The round-up: the most anticipated openings in Brisbane this year

The round-up: the most anticipated openings in Brisbane this year

As we move into the second half of the year, a bunch of big-name hospitality concept inch ever closer to their debut. As crazy as it is to say, the back end of 2024 might be bigger than the front half! Here are some of the most exciting bar, cafe and restaurant openings we’re looking forward to …

The Star Brisbane, Brisbane City: As we get closer to the official opening date of Queen’s Wharf, announcements regarding the precinct’s food and beverage options are coming in thick and fast. The Star Brisbane has already started sharing sneak peeks at what we can look forward to, including members of The Star’s established culinary family, Cucina ReginaFat Noodle and Cherry, plus a trio of venues positioned at the hub’s rooftop playground, the highly anticipated Sky Deck. In addition to these venues, The Star Brisbane will also be home to Azteca, a luxe Latin American-inspired restaurant from the Potentia Solutions Leisure group, a Brisbane outpost for hatted Japanese-inspired restaurant Sokyo, and chic steakhouse Black Hide Steak & Seafood by Gambaro. We’d hazard a guess that there will be a few more announcements to come between now and the staged opening of Queen’s Wharf in August, so be sure to check in on The Weekend Edition often!

Supernormal and Bar Miette, Brisbane City: Trader Group, the Melbourne-based hospitality group behind Cutler & Co.Gimlet at Cavendish House and Marion, will soon lift the cloche on the Brisbane expansion of its famed Asian-inspired restaurant Supernormal. In May, the group’s head honchos, Andrew McConnell and Jo McGann, revealed that Supernormal wouldn’t be the only concept Trader House will be opening in The City – joining Supernormal will be Bar Miette, a European-inspired terrace bar positioned on the street level at 443 Queen Street. The venue will feature an intimate curved bar (with only 12–15 interior seats) and a verdant outdoor terrace offering views of the Brisbane River and Story Bridge. Bar Miette will serve a European-style breakfast menu in the early hours, which will flow seamlessly into a lunchtime offering featuring the likes of perfectly composed salads, seafood on ice and charcuterie. As the sun dips below the horizon, expect to find share-style small bites, classic cocktails and an extensive wine list. That’s not all – Andrew and Jo have also announced the appointment of Jason Barratt (formerly of Halcyon House’s Paper Daisy) as executive chef of both venues, with Alex Tuckett (former venue manager at Frida’s Field) overseeing the front of house as venue manager. Supernormal and Bar Miette are due to open imminently. Keep your eyes peeled for more.

Justin Lane, Fortitude Valley: A once-buzzing corner of Fortitude Valley will soon be reenergised, with the group behind Burleigh Heads institution Justin Lane taking over the corner previously home to Alfred & Constance to open a Brisbane-based iteration. Renowned for its pizza, pasta and party vibes, Justin Lane will look to bring much of its beloved offering to its Brisbane expansion site, which is undergoing a timely refurb. The landlord is currently in the process of refreshing the site’s existing heritage-listed buildings, and is also adding a new rooftop bar. Once complete, the Justin Lane crew – alongside Space Cubed Design Studio – will add its signature aesthetic spin to the venue, which will boast a 200-capacity dining space, high-end underground cocktail and vinyl bar With Love, The Underground (described as venue unto itself), a casual coffee spot and the aforementioned rooftop space. The menu will be the same as Burleigh Heads to start, with sourdough pizzas and handmade pasta to star alongside a stellar cocktail list. Expect wine to be a bigger focus, with the Justin Lane team eager to bolster the range of its vino to better cater to Brisbane oenophiles. Construction works are reaching the pointy end, with Justin Lane looking to make a big opening announcement in the next couple of months. Keep your eyes peeled!

Baker D. Chirico, Newstead: Baked-goods lovers have been waiting for more word on the launch of Baker D. Chirico’s Newstead bakery. As one of Melbourne’s most highly regarded bakeries, Baker D. Chirico specialises in loaves and pastries made using traditional bread-making techniques, natural fermentations and biodynamic stone-milled wholegrain flour. The team announced its expansion to Brisbane in late 2020, but with the pandemic still upending plans throughout 2021, 2022 and 2023, some delays were inevitable. That said, things are looking very hopeful for the bakery’s opening this year. The space at the base of Long Island on Longland Street is complete and the bakery is giving us a delicious preview with a bread and pastry pop-up. Each day of opening, the Baker D. Chirico pop-up (accessed via a laneway just off Longland Street) will serve a rotating selection of treats, including its casalinga (white sourdough) as well as one or two other specialty breads. You’ll also find sweets like croissants, pain au chocolate and bombolone, as well as a selection of savoury options – think ham and gruyere croissants and lunch paninis. The pop-up will run for a limited time with various hours – keep an eye on Baker D. Chirico’s Instagram page for opening hours and updates.

