Lang’s Lounge in The Valley is dispensing cinema-inspired cocktails made with local spirits
Fortitude Valley’s small-bar scene deepened this month with the arrival of Lang’s Lounge, a cocktail bar pouring film-inspired riffs on some of the most iconic drinks known to man. If you love local spirits, drinks with an experimental edge or just a good ol’ yarn, Lang’s Lounge might be your new favourite sipping spot.
California Lane is slowly turning into Fortitude Valley’s home of small bars. In 2023 alone, the strip has welcomed SoCal-inspired joint Viva La Cali and intimate hideaway Stir Down (both new concepts from the 1st Edition crew), as well as emerald-hued boozer Nok Nok, a bit further up the lane. Joining this influx of new sipping spots is Lang’s Lounge, a cosy cocktail joint nestled in where neon-lit party bar Queens once operated. The venue is the brainchild of seasoned hospitality veterans Kate Marshall and James Lang, who linked up after James spied the vacant site was up for lease. “I showed Kate the space and we both agreed that we could make it work,” says James. “I showed her my vision board with the [Lang’s Lounge] concept. She loved the name, so we kept it. Our next venue is going to probably be called Marshall.”
Lang’s Lounge taps into James’ love of classic cinema, swapping the preexisting punchy aesthetic for a classically comfortable, almost-vintage vibe. “It’s an eclectic sort of mix,” says James of the decor, which features a bunch of timber tables, wingback chairs and Chesterfield couches – plus some more informal seating out back in the laneway. “The mix of furniture has been curated by Kate – we’re really trying to get that sort of Art Deco vibe that’s really conducive to that early cinema theatre.” A number of framed movie posters on the walls not only reinforces the cinematic theme, but also links cleverly to the Lang’s Lounge cocktail list, which could also be considered another point of particular interest for James.
At its core, Lang’s Lounge is a cocktail bar. Here, James and his team are reaching deep into their bag of tricks in order to deliver a suite of sips that celebrate inventiveness. “One thing that we wanted to do is get stuff that we can manipulate,” says James. “I like to fat wash, I like to milk clarify and make punches. We have quite an inclusive and large classic list for a small bar, but then we have our five manipulated monthly specials.” These five specials are named and inspired by a corresponding movie poster on the wall. For example, The Godfather is a source of inspo for An Offer He Can’t Refuse – a potent number that fuses maple bacon and butter-washed Campari with rosso vermouth and Grandad Jack’s 65 Miles gin. Then there’s the I Feel Pretty, a West Side Story-inspired libation that is described as a full-cream milk clarified cosmopolitan boasting Diablo Co.’s Eros Original vodka, Cointreau, cranberry, lime and sugar syrup.
Do you spy a bit of a local theme in the mix? That’s on purpose. Lang’s Lounge is also championing local distilleries where possible, sourcing a bunch of spirits made within a 200-km radius of the bar. In addition to Grandad Jack’s and Diablo Co., the Local Heroes shelf also houses Milton Rum and Lula Rum. “We’re expanding upon [the range] in the near future,” says James. “There’s no shortage of distilleries and we want to shout them out. We do an extra cocktail special every month where most, if not all, of the spirits within it are a local product.”James is all about sharing the wealth, as far as knowledge is concerned. He regularly uploads blogs on the Lang’s Lounge website with how-tos on fat-washing basics to the history of classic cocktails. The rest of the back bar is stocked with the essentials, but whiskey lovers will be thrilled to notice a tidy range of drops from around the globe. Beyond cocktails, Lang’s Lounge is cracking tins from 10 Toes Brewery on the Sunshine Coast, plus low- or no-preservative wines that you won’t easily find in bottle shops.
When asked about hopes for the bar long term, James’ passion for good, honest hospitality shines through. “I would love Lang’s Lounge to be known for quality service, quality cocktails and as just a great venue,” confesses James, “Our aim is to be that venue that’s just really chill, where you’re going to actively enjoy the beverage you’re having.”
Lang’s Lounge is now open to the public. Operating hours and important links can be found in the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.