Australia’s third largest city, Brisbane is situated in one of the best geographic locations in the country. Straddling the sinuous Brisbane River, Queensland’s sun-kissed capital is home to a thriving creative scene and a plethora of bars, cafes and restaurants. HEY GENTS hit the road in a MINI Countryman to track down some of the city’s best spots.
Eat & Drink
26 Wellington Rd, East Brisbane
Just a short drive south across Story Bridge leads you to Allpress Cafe, Brisbane. Allpress is the kind of cafe that takes pride in serving up consistently great coffee. You can rest assured that your morning brew is in the skilled hands of a well-trained barista, or learn the tricks of the trade yourself at one of their coffee-making classes. Make this your first stop of the day for perfectly soft-boiled eggs and soldiers or a mixed plate with sourdough, tomato, avocado and eggs.
King Arthur Cafe
164C Arthur St, Fortitude Valley
The high-energy shopping and dining precinct off James Street is continually being shaped by new cafes and restaurants, but King Arthur Cafe is a veritable institution in the area. Grab a seat upstairs in the light-filled loft and enjoy creative cafe meals and espresso, made with passion and served up by friendly staff in a sleek, minimalist space beneath a huge curved ceiling.
48 James St, Fortitude Valley
If you’re tempted by the idea of traditional Greek fare and poolside cocktails, make sure to stop by Hellenika, on the first floor of The Calile Hotel. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can choose to be seated in an exposed brick dining room or on a breezy alfresco terrace. Head along with a group of friends and enjoy mezze plates and larger sharing plates, complemented by an eclectic wine list.
Restaurant Dan Arnold
10/959 Ann St, Fortitude Valley
For something special, spend an evening dining at Restaurant Dan Arnold. After seven years spent working in Michelin-starred restaurants throughout France,the Brisbane-born chef has returned home to open his first signature restaurant. Focused on celebrating Australian flavours and techniques while respecting the traditions he learnt in France, Dan’s dishes are as much a feast for the eyes as the taste buds. Diners can choose between a three-course set menu or a five-course degustation menu.
1 Ella St, Newstead & 300 Elizabeth St, Brisbane City
With a philosophy like “eat donuts for breakfast”, you can expect a light-hearted atmosphere at Nodo’s two Brisbane locations. You can leave the guilt aside, though, when selecting from their range of naturally gluten-free, ‘baked-not-fried’ donuts. Add to that an inventive, seasonal brunch menu and superb coffee and it’s easy to see why Nodo is a local favourite.
6 Warner St, Fortitude Valley
The new kid on the block, Little Valley arrived on the Brisbane scene less than a year ago and has been delighting locals and visitors with its neo-Chinese brand of cuisine ever since. A smart dining room and relaxed bar spill out to an open-air garden, establishing an ambiance of laidback sophistication. Dining here is a fun experience, with dishes drawing influence from the urban sprawl of Hong Kong to the varied regions of China.
164B Arthur St, Fortitude Valley
Housed in an ex-World War II surplus building with an interior defined by old-world European style, Mosconi Restaurant & Wine Bar promises to deliver a memorable dining experience in more ways than one. Located just off James Street in Fortitude Valley, stop in for lunch or dinner to peruse a menu as innovative as the decor. Flavoursome European fare is the order of the day, with specialties like hiramasa kingfish crudo, grilled octopus and duck ragu bringing diners through the doors year-round.
Shop G14/48 James St, Fortitude Valley
From high-end retail outlets to a multitude of independent boutiques, Brisbane’s shopping scene has a lot to offer. Venroy is the brainchild of two friends from Bondi who aspired to build a brand based on the carefree ethos of their home town. Drop into their Fortitude Valley store to browse an extensive range of predominantly linen-focused leisurewear, with splashes of cotton, cashmere and Japanese denim.
171 Robertson St, Fortitude Valley
With successful stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, Living Edge’s Brisbane showroom is a beautiful, split-level space designed by prominent Brisbane architects Richards & Spence. The minimal aesthetic allows each piece of designer furniture to shine, with both residential and commercial ranges displayed in a variety of internal and external spaces.
Shop 7/65 James St, Fortitude Valley
Assembly Label’s Fortitude Valley store showcases their defining Australian coastal aesthetic, with collections combining simple styles and relaxed cuts. The brand’s clean and considered image extends to the store fit out by Mr & Mrs White; the brightly lit, minimalist space makes the clothing the star.
19 James St, Fortitude Valley
Nudie Jeans’ Brisbane store may be small, but it’s well stocked with all the Nudie styles and the knowledgeable staff are happy to help you find your perfect fit. They’ll even fix your old Nudie jeans for free, with repairs done in-store.
71 James St, Fortitude Valley
From furniture that channels Scandinavian form and function to an extensive range of homewares including an assortment of striking Marimekko pieces, the quality products on display at The Modern will inspire you to reimagine your own living space. You’ll also find a good selection of Australian brands as you wander through their newly renovated showroom.
The Calile Hotel
48 James St, Fortitude Valley
The Calile Hotel is the epicentre of the bustling James Street precinct, with many of the area’s prominent retail outlets either within the hotel building itself or directly alongside it. The design of this urban resort pays homage to Queensland’s tropical climate, with a lavish outdoor pool and surrounding deck area forming the centrepiece of the structure, and soft pastel colours sweeping through the 175 rooms and suites. Whether taking in the Brisbane cityscape or the oasis-like pool area, the view from your room is always captivating.
73 Wickham Tce, Spring Hill
If you prefer a more intimate boutique setting, Ovolo Inchcolm is the ideal option. From the moment you enter, you’re made to feel exceedingly welcome by the engaging staff. The eclectic charm that permeates throughout the public spaces evokes the long history of the building, which was constructed in the 1930s. Conversely, the spacious rooms reflect strong contemporary elements and subdued elegance. The food here is delectable, but if you feel like stepping out, the new Howard Smith Wharf precinct with its many restaurants is a leisurely 10-minute stroll away.
This guide was produced by HEY GENTS in partnership with MINI Australia.
Words by Andrew Woodward. Photographs by Joe Vuong.