Pavement Whispers: Burleigh Heads institution Justin Lane is opening a Brisbane location in The Valley
A once-buzzing corner of Fortitude Valley’s entertainment precinct is set to come alive again later this year. The old Alfred & Constance site will soon be reborn as the Brisbane outpost of popular Burleigh pizza, pasta and party palace, Justin Lane. It’ll boast a 200-person dining space, an underground cocktail spot, a coffee slinger and a brand-new rooftop bar. Here’s what we know so far …
Once upon a time, the corner of Alfred and Constance Streets was the busiest nexus in Fortitude Valley. Alfred & Constance, the rambling multifaceted nightlife hub with its own tiki bar, beer garden, coffee nook and countless other cosy crannies was the place to be – a veritable choose-your-own-adventure paradise on The Valley’s fringe.
These days, the corner is eerily quiet. But, if a party-loving Gold Coast hospitality crew has anything to say about it, the site is about to enjoy a serious resurgence in nighttime activity.
Later this year, the group behind multi-level Burleigh Heads restaurant, bar and event space Justin Lane will take over the site, opening a Brisbane version of its perpetually pumping pizzeria, pasta bar and cocktail joint concept, where the aim of the game is to eat, drink and be messy.
The Justin Lane Group has been circling Brisbane for years, keeping an eagle eye on the city’s real estate market for a vacant space that hit the sweet spot between prime location and character-filled charm.
“Every time somebody would bring us a new development, it just didn’t feel like Justin Lane,” says Justin Lane general manager Johnny Hall. “[Burleigh’s] just such a fun little esoteric building and such a big part of our identity is in that architecture.”
In a stroke of serendipity, Johnny connected with the landlord of the Alfred & Constance site, which had recently been vacated by previous operators RMS Group. Not only was the corner available, but the landlord was also in the process of renovating aspects of the venue – works that involved restructuring all of the existing heritage-listed buildings and upgrading them with fresh finishes and polishes. The process also includes the construction of a new rooftop bar, something the Justin Lane Group is eager to utilise as the corner’s brand-new tenants.
“Architecturally, the building offers us opportunities to do some stuff that we’ve been keen to do for a long time,” says Johnny, who mentions that Gold Coast-based Space Cubed Design Studio will be working with the team to craft Justin Lane Brisbane’s interior aesthetic.
The venue’s dining area, which will boast an approximate capacity for 200 guests, will see the crew showcase the same heralded menu as the Gold Coast, which is anchored by its beloved sourdough pizzas and handmade pasta. “We’re going to stick with the tried and true at the moment,” says Johnny. “We’ll bring out a menu very similar to, if not identical, to Brisbane. Then we’ll listen to what the patrons ask for – what they like, what they don’t like – and we’ll let the venue take on a life of its own.”
The beverage offering will also be similar to its Burleigh counterpart (expect to see signature cocktails like the passionfruit and chilli Tommy’s margarita to appear), but oenophiles can expect some more high-end gear to find its way onto the Brisbane wine list. “I’m definitely excited to take the wine program a little bit more seriously,” Johnny adds. “We offer some reserves here for people who are a bit more discerning, but the opportunity to move into a market where that has a higher demand is definitely really exciting.”
Other new elements will include a coffee shop (something the team flirted briefly with at Burleigh Heads), while the site’s underground level will be reimagined as a high-end cocktail bar with a cutting-edge style of service and entirely separate offering, including its own drinks and music program.
Justin Lane’s arrival sees another once-popular Fortitude Valley institution gain an exciting new lease on life, following from Artesian Hospitality Group’s overhaul of The GPO and Stanbroke’s launch of Establishment 203 in the old Monastery space. For Johnny and the Justin Lane Group, the opportunity to play a part of The Valley’s ongoing evolution is a key motivational driver.
“We have a heap of time for a lot of Brisbane operators – there are so many amazing restaurants up here already,” says Johnny. “We’re really excited about adding our name to that list and earning a place in it. Hopefully before the midway point of the year we’ll be welcoming Brisbane guests into our new site.”
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