What’s not to love about a venue that keeps us on our toes? After sauntering onto the Brisbane scene last year with its industrial-chic fit out, super-cool loft bar, exhilaratingly experimental menu and intriguing drinks list, Fortitude Valley restaurant The APO has always kept us guessing. And, well, they’ve bloody well gone and done it again.
No longer a fine dining restaurant, The APO has given itself a serious attitude adjustment, shedding its exclusive atmosphere, transforming into a gastropub-come-entertainment venue that fits the Valley’s nightlife scene like a glove!
As well as a mini-makeover of the front façade, you can expect a few big changes inside: gone is the private dining room, and in its place is a pool table, plus TV screens so you don’t miss the game while you’re catching up with your pals. And while the sophisticated heritage character, fab loft-style bar and balcony overlooking Bakery Lane are still there to be enjoyed, it's less tables and chairs these days, more comfy, club house-style seating. We’ve also heard some changes to The APO’s al fresco area are also afoot for the near future, so watch this space…
Yes, but what about the food? Well, it’s definitely changed direction, but even if you were a fan of The APO’s refined inventive eats, you won’t be disappointed by its new, more casual take. Albeit with a much more informal vibe, there are a few nods to the Lebanese influence of the earlier menu; beetroot hommus with vegetable chips, a falafel burger, roasted cauliflower taco with eggplant and pico de gallo, and halloumi fries (TAKE OUR MONEY) with lemon and parsley aioli.
But there’s heaps of variety, whether you’re sharing snacks over some drinks, up for late night bites or looking to line your stomach before mingling on the balcony or kicking on to a night out in the Valley: think sesame crusted prawns, dramatic-looking Black Ghost wings (not for the faint-hearted), oysters, and simple pizzas done right. And of course, it wouldn’t be The APO without some creative flair—how on earth are we supposed to decide between deep fried brownie bites with coconut custard, and cinnamon sugar potato chips with blackberry puree and chocolate ganache for dessert? (Let’s be real, we’ll just take both).
As well as epic food, The APO is known for its killer cocktails and nothing has changed there, aside from a shake-up (not stir) of the drinks list. There’s still the classics like espresso martinis and gin mules (and they still do a mean Aperol), but we can totally see ourselves sipping away on their new signatures all summer. The Penicillin (scotch, lemon, honey, ginger and smoky whiskey) will totally cure what ails you, and a Breakfast Martini (gin, Cointreau, lemon and orange marmalade) has all of the feels of a blissful morning, without that pesky alarm going off in your ear.
The APO has always been one of our fave spots (brought to you by the same legends behind Gerard’s Bar and Bistro, Laruche, and Hatch & Co, so, duh) and this new chapter looks to be no different. So whether it's for casual catchups or a big night out, gather the gang and soak up the brand new vibes, nightcaps and nibbles at this rejuvenated Valley hang!
What: The APO
Where: Bakery Lane, 690 Ann St, Fortitude Valley
Image credit: Tash Sorensen / Judit Losh