Julius Pizzeria and its older brother Beccofino are widely regarded as two of Brisbane’s best Italian restaurants. Bar Brutus, a tiny wine and spritz bar inside the Town Square development in Fish Lane, is the third member of the family and arrived towards the end of 2020.
Located on the ground floor of a two-storey building designed by Richards & Spence (The Calile, Ada Lane, 19 James Street) with large windows, Brutus is a prime spot for people-watching on Fish Lane. Inside, there’s a slick, intimate fit-out by Oliver Burscough of Woodsters. There’s a long, white-marble bar lit with sphere lights, paired with black paneling and dark-brown bar stools.
Long-term Julius barman Stefan Angelovski joined here a co-owner. You’ll find him behind the bar serving a small, curated selection of aperitivi, spuntini and digestivi to just eight seats. Aperitivi are before-dinner drinks to whet the appetite, spuntini are small pre-dinner snacks and digestivi are herbal drinks that settle the stomach post-meal. This repertoire makes Brutus a prime destination before or after dinner.
The approachable wine list is mainly Italian and includes five whites, two roses and five reds. Then there are five spritzes, including The Mayor (Amaro Montenegro, Cynar, grapefruit bitters, Prosecco and soda) and Verdone (Hendrick’s gin, mint syrup, cucumber, Prosecco and green tea soda), five classic cocktails (Negroni, Americano, Bellini, et cetera) and five signature cocktails (try the Bergamonte, with Amaro Montenegro, Italicus, gin and lemon).
Expect a cocktail of the week, a weekly wine special and food specials such as oysters, crudo and gazpacho. Regular spuntini include toasted salted pepitas and almonds, crostini with Cantabrian anchovies and tomato salsa, and house-baked focaccia with mortadella and buffalo mozzarella.