Chances are, you’ve had a late night in Fortitude Valley once or twice. But with a host of new spots opening over the last couple of years, we felt it necessary to nail down our no-fail favourites.
Here are our picks for the best bars in Fortitude Valley. Bottom’s up.
Situated right next door to Happy Boy on East St, Snack Man is one of only a handful of elegant wine bars popping up in the city. Choose from drops along the back bar that you almost certainly won’t have heard of, let alone clapped eyes on in Brisbane, while the kitchen serves a choice selection of expertly crafted dumplings, steam buns and bar snacks.
From the owners of Savile Row and Cobbler is Finney Isles; an intimate, but not intimidatingly so, corner bar where classic cocktails and moody lighting are king. As well as some impressive drink-making skills (much of their syrups and finishings are made in-house form the talented team), Finney's also offers a sharp (and plentiful) charcuterie board featuring a selection of locally sourced accompaniments. Drop in weeknights and check out their bento collab with Bird's Nest—it'll have you hooked.
Blute’s Bar is bringing classic pubbery back to Fortitude Valley under the four pillars of booze, food, music, and sports. If you’re wary of anywhere purporting to be a quadruple threat for fear of them being spread too thin (you’ve been burned before), rest easy because Blute’s entire chomp situation is being completely handled by Lucky Egg next door.
One of our all-time fave Valley drinking holes, Bloodhound is the perfect spot to stop in for a sneaky drink or a long night out. These guys take their drinks seriously and they have an impressive rotation of beers on offer as well as a serious wine and cocktail list. If you’re after a bit, you’re in luck - the Mexican-inspired menu has you covered whether you’re after a snack or a full-blown meal to soak up the booze.
A favourite James Street watering hole, Gerard’s Bar is the perfect place for an after-work tipple. Both a bar and charcuterie house, the little sister to iconic Brisbane bistro, Gerard’s, this little gem offers excellent drinking with bevvies designed to complement the artisan meats and salumi that are made-in-house.
An excellent addition to Brisbane’s small bar scene, Barbara serves up top-notch drinks from their modern, minimal location in Warner Street. Open seven days a week, expect cocktails, craft beer and bar snacks served up until the wee hours of the morning with live DJ sets most nights.
Black Bear Lodge
Not only is Black Bear a great bar, but it’s also one of the best places to enjoy live music in Brisbane. Drinks-wise, they’ve got everything you could want, along with excellent happy hours, trivia nights and old-school dance parties, so there’s something for everyone.
If dive bars are your thing, look no further. Greaser sets itself up in a decidedly grungey Brunswick Street basement replete with an American rock’n’roll vibe that really works.
You’ll be able to get your hands on an excellent selection of American craft beers and cocktails and if your stomach needs lining their burgers are excellent. We’re also fans of their Sunday recovery sessions from 12pm.
Iconic Brisbane venue, no arguments. If you haven’t been to Ric’s do you even really live here? Best beer garden, which works equally during the day as it does for a late-night session, that is always pumping. An excellent option no matter what your plans are. Try not to fall off your stool.
Eleven Rooftop Bar
If a rooftop is where you prefer to knock back a few bevvies, Eleven delivers. Featuring uninterrupted views of the CBD and the Story Bridge you'll feel, quite literally, on top of the world. Perch atop the tall stools overlooking the city, or reserve a rooftop cabana—yes, this is real life—then order a cocktail and live like the bloody qween you are.
Image credit: Ariana Gillrie for The Urban List