Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew
Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley's new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew

Meet Stranded – Fortitude Valley’s new punk-inspired cocktail bar from The Zoo crew

The Zoo on Ann Street has long been a beacon for Brisbane’s music-loving set. Its hallowed stage has hosted numerous international and local icons – its floorboards marked by the stomping feet of thousands. This stalwart endures as one of The Valley’s iconic fixtures and now its current ownership is looking to celebrate its legacy (and that of similarly storied rock ‘n’ roll hubs like CBGB and Max’s Kansas City) with its new sibling bar Stranded. This soon-to-open boozer has been conceived as a home for post-gig punters, a melting pot for like-minded musicians to connect and a tantalising tipple temple for the epicurious. More than anything, it’s a hub of good times. Want a peek inside? We were granted a pre-opening look around – here’s what we saw …

A dive bar that grew up – that’s how Luke ‘Boo’ Johnston describes Stranded, Fortitude Valley’s newest nightspot. Boo’s no stranger to dive bars – he’s seen the interior of many a dingy drinkery and begrimed band room throughout his storied career as a tour manager and guitar technician. Though he harbours a soft spot for these haunts and their gritty charms, Boo desired to create a bar of his own that, while remaining rough around the edges, was a touch more mature than your usual seedy saloon. It’s a goal Boo shares with business partners Cat Clarke and Shane Chidgzey. Together the trio are the co-owners of The Zoo, one of Brisbane’s most storied live-music venues. After becoming custodians of the beloved gig spot late last year, Boo, Cat and Shane have endeavoured to supplement its offering in ways that would not only help it withstand the slings and arrows of pandemic living, but offer something new for punters to enjoy while still upholding its legacy as one of the rock ’n’ roll community’s preeminent pillars. Boo, Cat and Shane wasted no time implementing well-received additions to The Zoo soon upon taking over, including the installation of air-conditioning and the construction of a kitchen, from which the newly minted Zoopreme Pizzeria operates. These moves have proven to be merely a prelude to more ambitious manoeuvres being enacted by The Zoo crew over on the other side of Winn Lane. Stranded, which officially opens to the public in early April, is one such exciting concept.

Stranded is a cocktail bar that weaves in inspiration plucked from Brisbane’s early punk history (the bar’s namesake is drawn from (I’m) Stranded, the debut record from seminal Aus-punk group The Saints) and tastefully blends it with the rock ’n’ rolling spirit of iconic bars like Max’s Kansas City. The joint sits above street level in the space that previously served as the headquarters for QMusic and the Brisbane arm of APRA AMCOS, with desks and computers now exchanged for an aesthetic that pays homage to the punk alter-culture of the 70s and 80s. Boo, Cat and Shane have sought to craft a vibe that is welcoming to all comers, be they rebels and non-conformists, music lovers, cocktail connoisseurs or curious blow-ins. Cat has taken the lead on Stranded’s furnishing effort, thrifting all sorts of decor, seating and artwork to give the 80-seat venue a comfy worn-in feel. At one end of the space sits the timber-topped bar, bedecked in black subway tiles and a lengthy mirror with a strip of cushy red-leather stools offering a primo perch for regulars. Stranded’s other end is affectionately referred to as the Naughty Corner – a banquette-lined seating space adorned with religious paraphernalia that’s illuminated by the light emanating from clusters of waxy candles. The rest of the space is filled with antique couches, musical curios and obscure oddities – a vintage photographic print of Nick Cave hangs near the DJ set up, where a rotating roster of vinyl DJs will spin an assortment of tunes, from rare old-school 45s to more contemporary records.

Being a cocktail bar, Stranded is suitably provisioned to create a host of classics and signatures. The back bar is flush with all sorts of spirits, but anchoring the selection is a curated list of tequila and mezcal. Roughly 50 varieties take pride of place in the middle of Stranded’s bar shelf, with smooth sips sourced from independent makers and distillers of Mexico – think small batches of hand-numbered elixirs, all funnelled into a tight range of ambrosial concoctions. Drinks such as Galgani’s Passion (spiced rum, Milton Rum, Chambord, passionfruit and dragonfruit), the Coriander Jalapeno Mojito (El Tarasco Charanda, agave, coriander, jalapeno and lime), the Casa Margarita (Nuestra Soledad mezcal, agave and lime) and a mezcal- or tequila-infused old fashioned (served with agave and grapefruit bitters) are early standouts. Beyond spirits and cocktails, Stranded pours an array of Mexican and other international beers (though one tap is reserved for a frothie from Fonzie Abbott), while the wine list showcases a tight 50-strong selection of organic producers. The Zoo’s kitchen, helmed by Luigi De Santo, will be churning out a malleable range of share-style meals with roots in Mediterranean cuisine accented by native-Australian ingredients. Many of Luigi’s dishes are made with mezcal in the ingredients list, with its smoky flavour serving to heighten and enhance the savoury aspect of the meals. Highlights include mezcal-cured salmon with Davidson plum citronette and cucumber, 32-hour slow-cooked mezcal-infused and coffee-rubbed beef cheek, slow-cooked sovereign lamb ribs with mint yoghurt, pita and rocket salad, and burrata served with lashings of five-year aged balsamic vinegar on a bed of baked cherry tomatoes and rocket. Moving forward, The Zoo team plan to open a bottle-shop below in the old Tym’s Guitar space – rest assured we’ll have more on that soon!

Stranded will open to the public in early April. The team has opened up pre-launch access to table bookings on its websiteclick here to sign up and register your interest and you can score a table before the public. Head to the Stumble Guide for more information.

The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.

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