Game on, Brisbane. Gone are the nights of awkward small-talk and catching half a dozen Ubers to find a bar with the right ‘vibe’. Today, our river city is buzzing with bar-side fun, serving up cocktails with a healthy dose of pinball and putt putt.
Prefer sinking skee balls to dropping it on the dance floor? Read on. No playing around, we’re here to give your nights out an official level up.
Ladies and denizens, ready those flipping fingers. On the corner of Brunswick Street and St Paul’s Terrace, Brisbane’s hellmouth patiently awaits the stroke of Friday knockoff. As you’re drawn into the gaping maw of the Netherworld (and where else but the Valley?), eternally damned good times await. The long lineup of craft brews is only matched by the ever-growing army of arcade, console and board games. Settle in with some bites from the Hellmouth Diner, a pint of watermelon sour, and a whole lotta coins: purgatory never looked so good.
B Lucky And Sons
Ya feeling lucky, punk? From the brains behind Holey Moley comes B Lucky and Sons, a twisted glimpse into the cocktail dens of Hong Kong. Luckily for us (and our distinct lack of 007 debonair), the poker tables have been swapped out for a playground of Mario Kart racers, carnival games and arcade classics. At the bar, you’ll find a medley of bubble tea cocktails, bao buns and Asian-inspired pizzas. Special shout-out to the Tarotini – a taro-flavoured twist on the espresso martini—we could sink those faster than a forty-point skee ball.
Whether you’re on the world’s worst Tinder date or need to blow off some steam after Tuesday’s staff meeting, some things just can’t be fixed with a regular pub brew. Get ready to unleash your inner woodcutter: Brisbane’s own axe-throwing bar is ready for target practice. At Maniax, you’ll bury the hatchet over two hours of weapon-slinging fun. After a quick how-to session, you’ll be ready to line up those bulls-eyes and slam back a brew with the best of them.
Back in the days when our weekend budget could only handle a slab of VB and the quintessential red cups, beer pong ruled as king. Now, it’s back with a neon-tinted vengeance. At iPong, the beer-sinking party game has entered the 21st century, and we could not be more into it. Claim your table—designed to light up as you sink each cup—and check out what the bar’s serving up. From late night bites to cocktails and beer towers, this spot’s worth making a racket over.
Ready to hit the clubs? This weekend, ditch the jeans for your best golf pants and a night at Holey Moley. The old Warner Street church has been dressed to the nines, retrofitted with eighteen holes of eye-catching mini golf. No ifs or putts about it: if adulthood had an amusement park, these guys hit the hole-in-one. Cocktails laden in red licorice and sour straps are par for the course, here, but the real eye candy are the courses themselves, from the twisted Mazed and Confused to the ever-maddening Upside Down.
On your first foray into Pincadia, you’d be forgiven for the headspin. It’s a little unsettling, after all, stepping off Logan Road and into the 1980s, but this retro spot does it well. Inside, nostalgia reigns supreme, offering up walls lined in ‘80s arcade games, old school tunes and a classic carnival menu. From the dagwood dogs to the Donkey Kong high score, you’ll be switching those smart phones off for a voyage into simpler times.
Escape rooms are, at the best of times, intriguing but tricky little places that involve a pattern of finding, solving and then moving onto another clue. But, like a good cocktail, sometimes the best formulas need to be shaken up, and Arcadium toys with the traditional escape room in the most magical way—by adding a magic-themed cocktail bar right there in their underground lair. Whether you're on the quest for the Wand of Illumination or the Elixir of Life, you can bet the clues are going to pull you in a multitude of directions, and the drinks at the bar just outside are going to make escaping that little bit sweeter.
Beaten every top score and still wanting more? Keep an eye out for Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq, set to open in late 2019 in Toombul.
Feeling a little bit more grown up? Check out Brisbane's best wine bars instead.
Image credit: Carl Raw