Winner: Netherworld, Fortitude Valley
Although bars with arcade games are becoming more and more prevalent in Brisbane, it was one bar that kick-started the whole craze – Netherworld. The team behind The Scratch opened Netherworld in Fortitude Valley at the very beginning of 2017, and it has been busy ever since. Pinball, racing games, shooters and board games are available to play, alongside a bar pouring incredible craft beers and a kitchen pumping out the best vegan bar food you’re likely to find. With all of this under one roof, there is no surprise that this gritty and entertaining hotspot topped your list.
Runner up: Savile Row, Fortitude Valley
Half way through 2017, Martin Lange, Trent Goodwin and Kahn Millis opened up what might have been Brisbane’s best new cocktail bar. The brains behind West End’s Cobbler brought their discerning approach to bar craft to Fortitude Valley, creating a top-shelf experience predicated on sublime cocktails, exceptional service and a staggering array of boutique spirits. Those that are yet to experience the Savile Row style need only seek out the orange door on Ann Street.
Runner up: Clapham Junction Wine Bar and Provisions, Banyo
The suburban bar scene scored a stellar new addition when Dominique Rizzo (Putia Pure Food Kitchen) and Simon McCarthy opened Clapham Junction Wine Bar and Provisions in Banyo. Taking a worldly approach to hospitality, Clapham Junction is serving boutique wines from underrated regions, paired with an ever evolving cocktail selection and an abbreviated menu of epicurean delights.
Electric Avenue, Woolloongabba
Woolloongabba’s bar scene scored a sweet double header when Electric Avenue arrived on Logan Road. Owned and operated by the Canvas crew, the smartly appointed venue is full of eclectic vintage flair and boasts plenty of quaffing material to boot. Upstairs is Jack Rabbits – a secret speakeasy that specialises in cocktails and whisky. An arrival like this was always going to get tongues wagging, and it seems like our prediction has paid off in a place on this hit list.
Jessie’s Girl, Petrie Terrace
Although equally beloved in The Weekend Edition office, we readily agree that running a cafe and running a bar would be completely different experiences. Lucky for us that Susannah Whitehouse and Candy Smith were up to the task – the owners of Scout have doubled up with a brilliant counterpart venue in Jessie’s Girl. This hip hangout boasts a touch of femininity and casual charm, bolstered by a list of specialty beverages, enticing late-night eats and even a stellar brunch service.
La Lune Wine Co, South Brisbane
Fish Lane is a haven for those looking for a sophisticated sip before strutting over to the Cultural Precinct, and La Lune Wine Co is particularly perfect for anyone craving a top-notch vino. Owner Paul McGivern’s French-inspired wine bar certainly delivers on quality, showcasing classic, boundary-pushing and small-batch wines from Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Matched with an engaging menu of Gallic-inspired eats and you’ll see why patrons have been howling about La Lune since it opened.
The Cloakroom Bar, Brisbane City
Long known as a bespoke outfitter of gents and dapper dudes, The Cloakroom’s tailor-made service expanded to include a top-tier cocktail bar in October 2017. The Cloakroom’s Louis Ialenti and Andrew Byrne expanded the boutique to include a hidden watering hole, where an open-air seating area allowing patrons to take in the city skyline while sipping on a bespoke cocktail made to your taste. High-end spirits, house-made tinctures and dry snacks round out the service, an experience as memorable as your first made-to-measure suit.
Mr Chester Wine Bar, Fortitude Valley
When Luke Reimers opened Mr Chester Wine Bar mid-way through 2017, it was with the modest goal of sharing what he had learned working across the hospitality industry as a sommelier and bartender. Along with friend Wayne Murphy, the duo are dedicated to showcasing some New World wines – drops created on the cutting edge of Australia’s viticulture industry. Alongside a curated selection of spirits and a dining menu to match, Mr Chester Wine Bar is perfect for anyone that takes wine seriously.
Mrs Brown’s Bar & Kitchen, Newstead
Terryn and Ben Brown’s impressive Newstead watering hole Mrs Brown’s set tongues wagging when it opened in October 2017. From the adorable puppy mural to the hanging planters, Mrs Brown’s chic-yet-comfortable aesthetic has been drawing in punters by the truckload. The hip interiors are boosted by frosty tap beers, worldly wines and a scrumptious selection of eats, meaning that the bar’s inclusion here is no mere fluke.
Newstead Brewing Co., Milton
As a member of the first wave of Brisbane’s craft-beer boom, Newstead Brewing Co has always held a special place in our hearts. When the long-running brewery operation announced plans for a second site in Milton, our hearts then promptly skipped a beat. The new location took everything we loved about the Doggett Street location and enhanced it while maintaining the brewery’s earnest love of craft beer and good times.