New Farm in Brisbane, Australia is a haven for outdoors types, with New Farm Park offering picnic spots, cycling routes and general urban rambling. Beyond the scenic tree-lined streets lies a vibrant nightlife. Here are the best bars.
Once a 1940s steel warehouse, this place has had variously uses in the past including as a Skennars Company bus depot and art gallery in the 1980s. The Howes family have since converted the building into a microbrewery, pub and restaurant. Newstead Brewing Co. is unapologetically run by beer connoisseurs, for beer connoisseurs. There are 12 draught taps at the bar (including eight Newstead brews), a rotation of local craft beers and flights served up on paddle-boards. Thankfully, even for the beer-intolerant, the pub contains a collection of international craft spirits and small-producer wines from around the world. For those looking to skip the booze altogether, the kitchen will graciously rustle you up some fresh fish or a steak burger. Pull up a stool at the upcycled raw timber bar and order Newstead’s own Two to The Valley IPA.
Bitter Suite’s motto is that beer is life and life is bitter sweet, a statement highly indicative of the zeal and enthusiasm this red brick pub throws into supplying quality craft beer to the folk of New Farm. Hop lovers will be bowled over by Bitter Suite’s seven rotating tap beers and more than 55 bottled beers. What’s really gratifying here is that the focus is resolutely on local Australian beers. There are only some concessions to truly knockout overseas beers but all of them sourced from smaller, boutique micro-breweries. Pair a pint of Queensland’s Fortitude Standard lager with one of Bitter Suite’s tasting plates, such as house-made ricotta gnocchi.
Lodged below ground in the old horse stables of the Queen’s Arms Hotel on Arthur Street is Farrier. The proprietors of this place have converted the space into the hippest den in Brisbane. A bar/supper and club/late night den, Farrier caters to early evening diners and late night revelers alike, thanks to its 2am license. It has inviting low ceilings and backlit sandstone walls. On the bar menu are house speciality cocktails like the Bohemian Mojito (rum, Paraiso, lychee purée, mint, lime and soda) and Soco Fizz, boilermakers and craft brews. There are also street food snacks, such as blow-torched scallops served with crispy turmeric wafer tacos and larger bites like the torn red curry brisket with Asian leaf and radishes.
With awe-inspiring views overlooking the river, and a base at the foot of the Powerhouse, the Watt Bar (an offshoot of its namesake restaurant) is a truly electric New Farm watering hole. The modern Australian flavors on offer in the main restaurant are faithfully carried over to the bar snacks menu featuring items like the lamb kofta pie. Craft beers and cocktails are in abundance and the adjacent Flood sculpture/climbing frame can keep the kids occupied while mum and dad sip on their Cosmos.
In this airy wine bar in trendy Teneriffe, every wine on the extensive list has been individually researched, tasted and selected for maximum effect on your palate. Tapas-style sharing plates are expertly paired with some of the niche-est yet most flavorful wines in all of Australia, along with some buzzed-about Rieslings and Bordeaux. Claret House has become an established hit among locals and inquisitive tourists alike. Don’t be addled by the ceiling decor – the hanging chairs were intentionally put up there.
Going beyond its original remit, the newly monikered Liquid Bar and Grill has transformed itself into a colourful and contemporary boutique venue that specialises in prime-aged steaks. Juicy slabs of beef are complemented by a gargantuan wine list, and once you’ve ordered your grog it comes to you in a Liquid-branded goblet. An appetite and palate-pleasing selection are what brings the locals back for several more helpings.
Humility is the operative word at this Brunswick Street venue, taking a refreshingly unpretentious approach to serving up great beer and hospitality. It’s also staggeringly good value for money with nothing on the food menu costing more than $22. That kind of budgeting is very welcome when you consider the riches offered on that menu: burgers, nachos, chicken schnitzel, rib fillet steaks and pork belly. With the money you’ll save on food, there’s all the more dollar to buy a craft brew at the bar such as from Green Beacon and Big Sky Brewing. PJ Macs is also an entertainment hub; the bar hosts live music nights on Saturday and it’s within spitting distance of the New Farm Cinema and Fortitude Valley entertainment precinct.
Retro and contemporary are fused in a winning fashion in this intimate European-styled bar and bistro. Re-purposed from a vintage motor garage, the atmosphere at Anise is affable and homely. This is aided by the vinyl soundtrack, exposed brick wall, garage signs and the round-the-bar-seating where the chefs and sommeliers interact with customers. Dig into one of the inventive main dishes, such as the duck breast with gingerbread, snow pea, pumpkin purée and plum jus. Plus, sample the treasures of one of Brisbane’s secret wine bars which houses internationally renowned boutique wines. To make a great saving, head on down to Anise on Monday nights for Magnum Mondays. On this night, patrons are offered large bottles of vintage wine and a four course set menu for $45 per head.
A timeworn New Farm favorite, Gertie’s Bar and its heady blend of cheap tapas food and live, local music has ensured a loyal clientèle. Beyond the chrome and oak doors, the smoky mirrors and mosaic-tiled floors are several upholstered booths for a rendezvous or a quick wetting of the whistle. It is almost guaranteed you’ll walk out feeling as if you’ve left a Parisian salon. Gerties’ staff are masters of mixing cocktails, so make sure to taste test a signature Martini.
An irreverent spirit defines this New Farm neighborhood bar, named after the infamous Medellin drug cartel’s ringleader. Occupying part of an old Queenslander cottage, 1970s retro twists abound in Escobar Kitchen and Bar. In their courtyard with wrought-iron and re-purposed patio furniture, you can dine on resurrected 1970s staples such as jaffles (old school toastie triangles) and panko-crumbed chicken kiev. Escobar’s USP is their weekly infused bathtub gins and rum concoctions on tap.