Sbagliata, Hamilton: If you thought Portside Wharf couldn’t top its cracking run of openings in 2023, you thought wrong. The riverside hub is looking to go above and beyond in 2024 with a raft of new arrivals on the cards. In addition to the likes of Portside Social, The Ballpark and Dumbo, Portside Wharf will also welcome Sbagliata to the precinct this August. The brainchild of Ashley-Maree Kent, owner of Ramona Trattoria and Bar Rocco, Sbagliata will be bringing Ashley’s hand-shaped pasta to Portside. Work is underway on the 174-sqm, 120-seat restaurant, which will boast two kitchens. One will be a separate pasta kitchen, in which Ash and her team will pump out a broad array of pasta varieties using traditional, hands-on techniques. Another kitchen, equipped with a woodfire and coal grill, will be tasked with cooking a suite of hot entrees and mouth-watering mains (think proteins and fish – plus vegan- and vegetarian-friendly options). The pasta kitchen will be serving a mix of hand-shaped pasta and pasta al bronzo (otherwise known as bronze-cut pasta, or varieties that are extruded through bronze dies). All of this (plus an extensive list of wines) will be served in a nostalgia-laced space designed by Alkot Studio, boasting houndstooth curtains, cork floor tiles and a red-and-white colour scheme.

Bunker Barre, West End: The Thomas Dixon Centre, home of the Queensland Ballet, was the recent recipient of a $100-million makeover that transformed the cultural precinct into a full-blown arts and entertainment hub. In addition to improving the world-class facilities, the revitalisation also added two rooftop event spaces, the Champagne Terrace and the Kite Terrace – plus room for some more exciting food-centric additions. Overseeing the Thomas Dixon Centre’s hospitality offering is restaurateur Simon Barakat, who will be adding two dining concepts to the precinct this year. The first is Bunker Barre, a high-end Conrad Gargett-designed 80–100-seater restaurant located down in the World War II-era bunkers that occupy the centre’s basement level. Here, the heritage brickwork will be accented by a dark colour palette and brass touches. Booth seating will be set within the bunker’s alcoves, while a private-dining space is also expected to feature. The offering will reportedly showcase refined, share-style Mediterranean-inspired cuisine with a focus on seafood and protein, joined by a wine list boasting plenty of a range of top-shelf vino. In addition to Bunker Barre, Simon will also open an all-day bistro closer to the building’s main entrance on Drake Street. Positioned more as an approachable, everyday kind of concept, the bistro will hawk healthy and classic breakfasts, as well as lunch and dinner dishes as the day progresses. Both venues are expected to open in 2024.

Pawn & Co, Fortitude Valley: A one-of-a-kind bar will be taking over a beloved site in Fortitude Valley this year when Pawn & Co opens on Ann Street. Pawn & Co, best described as a pawn-shop-meets-nightclub hybrid, first opened in Melbourne 11 years ago. It piqued the curiosity of punters with the promise that everything inside the venue was for sale – including the business itself. Pawn & Co’s owners, Josh Lefers, Stephen Wools and Steve Thomas, are now bringing the Pawn & Co experience to Brisbane, transforming a two-level site (previously home to Laruche) into a wonderland of beats, bang-on cocktails and big-ticket auction items. Once the fit-out (undertaken by Lowry Group) is complete, Pawn & Co’s interior will be coated in an assortment of curiosities and imported one-of-a-kind finds, as well as some elaborate, art-like custom fixtures. All Pawn & Co stock will be affixed with QR codes to give you a history of each object, with new pieces expected to be added regularly. Pawn & Co Brisbane will also boast its own perfumery (which will craft scents for sale as retail outside of the club), a mechanical snow globe (that moves between levels) housing its own bar experience, and a small automated nail salon. Top-notch DJs will propel bodies into motion via a brand-new sound system, while the bar will be dispensing interactive carnival-inspired cocktails. Pawn & Co will be launching soon.

Evra, Newstead: Newstead continues to gun for the title of Brisbane’s epicurean epicentre, with more and more bars and eateries slotting into vacant spaces around the suburb. Los Angeles-inspired marketplace, wine boutique and restaurant Evra has had a plum site on Longland Street staked out for some time, but now we’re finally getting to learn more about what the multifaceted locale has in store. Offering everything from convenient and nutritious grab-and-go morsels to luxurious lunches and dinners, Evra will cater to most needs across its two distinct halves. The casual marketplace will serve busy locals a range of lifestyle essentials, including fresh, nutritionally dense, easy-to-grab meals, bottled tonics, smoothies, huge salads and coffees. Plus, there will also be a bespoke wine merchant for last-minute vino pickups. Evra’s 120-seat dine-in portion will see head chef Neven Vanderzee put his Michelin-starred experience to the test with breakfast, lunch and dinner menus showcasing coastal and country produce sourced from local growers and producers. These dishes will be complemented by a beverage program curated by head sommelier and venue manager Florian Valieres, featuring classic cocktails as well as a sturdy wine list that is already earning acclaim. Evra is expected to open in the coming months.

