these are the Brisbane openings everyone’s talking about right now.
The space is an old two-storey apothecary. Inside it’s a fantastical collision of 19th-century brick, leather curtains, polished concrete and marble feature walls. Designs by Alexander Lotersztain and Michael Anastassiades pepper the more intimate spaces.
The Moubaraks have brought with them expert barkeep Perryn Collier, who’s overseen the development of a series of house-prepared bottled cocktails (a sly nod to the venue’s medicinal history), and chef Braden White, whose imaginative menu is designed to evolve week-to-week.
Go for share plates in the moodily lit bistro downstairs, or just hang out in the breezier bar environs found at the top of the giant oak-lined staircase.
690 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
(07) 3252 2403
Todd and Marisa Clayton have brought their 5 Boroughs concept to Ascot, with its focus on 21st-century New York street food given a refined twist.
The new venue is an opportunity to do things differently; seating for 60 people complemented by a lengthy bar, which adds space for another 35. Out back is where the real magic happens, though. The garden bar is a cosy, inviting green space populated by hanging ferns and elegant outdoor seating.
Otherwise, it’s that same attention to detail 5 Boroughs nails week-in and week-out at Stones Corner outlet, but this time on the very salubrious Racecourse Road.
120 Racecourse Road, Ascot
(07) 3268 7400
Jamie Webb (Lefty’s Music Hall, Sonny’s House of Blues, Gordita) has delivered again with Ginger’s Diner, a mash-up of two separate inspirations – a hole-in-the-wall Korean joint he used to frequent in New York, and his childhood love of the hit TV show MASH*.
But this isn’t a nostalgia-fuelled passion project: Ginger’s fills a practical niche for tasty, no-fuss Korean food on the western fringe of the city, driving it home with an effervescent drinks list that has fun referencing the 4077th.
The darkened and perhaps surprisingly understated digs; all low lights, cement floors, exposed brick and lush wallpaper, do the rest.
19 Caxton Street, Petrie Terrace
(07) 3369 0555
Emily Russell and Brian Kennedy have brought their cult Newstead bar to the masses at South Bank, shifting into the premises of a now defunct second venture, Tomahawk.
Don’t be dubious: the new location works. Russell and Kennedy retain the charm of the original. You’ll find the same American landscapes and signature pinball machine, and they’ve added a long street-side dry bar – perfect for people-watching – as well as a line of cosy booths.
Tippler’s focal point remains the 13 taps sunk flush into a wall behind the bar, which host a shifting line-up of craft brews. A small kitchen wraps around behind, serving a refined menu of Chicago-style sandwiches, hot dogs and sliders. New location or not, though, the wings and fries remain crowd favourites.
5/182 Grey Street, South Bank
Anna Demirbek went on holiday and came back dreaming of opening a restaurant. Uncle Ho is the result – a Vietnamese beer cafe inspired by multiple trips to the country and frequenting its bia hoi stalls (bia hoi is a frothy kind of beer).
The venue is perhaps more polished than those Hanoi eateries, but otherwise sticks close to tradition, chef Tuan Ngo (formerly of Melbourne’s Chin Chin) creating a varied and interesting menu.
There are fresh rice paper rolls, banh mi, and seafood ha cao dumplings. A bia hoi house beer is specially brewed for Uncle Ho. Enjoy your food and drink in the moodily lit interior with its propaganda-style posters, or on the street atop an expansive deck under the giant, fairy-lit figs that line East Street. Either way, don’t be afraid to stay for a few more bia hois.
7/826 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
(07) 3161 4688