Brisbane’s newest cafes open late-night bars
Bar flies who are partial to sinking a few beers as the sun goes down are spoilt for choice in Brisbane, with some of the city’s newest cafes evolving into bars this month.
Brisbane city folk have been filling their coffee cups at John Mills Himself since the cafe opened the doors in mid-January, but now they can slurp up liquid gold of another kind at the country’s first ‘drink miles’ bar. In keeping with its local focus, the venue sources beers within a 200 km drive, wines within 250 km and nearly all cocktail garnishes from biodynamic and organic farms within 400 km. New glass shelving hosts a quality selection of spirits, which can be shaken into cocktails such as the Bloody Hot Mary — or her virgin sister — featuring Kangaroo Island Chilli Vodka mixed with tomato juice, organic Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, fresh lemon juice, seasoning and the obligatory celery top. Those who have gulped a confidence-boosting cocktail and can play more than just ‘Chopsticks’ are invited to tickle the ivories at the bar’s Friday afternoon Piano Club sessions. A food menu is also on the agenda, but drinkers will have to settle for liquid dinners for the next few months. Swing by the bar between 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm weekdays.
Stumble further along Elizabeth Street and you’ll find another laneway locale that’s opened its bar this month. Come 3:00 pm Wednesday through to Friday, Strauss shifts its focus from coffee and lunch to liquor and cheese. Nurse a cold local beer or a glass of wine, and savour the luxury of being in a space where you can converse without having to howl over the ruckus. Beers hail from Byron Bay, McLaren Vale and Newstead, while wines are sourced from the Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley and Margaret River. The basic food menu offers gourmet cheese and charcuterie plates – perfect partners for a dry martini or a tot of espresso.
A short bar-hop across the river, South Brisbane’s Hoo Ha Bar started dishing up dinner earlier in the month, lining local bellies with tapas, salads and slow-cooked meats until 9:00 pm Tuesday to Saturday. The new menu meanders from small plates like grilled haloumi with charred lemon, fresh mint and tomato salsa, to substantial dishes like slow-cooked beef cheeks with house-made hummus, cucumber and mint salad and walnut tarator. A tweaked cocktail list complements the new fare, with options like The Gramble boasting a blend of Tanqueray gin, Peychaud’s Bitters, muddled grapes, lemon juice and vanilla gomme.
In a delicious role reversal, Woolloongabba bar Canvas recently opened for weekend breakfasts – and yes, a fine collection of morning cocktails have made the cut. Pop in from 8:00 am Saturday and Sunday for the gluten-free Green Eggs and Sam, which teams zucchini and corn fritters with cured salmon, poached eggs, a lemon wedge and pea tendrils or the Mamasita Bonita of roasted mushrooms, grilled haloumi, wilted spinach and walnuts with sourdough. If you stayed too long in the bar the evening before, the Spanish Banderas should ease your hangover with the help of mince chorizo, baked egg, homemade chilli bake mixed beans, avocado, tomato salsa and crostini. Of course no visit to Canvas is complete without a cocktail, so throw a straw into the marmalade-infused Breakfast at Tiffany’s or the Eskimo Joe if you need a Cognac and espresso hit.
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