Bars & Pubs

Fave 5 Brisbane Laneway Loves

By Sophia McMeekin
3rd Mar 2015

When we love something we really, truly LOVE something! And that’s exactly how we feel about our new relationship! Some things just go together. Like cookies and cream, Brandon and Brenda… The Urban List and MINI! 

Our two families have collaborated to bring discerning readers and drivers a new fortnightly series – MINI Fave 5s. The must-try guide to Brisbane, celebrating the launch of the new MINI 5-door hatch! 

So, Urban Listers, clear the diary and get excited for our Fave 5s. There’s a whole year of eating, drinking and discovering to be done… 


What’s with our laneways obsession? What was once a destination for skulking and general dodginess, lately it seems our taste for not-so-obvious venues knows no bounds, and the harder a Brisbane bar or café is to find, the harder we’ll work to get there.

There’s never been a better time get your lurk on down a Brisbane laneway, with plenty of cool little cafes and bars—many of whom moonlight as caffeine stations by day—popping up all over.

Here are five of our fave Brisbane laneway bars and cafes. What did we do before GPS?

Felix Espresso & Wine Bar

Brisbane CBD

Salad and wine aren’t two things we usually pair together (unless we’re talking a salad starter pre carb-fest), but Felix Espresso and Wine Bar, down Burnett Lane, is doing just that. A health-food haven by day, Felix transforms on a Thursday and Friday night into a low-key Brisbane bar with charm and charisma. They make a lot of their own nosh in house, pickling, baking—heck, they even make their own cordial—so when the daylight menu of salad bowls and healthy breakfast fare makes way for share plates and cheese boards, you know you’re in for an artisanal treat.

Strauss Food and Wine

Brisbane CBD

Another uber hip Brisbane café, Strauss is a Brisbane CBD favourite of cool kids in the know. Venture down the pedestrian laneway off Elizabeth Street when the sun’s shining and you’ll find a prem-o Brisbane café peddling Coffee Supreme, house-made cold brew, raw treats from My Plate Clean Treats—the legends behind the raw Tim Tam—and a straight-up delish, no-fuss breakfast menu that’s one of the best in the city (seriously, their breakfast specials will make you want to join the corporate crowd just so you can hit them up each morning).

Red Hook

Brisbane CBD

A diner, take out joint, and all-round awesome Brisbane bar, Red Hook is one laneway resident you’ll want to pin down. Breakfast at Red Hook is all about the trendy breakfast fave, waffles, but it’s their mains menu you’ll really want to wrap your chops around. As well as Brooklyn-esque faves like tacos, cheese burgers, hotdogs, shrimp rolls, and chicken wings, you can special request certain menu items, like the Dirty Elvis—an insane burger packed with wagyu beef patty, melted cheese, peanut butter, battered pickles, crispy bacon, plus Red Hook special sauce… you get the idea—plus they’ll spike your milkshake.

The Gresham

Brisbane CBD

A Brisbane laneway bar with a vintage vibe and a crack-a-lacking drinks list, The Gresham is a building steeped in history, where the party spills onto the pavement most nights. Come for the drinks, stay for the heritage listed architecture. The Gresh’ has a focus on the intoxicating trio of rum, whiskey, and wine (not all at once—steady on) and is home to many-a whiskey appreciation night. This Brisbane laneway fave is also a café by day, with a pared-back toast and coffee offering that makes for a simple and effective Brisbane breakfast menu.

Brooklyn Standard

Brisbane CBD

When on a mission to find new Brisbane bar, Brooklyn Standard, leave at least 15 minutes of extra travel time because you’re bound to get a little lost while hunting for it. Luckily, when you do stumble down Eagle Lane, find the doorway and traipse down the stairs—there’s plenty of great booze and live music to reward you. Decked out like the underground bars of Brooklyn itself, Brooklyn Standard’s got all the appeal of the borough without the jet lag. Our tip: Order the Royale With Cheese—a root beer and rum concoction, topped with a small mountain of whipped cream and a cherry. You’ll be glad you did.

We're thrilled to partner with MINI to bring you our Fave 5 series—our fortnightly guide to the best of the best in Brisbane. From food to fashion, Campari to Crossfit, each Fave 5 edition is researched and recommended by The Urban List, and driven by the new MINI 5-Door Hatch—putting the city at your fingertips and giving you the freedom to explore it!

Image credits: Daniel Maddock

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