Where to Eat, Sleep, and Drink in Brisbane
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Great Places to Chow Down:
There are tons of great places to eat in Brisbane. Everything from high class to no class and anything in between. With so many different directions, it’s difficult to go wrong, but if you’re looking for some good options and varieties the best sections to head to are South Bank, the West End, Queen Street, and the Valley.
South Bank: By far one of the most popular dining areas in Brisbane, South Bank combines excellent menus with stunning views. There’s an eclectic mix of good grub in this area where you can try anything from modern Australian dining to Italian to Lebanese. While the food is undoubtedly fantastic, the view of the river and boardwalk make every dining experience worth the while. Be sure to check out the River Canteen, Chez Laila, and Ahmet’s.
West End: A strip that’s synonymous with good food, West End is my favorite place to sit back, relax, and chow down. If you’re looking for a place with a little flair and character, grab a bite at the Three Monkeys. With the plush cushions and the soothing atmosphere you could lounge here forever. Don’t leave without picking up a piece of their homemade cheesecake. Just across the street from the Three Monkeys is the Gunshop Cafï¿½. An excellent choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you’re able to enjoy your meal in or out of doors. It’s a great starter for those who want to try Australian cuisine. If you dive a little further into the West End suburb, you’ll run across a little gem called Mondo’s. If you prefer the route of healthy and organic, Mondo’s has the perfect plate to please your palette.
Queen Street: Essentially the hubbub of Brisbane life, Queen Street lacks little in the way of mouthwatering meals. There are so many restaurants located in this part of the CBD, it’s a little silly to try and narrow them down. If you have time, just take a stroll around the area and grab a table at the restaurant that catches your eye. You really can’t go wrong.
The Valley: Fortitude Valley and nearby Chinatown are definitely the places to go if you want to try on something a little different. Stroll down Brunswick Street and you’re bound to bump into something you like. If you’re looking for something oriental, hit up the Mad Chinaman, a great place for some traditional Chinese cuisine. Or if you want something a bit more upscale try on the Isis Brasserie for size.
Great Places to Get Tipsy:
Being the young town that it is, Brissie is full of happening places to kick one back. Whether you’re looking for a place to simply chill or a place to party, you’ll be able to find your niche.
If you want a night on the town of bar hopping, there is no place to go but the Valley. With bars packed side by side like sardines, it’s always in and out, in and out. On Fridays and Saturdays the Valley is packed, but most other nights of the week it’s pretty dead, so be sure to know what to expect before you make the trip out.
If you’re looking for bars that steadily get a lot of traffic, head down to the CBD. Hit up the Exchange, the Embassy, the Port Office, Fridays or the Victory. Most weeknights like Monday and Wednesday there are drink specials so be sure to ask before you settle for an $8 Corona. If you want a more laidback international mix, head over to the Down Under Bar, which is the major watering hole for backpackers.
Once you leave these main sections head out to Toowong. While it’s not a good area for bar hopping, there are two main bars fairly close together that are a must attend for visitors. The Regatta has great deals on Wednesday and tends to be packed on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. Just down the road visit the RE, a place that has 2 for 1′s and $5 cocktails on Sundays.
Aside from the Valley, the CBD, and Toowong, major bar scenes are sparse, but if you head into the unique suburbs like West End you’re bound to run into a few happening spots that are more unique to the locals. If this is your taste, make at least one stop by the Lychee Lounge on Boundary Street in West End. The Lounge is always worth your while.
Places to Lay Your Head:
Depending on the length on time you want to spend in Brisbane, some places are better to stay than others. If you’re looking to move or visit for at least a month, I’d recommend searching in the areas of West End, South Bank, or Toowong. These places house the basics of all you need (grocery, bank, etc.), while still surrounding you in an area that always has stuff going on. They’re not as hectic as the CBD or the Valley, but at the same time they don’t leave you completely deserted in suburbia.
If your stay is shorter than a month, location matters very little. Brisbane is a safe city so there are really not many “bad eggs” as far as neighborhoods are concerned, and everything is so accessible you’re generally just a short bus ride away from anywhere you want to go. For a really cheap night head to Palace Backpackers on the corner of Ann and Edward Streets. It’s a good location and pretty clean as far as hostels are concerned. Somewhere to Stay Backpackers also offers some pretty affordable accommodation. It’s located in Highgate Hill close to the West End on Brighton Road.
If you’re willing to throw out a little more dough, check on Ryan’s on the River. It offers some great views of the River and is one of the best reasonably priced hotels in Brissie.