Brisbane is known for its cool cafés, craft beer pubs, and boutique stores. This city has a little more intimately than otherwise. Here, I have compiled this list to get you more acquainted with the coolest pubs that make Brisbane unique. You can also play games here.
When you visit Agnes’ three-level space, you have a trio of options. Those keen on a drink can head downstairs to the wine bar or, including on Fridays and Saturdays from 2pm, up to the rooftop. If you pick the former, you can sip your vino over snacks and dessert, and even treat your visit as a first stop before dinner or a place for an after-meal tipple. If you’d prefer an outdoors berth, you can also grab a small or sweet bite to eat while you’re looking out over the Valley and the CBD. Both bars are walk-in only, though, with no bookings taken.
Remember if you are more than seven or more people, you’ll need to eat your way through the set menu, which costs $75 per person or more if you’d like matched wines. For special occasions Agnes also has a private dining space upstairs that seats 22 people.
iPong is best place in Brisbane if you want o play ping pong and have beer too. One player hits or throws table tennis balls into cups filled with beer, their opponent drinks whichever glasses the balls happen to land in, and everyone has some boozy fun. Also are darts aka the socially acceptable way to fling small, sharp missiles at a target, all while you have a beverage in your hand.
Both are on offer at arcade bar iPONG Brisbane, although this new addition to MacGregor adds a digital component. When it comes to pong, there’s no beer inside each cup, but the interactive PONGConnect table does keep track of your progress. Also as for darts, you’ll be throwing soft-tipped versions at a luminous DartsLive2 display.
Moreover, you can do both while knocking back drinks because beer-fuelled, games-filled hangouts are one of Brisbane’s latest trends. This one comes with plenty of neon lighting as well, so you’ll feel like you’re slinging balls and darts in a glowing playground.
So grab a beer on tap or by the bottle, with cocktails also available. Food-wise, you can snack on a range of bar food that includes fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, shrimp tacos, Italian flatbread, and sharing platters with chicken wings, nuggets and beer-battered fish.
3. Lucky & Sons Fortitude Valley
Lucky & Sons Fortitude Valley is a kidult-friendly bar-meets-arcade with some actually good pawn-shop prizes, instead of the usual plastic crap you get. Think vintage Chanel bags, classic cameras and rare vinyls, plus Playstation 4s.
The bar is now open in the Valley’s TCB Building and it’s hidden behind the facade of an old pawn shop, so expect something a little bit different. The venue is also decked out with eclectic furnishings, from old-world casino chandeliers to neon-lit red octagonal booths. This East-meets-West fit-out extends to the food, where pizzas are topped with the likes of crispy wonton wrappers and bonito flakes or sausage, gravy and potato crisps.
For drinks, the bar slings canned cocktails, alcoholic bubble teas and other creative concoctions like Taro Bang (Frangelico, rum and taro with blueberry pearls and jellies) and the Passion Crackle (vodka, passion fruit and peach teas with apple flavoured pearls and jellies). The punch bowls served with floral tea cups, a gold-rimmed espresso martini and one with a side of toast and raspberry jam.
The bar’s games are clear throwbacks for the millennial generation featuring everything from Mario Kart and Daytona to NBA Hoops.
4. BrewDog DogTap
Well known for beer, BrewDog’s has top breweries, such as Range Brewing, Currumbin Valley Brewing, Balter, Aether, Brouhaha and Black Hops. All-Australian wines, an Aussie-heavy spirits list and local soft drinks are also on offer, should you want something other than beer.
Food-wise, it’s a lineup of familiar bar favourites. Think 11 types of burgers and eight kinds of pizza plus Korean-style chicken wings, crispy pork, baby squid and barramundi fritters. On weekends, a brunch menu will feature chicken and waffles, eggs benedict and other classic meals, while you can tuck into two-for-one vegan dishes on Mondays.
In addition to 16 blue leather booths and high-top tables, DogTap’s industrial indoor area also has arcade games, including Addams Family and The Munsters-themed pinball machines.
Kazba is serious about its boozy concoctions, with 27 different types leading a menu that also features a small range of wine and beer. Standout sips include a Turkish coffee martini features spiced rum, caramelised yoghurt and chocolate cardamom bitters among its ingredients; a fig rum old fashioned complete with almond bitters and dehydrated fig; and a Tel Aviv sazerac made with an applewood smoke blend of arrack musar, za’atar rye, peychaud bitters, demerara, lemon zest. The venue’s version of the Israeli Gazoz, called the Fizzy Bubbly comes in five different types and if you’d like to try The Sun Also Rises which adapts the Hemingway daiquiri and is named after one of the author’s novels, your drink will be poured from a flask hidden in a novel.
6. Stone and Wood Brewery
Here you will find brews one-off small batch tipples that are only served at the venue. They’re poured straight into your glass from tanks located behind the bar. Don’t expect cocktails, wine or spirits to sip on, or pub-style entertainment like TVs or pokies, either. While you’re here, you’ll drink beer, talk about beer, look at beer-making apparatus and just generally be made fully aware that you’re in a brewery. If everything else doesn’t do the trick, hanging planters made from old kegs will definitely help remind you of your boozy location.
Food-wise, the brewery welcomes a rotating array of local food vendors, picking outfits that match its beers. If you’re keen to settle into the 150-person space, start knocking back cold ones and take in the view over the street, the venue doesn’t take reservations, so just walk on in.
The top of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs is the cafe called Joey’s. This spot has long been a local go-to and it has just undergone quite the makeover. Visitors will definitely spot a new look, as inspired by the state’s beloved Queenslander houses. You can sit at picnic tables under multi-coloured umbrellas, and be surrounded by light tones and an airy space all round.
Joey’s is open from 6am–midnight daily, its menu covers plenty of bases, including breakfast, snacks and mains. To start your morning, there’s buttermilk pancakes, a bacon and egg roll, and cherry and walnut toast, all among an 11-item menu. For lunch and dinner, you can choose from pizzas, oysters, kingfish tacos, crab linguine, prawn sandwiches and chicken schnitzel among other dishes.
Drinks-wise, expect both boozy and non-alcoholic beverages. The cocktail list spans options with and without the hard stuff, five types of spritzes and three different margaritas are available as well, and there’s also a range of wines, beers, coffee and soft drinks.
8. Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq Toombul
The Brisbane Archie Brothers looks like you are entering a circus. It boasts plenty to entertain your inner kidult think dodgem cars, a bowling alley, an interactive theatre, air hockey, basketball hoops and virtual reality games. There’s also an array of arcade games, including Mario Kart and Dance Dance Revolution, with tickets able to be used to purchase the usual OTT assortment of random objects and plastic toys at the prize bazaar.
The food menu fits right in with the circus decor, focusing on over-the-top novelty American diner grub. Think three-meat burgers, giant pretzels, and potato gems and garlic aioli that’s served in a syringe. You get the idea. The drinks follow suit, with a ridiculously involved cocktails such as the boozy strawberry shakes (topped with whipped cream and candy kebabs) and butterscotch schnapps concoction garnished with popcorn.