The say size doesn’t matter, and Brisbane’s spate of tiny cafes, petite bars, and diminutive dining spaces are proof it’s what you do with your square metres that matters.
Small spaces make for new friends, less crowds, and intimate experiences, but watch your table manners—a rogue elbow could wreak havoc in one of this miniscule establishments.
What is this, a café for ants? Yes, yes it is. These are Brisbane best small cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Anise Wine Room
Small-scale dining might be a new trend, but iconic Brisbane restaurant Anise has been onto for years. Only seating 22, Anise may be small by the space is big on ambience, with vinyl spinning on the record player, one of Brisbane’s best wine lists, and the kind of low lighting that makes babies happen. The stunning Euro-style menu doesn’t hurt either.
A vine covered whole in the wall is home to one of Brisbane’s best coffee spot. A favourite for drive-bys and lazy mornings perched out the front in the sunshine, Bunker’s a tiny tot pouring bold brews.
If you like your whole-in-the-wall positively bursting with beards, this is the Brisbane bar for you. The End is a tiny hipster hang out where the cocktails, and bartenders, have big personalities—nab a stool, grab a bite from one of the food trucks parked outside, and enjoy your little patch of boozy paradise.
One of the best cafes in Brisbane’s CBD is also one of its smallest; Gramercy is a hidden secret but a firm favourite among those in the know for breakfast or lunch on the go, and for doughnuts any old time.
A relative newcomer to Brisbane’s bar scene from Sourced Grocer’s Jerome Batten, it would be easy to miss Maker, tucked into Fish Lane in South Brisbane, but this moody drinking den is worth the squash. The cocktail menu has a focus on local and native ingredients, making for a truly unique drinking experience in one of the smallest Brisbane bars you’ll ever have the pleasure of squeezing into.
Tucked down Eagle Lane, The Coop is a teeny tiny coffee shop with bulk caffeine affection. Join the crush and get your coffee fix with the other clued-up CBD crowd.
Cram on into Super Whatnot—a gorgeously woody and well hidden bar down Burnett Lane in the CBD—and make some new pals bumping elbows and swilling cocktails.
Doughnut Time’s Fortitude Valley flagship would be easy to miss if it weren’t for the ginormous queue of doughnut fans streaming down the street. A window in the wall, tucked in next to Alfredo’s Pizzeria, Doughnut Time is baking decadent doughies like the crème brulee doughnut and the Nutella filled Love At First Bite, and more topical newbies like The Bachelorette: raspberry glaze, crushed Frosties, and white sprinkles. Doughnut Time is also bringing the freakshake trend to Brisbane big time with their doughnut spiked, frothed milk concoctions.
Felix Espresso and Wine Bar
CBD cutie-pie, Felix, is dishing up seriously good, wholesome brekky and lunch nosh from a beautifully fit out, small space in Burnett Lane. Come night time Felix transforms into a pretty gosh darn adorable wine bar. Naw.
Whiskey bar, Cobbler is deceptive: a tiny front bar space hides a roomier upper level where to can escape with your poison of choice. The menu at this tiny Brisbane bar is well worth a read, with over 400 kinds of whiskey dominating the space. What they lack in floor space they make up for in generosity, even letting patrons BYO food. Bless their cotton socks.
The Fever Club
Grab your go-go boots and head below ground to The Fever Club—an underground disco wonderland beneath Alfred & Constance. The LED light covered floor and ceilings make for a totally immersive small bar experience.
All you salty sea dogs, make your way to Mermaid Bar above Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall and find a small Brisbane bar with a major nautical bent. With a few choice booths to seat the lucky few, Mermaid Bar offers the kind of intimate experience the delicious raucousness of Lefty’s main hall can’t provide. Mind the ‘seasickness’ the might ensue after a few too many whiskey and apple juices.
Image credits: Ariana Gillrie, Daniel Maddock
Looking for more of Brisbane's best bars? Check out our article on Brisbane's Best New Secret Bars!