Since we’ve had them, Brisbane’s skyscrapers have been an unexplored opportunity; little more than backdrops on beguiling postcards for all but those who live and work in them. Last night, Sazerac changed all that. At 30 floors up, it is Brisbane’s very first sky bar.
Although neatly packaged atop Four Points by Sheraton on Mary Street, Sazerac isn’t designed to be your typical hotel venue. “We want it to be known as a standalone bar,” says Four Points director of sales and marketing, Janine Watton, who along with general manager Brad Mercer was a driving force behind the project. “We want it to have its own niches and its own quirks.”
Four Points is already a peculiarly narrow high-rise. It means Sazerac itself is surprisingly cosy, wrapping itself around the top of the building from west to east. Needless to say, the views are spectacular. Looking inland you see the city proper, its offices and apartment buildings staring straight back at you; to the east the river curls off in the distance around the Botanic Gardens. But it’s the main, northern-facing area, closest to the bar, that provides the best value. The outlook over the waterfront skyscrapers towards the Story Bridge beyond is genuinely stunning.
Sazerac is billed as lounge rather than a terrace, but the fit-out is coolly coloured in greys and black tiling, offset by a slatted wooden ceiling and subtle red highlights. The main area is populated by an elegant mix of Scandinavian-inspired lounge furniture; the flanks, with their louvred upper windows, tending toward more casual dry bars and seating for couples.
An open kitchen pumps out an abridged selection of share plates — think tamarind baby octopus or bourbon-laced barbeque pork — but unsurprisingly it’s the drinks list that takes centre stage. Bar managers Casey Hurst and Justin Greenway have put together an inventive series of twists on traditional cocktails backed by a carefully curated collection of French champagnes, new world wines and top shelf whiskies, bourbons and gins.
Beyond Sazerac, Watton sees sky bars as an opportunity for Brisbane to further differentiate itself from Melbourne and Sydney. “Brisbane has started to develop a rooftop experience,” she says. “Up high, you can actually see quite a lot in Brisbane … Would you get the same in Sydney? With all the buildings, I’m not so sure.”