Fortitude Valley has never been so popular. Here are the best places to try, regardless of the time of day it is when you visit.

Fortitude Valley is the centre of Brisbane’s nightlife, but it wasn’t always that way. For most of its history since its settlement in the mid-19th century, it was the city’s department store hub: somewhere to shop – and do little else. That changed when the tram network closed in the ’60s, which choked off the area’s retail appeal.

After that, brothels, sex shops and illegal gambling dens moved in, earning the Valley a reputation as Brisbane’s hotbed for sleaze. But it also became a haven for the city’s alternative scene. Clubs such as The Terminus and The Beat Megaclub fostered Brisbane’s queer community, while the rest of the bars and clubs in the area nurtured nascent music genres: first punk, then electronic.

Although that dissident energy has persisted, these days the Valley is squarely back in the mainstream. Thanks to those initial pioneers this is still the best place in town to drink, catch a gig or have a dance, but it’s also fast becoming the best place in Brisbane for a meal, too.

Thanks to developments such as the Calile Hotel, the Ada Lane food precinct and Howard Smith Wharves (at the Valley’s doorstep), chefs from around town are jostling to set up shop here.


  • You'll find this new wave French brasserie on the ground-floor of the luxe Hotel X. Enter for French favourites and remixed classics. Plus, a cheese trolley, an oyster and caviar bar, and a 200-strong wine list.

  • Longrain’s Martin Boetz has returned to his hometown to open one of its most thrilling Thai dining experiences. He’s serving up punchy dishes like red curry with coconut braised duck, and fried whole fish with caramelised turmeric.

  • The successor to Longtime, one of Brisbane’s most celebrated Thai restaurants. As the name suggests, the site’s DNA hasn’t fundamentally changed – but the service is sharper, the space is more beautiful, and the food is more vibrant than ever.

  • Hit the the Calile Hotel’s 1960s neo-futurist diner for exquisite sushi and sashimi. But while it’s primed for special occasions, it isn’t here to hurt your wallet. Sip from an affordable list of sakes, Japanese whiskies and more than 150 international wines.

  • Not just any old noodles. These cult biang biang noodles are the perfect combination of firm and chewy. They might come packed with pork mince (or cumin lamb), garlic, soy sauce and shallots. Enjoy them alongside pork wontons and spring rolls in this no-fuss noodle joint.

  • Housed inside an 1890's brick building in The Valley, this moody Italian diner and wine bar lists more than 150 sustainable drops from Sicily and beyond. House-baked breads, pastas and antipasti sidle refined mains with a traditional twist.


  • A small-batch roastery that smells every bit the part.

  • A grocery and bakery for sweet treats and take-home meals.

  • Tucked down a laneway in the Valley, this homey cafe and retail space sells everything you need for the ultimate dinner party at home – think pantry staples, artisan condiments and chic homewares. You can also sit in and enjoy a rustic salad or sandwich with filter coffee by Semipro.

  • Agnes Restaurant’s popular lock-down era bakery now has a permanent home inside an old Queenslander in the Valley. It’s punching out five different types of sourdough, plus kouign-amanns, breakfast rolls, doughnuts and coffee by Bear Bones.

  • Hidden just off James Street, this cacti-filled eatery and shop is dedicated to Lebanese-style mezze and share plates, Ottolenghi-inspired salads, Japanese ceramics and plants – lots of them.

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  • An old pizzeria reborn as a beautiful coffee and breakfast spot.


  • The sharp follow-up to Cobbler.

  • Enter for arcade games, DJs and cheesburger spring rolls.

  • A rooftop oasis with splendid views across Fortitude Valley and the CBD. Come for Italian-leaning small plates and cocktails designed by Sydney's Maybe Sammy – one of the world's best bars.

  • Tucked up a laneway and hidden behind an unmarked brass door, this 1970s-inspired bar serves up elevated bar snacks and signature cocktails. Go for its retro-themed share plates, which might be a caviar bump with a shot of iced Belvedere Vodka.

  • More than 550 ways to take your gin and tonic.

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  • Fourteen storeys up and with capacity for 500 punters, it’s serving lengthy menus of sushi, ceviche, plus crispy garlic squid and a grilled 400-gram grade 9 Wagyu rib eye. For drinks, there are signature cocktails, a healthy sake list and stacks of Pisco Sours.


  • Womenswear from Isabel Marant, Acne Studios and more.

  • Timeless trans-seasonal basics in the thriving James Street retail precinct.

  • This long-running deli has one of the biggest ranges of smallgoods and pantry essentials in Brisbane.

  • Bold lines and vintage frames leap from the walls of this Brisbane eyewear boutique.

  • The Brisbane flagship for Byron Bay's enormously popular minimalist luxury brand.

  • Some of Australia’s favourite basics.