Something special happens when the Italian aperitif Aperol is mixed with soda water and prosecco. It’s like a little explosion of summer in your mouth—sweet citrus marries with bitter Aperol and crisp, beautiful bubbles creating the Aperol Spritz. Add an olive, close your eyes, and you’ll be transported to some gorgeous restaurant on the Italian Riviera in no time.
If the funds don’t quite stretch to a trip to the home of this aperitif, never fear. Brisbane is spritz- central with many of our most popular Italian haunts dishing up our new favourite drink. Take your tastebuds on a journey, add some super crunchy arancini balls and you’ll never want to go home.
We’ve rounded up eight of the best places to add some zing to your spring. Forget beer goggles, our glasses are going to be Aperol-tinted this summer.
From the crew that bought us famous wood-fired pizza at Brisbane’s Beccofino (which also does a great spritz) is Julius Pizzeria, the Italian go-to spot in Brisbane. Grab a bunch of your favourite mates and head for the bar, down some tasty Italian bar snacks such as fried baby calamari with rocket and lemon and order the feel good hit of spring, the Aperol Spritz. They pump these drinks out here at a mile a minute with the addition of a green olive and a great big smile.
Step through the doors of Bucci on James Street and you’ll be transported to Veneto in Italy, where they put away 300,000 glasses of Aperol Spritz every day! Team the zingy freshness with Bucci’s arancini balls—think gooey Talegiio, pecorino and asiago and mozzarella with pear chutney. The crumbed giant green olives filled with fennel salamai, port, rosemary and chilli with salsa verde are the ideal accompaniment while you hydrate.
While 1889 Enoteca may be a bustling, sophisticated bar, restaurant and Italian wine shop, there’s plenty of room for a bit of light-hearted fun. Aperitivo is held here every Friday afternoon from 4.30-6pm when you can partake in the odd Aperol Spritz, alongside antipasti on the house. The perfect spritz accompaniment? The affettati misti, which is a selection of hand-made cured meats. Get the party started.
Gerard’s Bar has an intimidating list of spritzes on offer to freshen up your sesh’, but it’s their traditional Aperol Spritz that’s won our hearts. Their epic charcuterie selection is the ideal Spritz accompaniment, and the cute outdoor setting makes for great Instagram-fodder. BYO squad.
Drinking Aperol is not a solo experience, so gather up your two favourite besties and head to Popolo where you can share a jug for $28. With one of the best views of the river in Brisbane and some great food to boot, Popolo screams summer (and spring). Try some culinary treats such as house made bread with heirloom tomatoes, basil, and Casa Motta buffalo mozzarella with your spritz.
If you’ve just laughed yourself silly at the latest Powerhouse comedy show, it’s time to check in with the team at Bar Alto. With the minimal three-ingredient Aperol Spritz in hand, you’ll be discussing the wonders of the Brisbane River in no time. Order off the special bar menu and try dishes including delicious salt cod croquettes, or saffron and fontina arancini with basil pesto and your aperitif of choice. Better start now.
Italian wine bar, Coppa Spuntino in the inner city offers rustic Italian food including spuntino (small plates) and spritzers. On Wednesdays choose a dish from the sputino menu and pair it up with an Aperol Spritz for $20. We were drooling over the deliciousness of dishes like the burrata, tomato, basil plate; goose liver parfait; and pork meatballs, pecorino and fennel. Heaven!
Blackbird Bar and Restaurant
Great things happen when you pair the perfect setting with a chilled aperitif, some indulgent bar snacks and Brisbane’s beautiful people. With the best view in town of the Story Bridge and Brisbane River, the bartenders at Blackbird know a thing or two (read: everything) about producing the best aperitifs and cocktails. We chowed down on a classic charcuterie plate, house pickles, quince romesco and fresh baguette.
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Image credit: Aperol