Squee! Another year, another killer Brisbane Festival jam-packed with ultra-talented acts ready to turn our sleepy little town (ha—we don’t really buy that) into the rollicking fun house it was always meant to be.
And despite the amazing line-up of culture porn to hit Brisbane’s best venues, we can’t help but think of all the good eats and drinks to be had while you’re out traipsing from show to show, and gig to gig. We’re hungry and thirsty like that.
Three full weeks of fun might sound like plenty of time but if you plan on being the ultimate Brisbane Festival groupie, you’re going to need more than one dip at the Whizz Fizz, if you catch our drift. In other words: you’ll be back.
From music to cabaret, comedy to dramatic theatre and immersive experiences to quick culture-fixes we’ve picked our favourite shows to see, the Brisbane restaurants and cafes to get your nosh on, and the watering holes to tipple at.
Read on for the only guide you’ll need of where to eat, drink and play this Brisbane Festival!
(Editor’s note: If you are into just soaking up the vibe, South Bank’s Cultural Forecourt will be home to Arcadia, “a fantastical festival village”, featuring multiple tents (including the Spiegeltent, the Fear & Delight and Club Swizzle tents plus multiple bars and plenty of food trucks. Open daily!)
Club Swizzle at The Spiegeltent for an epic night of rowdy cabaret created by the minds behind festival fave, La Soiree! 4th–26th September
Aquitaine Brasserie at River Quay—because the French love a cheeky cabaret show. Order the Festival Flavours offer of ricotta and Roquefort-filled pasta paired with a glass of Vinaceous wine for just $30 to set the night off right.
A far-out, sensory experience like nothing Brisbane has seen before, Fear & Delight is a madcap adventure of physical and comedic performance. 4th–25th September, various times.
The Devil’s Banquet, which will be brought to you in the Fear & Delight tent for the ultimate in theatre dining.
The Spiegeltent’s We Two Thieves are serving up a sultry combo of American-style blues, soul and gospel with a serious dose of heartfelt musicality in their one-night only performance. 10th September, 7pm.
Watch Lady Rizo electrify the stage with her brazen and flirty cabaret show that traverses the pop universe from Judy Garland to the Pixies and everywhere in-between. 12th – 13th September, 7pm (Sat) and 5pm and 7pm (Sun)
The Whisky Wax Coffee at Maker in Fish Lane. A bold show deserves an equally bold drink and this mix of pollen, beeswax, macadamia, coffee and whisky, served with black garlic bread fits the bill perfectly.
The La Boite Roundhouse becomes a ring for the three-week run of Prize Fighter, the heart-wrenching true story of a young boxer’s journey from the Congo to Australia. 5th–26th September, various times.
A pre-show nibble at conceptual festival pop-up (curated by Wandering Cooks) Theatre Republic Garden Bar, where artists and visitors alike will be hanging out to chat, eat and drink the night away…because independent theatre calls for an out-of-the-box experience.
The Courier-Mail Piazza
Flown, by internationally acclaimed contemporary circus troupe Pirates of the Caribina will swinging from the rafters of The Courier-Mail Piazza giving a hilarious insight into #circuslyf. 11th–25th September, various times.
The South Bank Surf Club's Crispy Skin Pork Belly with warm salad of roast parsnip, butternut pumpkin and macadamia nuts, rocket and apple ketchup with glass of Vinaceous ‘Shakre’ Chardonnay is just $30 and a short toddle from the performance venue.
Macbeth is a striking adaptation of Verdi's classic, set in modern-day Congo and is and entertaining and striking retelling of Shakespeares tale of greed, tyranny and remorse . 15th–19th September, 7:30pm.
BlackBird Bar & Grill are serving up both their renowned river views and a specially prepared dish of slow roasted suckling pig with daikon cake, carrots served with ginger and mandarin sauce with glass of Vinaceous Tempranillo Rosé for just $50!
A State of Grace at the QPAC's Concert Hall is a must-see ode to the legacy and complex, haunting music of father and son Tim and Jeff Buckley, featuring . 25th–26th September, 8pm.
Eleven Rooftop Bar’s amazing cocktails, because seeing the skyline of any city from above is the perfect way to get life perspective.
Australian premiere and exclusive, Coup Fatal at the QPAC Playhouse will have you jamming and rocking to the Congo beat with this mash-up of baroque music and dance, with the energy and vitality of Congolese jazz, pop and rock! 5th–8th September, 8pm.
Sonny’s House of Blues on Edward Street so you can kick on until the wee hours of the morning.
Judith Wright Centre
Hot Brown Honey at the Judith Wright Centre; a witty and audacious mix of dance, poetry, comedy, striptease, circus and song dealing with sticky political issues with buckets of humour and sass. 16th–26th September, various times.
Gordita’s cheeky tapas and cocktails at M&A Lane, because a gordita is the Latin equivalent of a hot brown honey!
Velvet is a funky and fresh celebration of all things disco and burlesque with Marcia Hines leading the pack. 9th–12th September, various times.
Part of this year’s Festival Flavours, the newly renovated New Farmers Kitchen at Watt is serving up their signature antipasto plate with a daily selection of fine cured meats, pickled vegetables, cheese and breads with two glasses of Vinaceous Sirenya Pinot Grigio for just $30.
Image credits: Ariana Gillrie
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