Where to eat and drink during Brisbane Writers Festival
Ask any writer and they’ll tell you that hunger is a term that can mean so much more than a simple desire for food. For example, folks can voraciously devour information, seek sustenance from books and wolf down wordplay like there’s no tomorrow. But at the end of the day, all that mental mastication is going to require some genuine food, not just food for thought. The Brisbane Writers Festival is in town from September 5–8, taking over the State Library of Queensland and QAGOMA for three days of enlightening discussion. Between sessions of witty repartee and impassioned conversation, guests will need to top up their energy levels. We’ve assembled a hit-list of cafes, bars and restaurants perfect for refuelling and digesting the day’s events.
If you’re going to be taking in a bunch of information throughout the day, you need to be at your sharpest. To be at your best, you need a good breakfast. South Bank and South Brisbane is teeming with great coffee and breakfast spots. Kick off your day at Pourboy for some phenomenal sit-down far and a cup of nitro coffee off tap, or nab a latte and a croissant to go from Newport’s on Merivale Street. Should you feel like savouring a fresh baguette or vegetarian salad, Naïm on Melbourne (affectionately known as NÖM) should be your first port of call. If you need to top up your caffeine levels throughout the day, you’ve got a plethora of options to choose from. Miss Green’s Beans, Coffee Mentality and Fuelled Cafe will keep you pepped, while Nonna’s Deli is known as the spot to go for piadinas, paninis and focaccias, and Belle Epoque has a killer selection of French patisserie treats to savour.
With the morning session in the bag, it’s time to think about lunch. Round up your crew and make tracks to Fish Lane, where you’ll find the likes of plant-based burger joint Grassfed, hip fish and chippery Ol’ School, Vietnamese street-eats joint Hello Please and quirky craft-beer bar Saccharomyces Beer Cafe. Stretch your legs a little bit further and you’ll be able to slurp up the delights available at noodle joints Ramen Danbo and Taro’s Ramen, grab a slice or a bowl of tasty pasta from Italian eatery Salt Meats Cheese, or opt for a tantalising take on mod-Oz pub grub at Little Big House. South Bank’s Grey Street strip is also teeming with options, from pan-Asian eatery Junk and poke destination Suki to burger outpost Brooklyn Depot and gastropub The Charming Squire.
The day’s panels have wrapped, and your mind is buzzing with the words of writers, poets and storytellers. Now is the perfect time to discuss the events of the festival with your peers, preferably over dinner. If proximity is your only deciding criteria, then Fish Lane once again has the goods. Julius Pizzeria is one of Brisbane’s best Italian restaurants (in fact, it’s one of Brisbane’s best restaurants, – period) and would make a great spot for lively conversation. Next door you’ll find Gauge (another of Brisbane’s best), while a little bit further along you’ll find Asian-inspired eatery Chu The Phat and hearty American barbecue joint Big Roddy’s Rippin’ Rib Shack. Head toward’s South Bank’s bustling epicentre and you’ll have the option of choose spots like craft beer and burger bar Tippler’s Tap, long-running Italian restaurant The Spaghetti House, succulent seafood spot River Quay Fish, modern Chinese destination Tai Tai, Bavarian-inspired beer hall Munich Brauhaus and high-end fine diner Signature.
Should you and the crew be eager to see the evening through to the very end, the area has a bevy of bars perfect for a nightcap. Maker is one of Brisbane’s top-flight cocktail bars – if you can get a seat, you’ll be treated to some of the most imaginative concoctions around. If you’re more of a vino lover, Maeve Wine Bar and La Lune Wine Co. in Fish Lane has bottles upon bottles to select from. If you’re down for a low-key pint, The Milk Factory down on Montague Road has a phenomenal array of frothy beverages on hand. For hip-hop beats and cocktails, secretive saloon Next Episode is a lively spot for a sip, while over in South Bank proper, revellers rave about Soleil Pool Bar, STOKEBAR Q and Emporium South Bank’s Piano Bar.
Can’t find what you’re after? Have a browse through the Stumble Guide to see what else is around!
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