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Uncover Cool Finds in Brisbane’s Laneways

July 16, 2020 Visit Queensland No Comments Email Email

You may not have known but Brisbane is spoilt with several hip laneways in its city centre, Fortitude Valley ‘The Valley’, and South Brisbane. They’re not exactly hidden but it does help to learn where to stop and take a closer look if its your first time exploring Brisbane’s laneways.

It’s a great way to spend a day, wandering down the laneway labyrinths filled with intimate, hole-in-the-wall spaces. You’ll discover captivating cafes where you can knock over locally-roasted coffee, boutique bars with inventive cocktail concoctions, trendy restaurants with plenty of personality, and local labels selling custom and rare wares.

Brisbane’s laneways are the way to go if you’re naturally curious and looking for an experience that feels fresh, new and underexposed. Give in to the sense of discovery and you’re bound to find a surprise around every corner.

Brisbane City Laneways

For those who want some help finding their bearings or to simply take the guesswork out of it, Walk Brisbane offers a three-hour “Laneways Café Tour” in the city centre. The tour is about delving into the coffee haunts that local office workers typically walk blocks to get their caffeine and treat fix.

Burnett Lane

Quirky bars, late-night feeds and fancy dining – Burnett Lane has it all. Originally named after James Charles Burnett (an early surveyor in Brisbane) this lane runs from George to Albert Street parallel to Queen Street Mall.

Kick start your day with coffee at dark hideout Brew Cafe & Wine Bar, or step into the bright and breezy Felix for Goodness for a nutritious brunch to fuel your day exploring the city or shopping down the mall.

Later on, knock over a drink at American-inspired petite bar Super Whatnot with a late-night snack. Bar hop back to Brew as it comes alive after dark with a new crowd, and continue your crawl to moody cocktail lounge Death & Taxes and tapas bar Alba Bar & Deli.

Eagle Lane

You might know the glam and flashy Eagle Street Pier dining precinct – home to some of Brisbane’s best restaurants and riverside bars. Well, Eagle Lane caters to those looking for a demurer hole-in-the-wall and down-in-the-basement style discovery.

Pick up a coffee from hole-in-the-wall window Coop Espresso in the morning and head back in the evening for great music and beer at Brooklyn Standard. This American-themed basement bar is marked only by a doorway and tiny neon sign that says “bar”. Once you find it, be rewarded with ice-cold Brooklyn Lager on tap, excellent cocktails, live music.

If sports is what you’re after, then Fat Angel Sports Bar is what you’re looking for. Brisbane’s first American sports bar is streaming live sport direct from the US and serving American classics like loaded fries, buffalo wings, mac & cheese and tater tots.

Gresham Lane

Gresham Lane takes its name from an important hotel in Brisbane’s history that met a tragic end. It survived the 1889 floods, but the 1974 floods caused such damage it was demolished. Qantas was formally established at The Gresham Hotel in 1920, and in 1942 the infamous Battle of Brisbane took place between Australian and American servicemen where one man died, and many others suffered gunshot wounds and other injuries.

Housed on the ground floor of the historic NAB Building, The Gresham is a whisky bar and ode to yesteryear with chesterfield couches, rich mahogany furniture, and historic photos on the walls. See for yourself why it won Australian Gourmet Traveller’s Bar of the Year in 2015.

Gresham Lane itself features a bustling mini food court of quick street feeds. Grab a coffee at Espresso Republic, poke bowl from Malolo Poke, Korean delights and fried chicken from Little Maru, a moreish salad from Modern Hunter or Vietnamese from The Roll Shop.

At the Adelaide St side of Gresham Lane is popular cafe Sparrow & Finch for a wide range of eats, and in the middle lies Red Hook – an open-air NYC street food restaurant and bar serving some pretty epic burgers.

Albert Lane

Also tucked off Queen Street Mall, Albert Lane is a modern laneway space that’s filled with tasty eats. Pop by the 250-seater Vapiano for completely carb-full Italian meals, order sake and dumplings at Harajuku Gyoza, dine on Latin-inspired fare at Comuna Cantina or drop into Singapore & Co Kitchen for lunch.

Fortitude Valley Laneways

California Lane

The most recent of the Valley laneways, California Lane has joined its siblings (Winn and Bakery) with vintage summer vibes and palm trees playing up to its name. Start with a coffee from Reverends or Froth on Brunswick then eat your way through dumplings from Fat Dumpling, Japanese bites from Shishou Sake Bar and Eats, Italian from Giardinetto, poke from Raw + Rice or discover a creatively-combined barbershop, bar and live music venue at Born Creative Studio.

Don’t forget the boutiques. Shop through local stores Alice Nightingale and Bella Joan along with ethical handmade skincare and makeup maker dunkle authentic and custom-jeweller Rebellious Grace. Keep your eyes peeled for pop-up shops and markets as they are organised throughout the year.

Winn Lane

A sneaky laneway tucked off a side street, Winn Lane is the spot for independent boutique shopping and burgers. The lane is a hive of activity on weekends, attracting Brisbane’s local creative community to the space behind the historic Shannons Building (home to The Zoo live music venue).

Once you’ve finished chowing down a classic bun at Ben’s Burgers or cafe eats from No.5 Cafe, pop by Jess Blak for bespoke jewellery, tune-up at Tym Guitars, and purchase all the things at Uncommon Store. Hell, while you’re at it, treat yo’self to a new haircut at WINNston Hair.

There are also vintage and local designer markets often hosted within the space so keep your eyes on their Facebook page for upcoming dates.

Bakery Lane

Little sister to Winn, Bakery Lane is designed with similarly small shopfronts that mix new with heritage. Here cafe tables spill into the central space where locals can be found nomming on treats from Cakes & Sht, brunch from The New Black, nosh from Nom-Nom Korean and Japanese and Nordic-influenced fare at Joy Restaurant. Knock back gourmet pizzas and specialty cocktails at Laruche or soak up the fun vibes and live music at Suzie Wongs Good Time Bar.

Boutique shopping has brought its A-game here with Empire Dolls or go all-out retro at Phase 4 Records & Cassettes.

South Brisbane Laneway

Fish Lane

Originally named Soda Water Lane (due to the Eudone Aerated Water company that had its factory there in the 1870s), Fish Lane is the place for adventurous foodies. At one end coming off Grey St, dine on incredible Italian at Julius Pizzeria (don’t pass up the duck ragu or prosciutto pizza). There is often a wait for a table (it’s that good), so pop next door to 10-seat gastronomic cocktail bar Maker, across the lane to Hello Please for Vietnamese delights or upstairs to Maeve Wine Bar.

A little further along is Saccharomyces Beer Cafe (or SBC for short) with 10 rotating taps of craft brews. Keep walking the long laneway to find Chu The Phat, La Lune Wine Co, Big Roddy’s Rippin’ Rib Shack and Grassfed before finishing at Wandering Cooks, an experimental food incubator and kitchen space for food entrepreneurs. Time it right, and there will be events in the big courtyard space such as food truck meets, launches or markets to enjoy.

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