Fish Lane welcomes Bar Brutus – a spirited spritz bar from the Julius Pizzeria team
Fish Lane’s lauded pizzeria Julius is so popular that it’s not uncommon for diners to wait upwards of an hour to score a table. While the wait is absolutely worth it, the team at Julius has taken pity on our weary feet. The crew has expanded across the laneway to open Bar Brutus – a cosy Italian-inspired spritz and snack bar that not only doubles as a primo perch to wait for a free table at Julius, but also as a classy haunt that’s perfect for whiling away a whole evening if desired.
Fish Lane’s new Town Square extension is bringing some exciting new names to the precinct, but one of the most noteworthy additions comes from some familiar faces. The team behind celebrated Italian eateries Beccofino and Julius Pizzeria have added a pint-sized sibling to its portfolio, opening Bar Brutus an olive pit’s throw from the doors of Julius. Aria Property Group approached the team to gauge its interest in adding a fresh concept to Town Square, offering a cosy 23-sqm space in a newly constructed building (designed by Richards & Spence) directly opposite similarly snug cocktail joint Maker. The team saw a great opportunity to not only complement Julius with a handy waiting area for those looking to snag a seat at the perennially popular pizzeria, but also create a standalone concept that evoked the casual cool of European aperitivo bars.
The crew at Woodsters Constructions was recruited to make the most out of the poky space, armed with a brief that outlined the Julius team’s desire for a timeless aesthetic based around sturdy and classic materials. The build has resulted in a superbly attractive ten-seat interior, with a white Carrara marble bar top juxtaposed against a moody backdrop of dark hardwood panelling, brown-leather stools, a mirrored wall (used to advertise specials) and hanging spherical lights. Large windows slide open to allow the flow of cool breezes and blur the lines between laneway and bar, but those that prefer a bit more elbow room can opt to sit on a scattering of outdoor seats (capable of hosting 16 extra sets of cheeks) located on the fringe of Town Square’s leafy courtyard.
The food and drink
Joining the group as co-owner of Bar Brutus is Stefan Angelovski, a former drinks slinger at Julius who is now overseeing the menu and operations of its smaller sibling. Bar Brutus specialises in three main areas – aperitivo, spuntini and digestivo. This means that the hideaway is perfect for a pre-dinner drink, post-dinner unwind or as a handy snack spot for the peckish public. The menu might be featherweight in size, but packs a heavyweight punch. Stefan has curated a list of five signature cocktails that morph familiar concoctions into slick sips featuring Italian ingredients. Must-try tastebud tantalisers include the Arancia Rossa (a twist on a margarita blending tequila, Solerno blood orange, Campari, blood-orange juice and lime), the Aperitiki (a tropical number boasting white rum, Aperol, passionfruit, pineapple and lime), and the Il Vecchio (a robust option mixing bourbon, Amaro ramazzotti, chocolate bitters and orange bitters). Stefan has also assembled a five-strong hit list of spritzes that offer a mix of bitter, fruity and fresh variations – highlights of which include the Aperitivo di Corte (Italicus, Aperol, Campari, lemon, prosecco and soda), The Mayor (Amaro Montenegro, Cynar, grapefruit bitters, prosecco and soda) and the French Connection (quince gin, Lilet rose, peach aperitif, basil, lime, prosecco and soda). The back bar is amply stocked with a killer array of digestifs (ideal for settling the stomach post pizza feast), beer taps dispense Peroni and Green Beacon pale ale, while a punchy wine list features French champagne and rosé, a pinot noir from the Yarra Valley, and a New Zealand sauvignon blanc, while the rest are sourced from Italian makers. A short snack menu offers nibbles such as toasted salted pepitas and almonds, salted potato chips, olives, grissini, crostini with Cantabrian anchovies and tomato salsa, focaccia with mortadella and buffalo mozzarella, and salumi with pickled vegetables and parmigiano. Both the food and drink menus will evolve to match the seasons, while limited batches of special dishes (think beef carpaccio, oysters, a crudo of the week) will pop up week to week.
Bar Brutus is now officially open to the public. For operating hours and other important details, head to the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.