Naldham House, Brisbane City: To say the next few years are going to be big for Brisbane City would be an understatement. In addition to Queen’s Wharf, the inner city landscape is going to be massively changed by Dexus’s ambitious Waterfront Brisbane project, which is currently transforming a chunk of Eagle Street’s riverside stretch into a world-class business and tourist hub. While the precinct isn’t expected to be completed for a few years, the first stage is set to open in mid-July. Naldham House, a multi-level drinking and dining hub from DAP & Co. (the team behind Walter’s SteakhousePopolo and The Gresham) will be home to three unique concepts. On the ground floor will be Naldham House Brasserie and Terrace – a European-inspired restaurant helmed by executive chef Douglas Keyte and boasting colourful interiors by Anna Spiro. On the second level, chic late-night cocktail bar Club Felix will serve cocktails, champagne and charcuterie until 2:00 am. Naldham House’s top-floor venue is still a secret, but we’ve heard it will be open in time for spring. We can’t wait!

The Wright House, Woolloongabba: The Talisman Group has made a mission out of establishing its own dining precinct in the foundations of South City Square. Later this year the hospitality group will add The Wright House, a whopping 300-seat brewpub, to its thriving portfolio, which also includes Sasso ItalianoCasa ChowSouth City WinePurple Palm and Los Felix. This hybrid bar and eatery will mesh mid-century American architecture and Australian pub culture, taking design cues from iconic American architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright. A homely aesthetic of stone, tile and timber will be applied to the spacious interior, itself boasting a hovering cantilevered mezzanine accessed by a floating glass and wood staircase, an open kitchen centred around a 2.5-m Spanish style parrilla with a woodfire hearth, and six custom rose-gold bright tanks above the bar. Executive chef Gabriele Di Landri will craft a menu of pub-style fare melding Australian and American flavours, using the woodfire grill to cook everything from beef burgers to veal schnitzels. The bright tanks will be used to dispense beer crafted by the crew at Aether Brewing, including an American-style ale made exclusively for The Wright House. These beers will be available alongside classic cocktails, a broad array of spirits and a wine list of quaffable Australian vino. That’s not all the Talisman Group has planned for the venue – up on the mezzanine level guests will find The Office, a 30-seat private dining room and old-school American-style steakhouse that is shaping up to be the perfect spot for Mad Men fans to live out their Don Draper fantasies (as long as those fantasies include oysters and steaks at midday). Expect black-leather booths, dark mahogany furnishings, filing cabinets built into the joinery, vintage lamps and shelves displaying decanters, globes and books. The parilla will also be utilised for The Office’s menu of steakhouse fare, with an assortment of salivation-worthy steaks available alongside American-inspired steakhouse sides. The Office will boast a dedicated Manhattan bar and a wine list showcasing big and bold American vino (think shiraz and cabernet, to match the steaks). The Wright House and The Office is slated to open in late 2024.

Stilts and Mulga Bill’s, Brisbane City: This year is set to be a big one for denizens of the inner city. Not only will the forthcoming Kangaroo Point Green Bridge vastly improve access to The City’s waterfront, the crossing’s completion will also herald the arrival of two brand-new eateries from Michael Tassis of Opa Bar & Mezze and Yamas Greek + Drink fame. Tassis Group will open over-water restaurant Stilts and an all-day bicycle-themed cafe Mulga Bill’s on the green bridge, infusing both concepts with tributes to history and place. Stilts – a name that pays homage to the traditional Queenslander home, perched high on stilts  – will sit more than ten metres above the Brisbane River in a 300-sqm space boasting an estimated capacity of 130 guests. Equipped with a bar and a private-dining area, the restaurant will offer near-unbeatable views along The City’s waterfront stretch and across the Brisbane River to the Story Bridge and Kangaroo Point cliffs. In the kitchen, a woodfire grill will cook an array of morsels, with protein and seafood – think steak, lobster and mud crab – expected to be key components of the menu. A more casual cafe-style concept compared to its sibling venue Stilts, Mulga Bill’s will serve woodfired pizzas, tapas, steak and seafood to dine-in patrons, grab-and-go pastries and coffee to commuters, plus takeaway picnic boxes perfect for grazing amongst the nearby parkland and public spaces. More details on Stilts and Mulga Bill’s will be revealed closer to the Green Bridge’s completion.

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