Brisbane bars: A guy's guide

Brisbane bars: A guy’s guide

Last week, we presented a nifty girl’s guide to Brisbane bars. This week, we focus on the lads and help them navigate Brisvegas’ unique nightlife.

And so… (in no particular order):

UQ’s Red Room and QUT’s Guild Bars:

Hey, you know that big, important thesis you’ve been working on about the molecules and the educational paradigms and the big words that make you sound really smart? Well, shut up about it already! Nobody goes to a uni bar to talk about uni. They go there to consume large amounts of reasonably-priced beer and hit on young, attractive people who enjoy similar lifestyles and interests (i.e. everyone’s broke and hates public transport). Best to hit up uni bars towards the end of exam blocks, when the atmosphere is particularly “festive”. UQ and QUT (Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove).

Down Under Bar & Grill:

If anyone’s easy to impress, it’s a backpacker who has spent the past two weeks rationing out Mi Goreng. So, buy two or three Sambuca shots and flash your wealth! The dance floor is a sweaty, hormone-fuelled jungle of singles and pretty much everyone is there to have a laugh and enjoy a spot of silliness. Be sure to bring a healthy dose of self-deprecating humour and try to remember that being Australian is not exotic in Australia. Edward St – City.

The Normanby Hotel:

Oh, you play Rugby League? Well, then you’re pretty much sorted. Enjoy! Musgrave Rd- Red Hill.

Embassy Hotel:

Sporting a decent mix of people and a large dance floor, the Embassy is also close to several late night food spots. Crowd-pleasing, inoffensive music ensures no one feels out-of-the-loop, while the upstairs seating arrangements allow several groups to squeeze together and gradually make friends. Those looking to stand out from the ‘top 40′ crowd can take the “don’t-you-just-hate-this-song” approach, but be careful to not come across as a killjoy. Elizabeth St – City.

Bowler Bar:

A low-cut v-shirt and swish hair is enough to get you noticed at Bowler. So what if the music’s too loud? Everyone’s strung out, so it matters less what comes out of your mouth than what goes in. Beware the tandoori chicken fake tan set. Brunswick St – Fortitude Valley.

Bowls clubs:

Provided you don’t spill a jug of beer on the green and shatter someone’s shin by drunkenly attempting “The Flipper”, Brisbane’s bowls clubs are perfect for meeting new people. The lack of loud music allows for easy, relaxed conversations, which shy dancers can take advantage of. Chatting to the older regulars is an ideal way to flaunt your social versatility and show your ability to relate to others, while a round of barefoot bowls demonstrates an interest in sport. Also, the proximity to other groups ensures they’ll overhear your best jokes if they’re downwind (as well as your worst).

Woodland Bar:

Do you support the local music scene? Tonight you do! As a bonus, the fact that you have to walk down an alley to access this awesome little indie venue instantly gives you some extra street cred. Sip a few drinks nonchalantly, chat about your friend’s local “band” and make sure everyone sees you buy an EP (in vinyl) after the set (even if you hated the band). Coniston Lane – Fortitude Valley.


So many douchebag blokes who have more friends than you. Enter at your own risk. Ann St – Fortitude Valley.

The Exchange Hotel:

Throw on your best casual jacket, brush up on your Rugby Union knowledge and enjoy some open air. Conversations are considerably easier to strike up on colder nights, especially if you move from heater to heater – where folks tend to gather and are forced to talk to strangers to avoid awkwardness. The abundance of tables and chairs means it’s usually best to arrive in a group and set up camp, as opposed to moving around as nomadic singles. Edward St – City.

Fridays Riverside:

If you’re a hot shot legal/accounting/advertising type, make sure you duck home after work and throw on your suit. Try to have loud, obnoxious conversations near groups of indifferent girls in cocktail dresses that include gems like: “Yeah man, I was totally thinking, I’m an executive account manager and I definitely shouldn’t be stapling my own TPS reports. I mean, I’m the guy who closed the goddamn Wilson account!”. Also, don’t forget to dance like a 58-year-old maths teacher. Girls love that. Eagle St – City.

The Brunswick Social:

New on the scene. Lots of good looking people and an open friendly drinking area mean it’s pretty easy to jump tables to a more interesting conversation. Brunswick St – Fortitude Valley.

Black Bear Lodge:

Make sure you’re completely across Triple J’s high rotation list – because you’re going to have to spend at least 87 per cent of the night dissing it. Learn your local bands and read a few back issues of Frankie, because these girls – who are exceptionally well-read and classy – have a sharp eye for faux-hipsters. Make sure you’ve attended at least one gig earlier in the week so you have a talking point to fall back on. Brunswick St – Fortitude Valley.

Archive Beer Boutique:

This West End watering hole is the ideal place to flaunt your knowledge of obscure local and imported beers and look a tad classy, without coming across as a pretentious poser. Experienced cover bands help create a pub-like atmosphere, while the ultra-hip decor lends a sense of refinement and edginess. The lounge area is a perfect spot to escape to for a quiet chat. Boundary St – West End.


An Eden of middle-aged Gold Coast business-types and aspiring breakfast radio hosts, this Valley bar is the perfect place to pretend to be someone. The intense greenery and expensive fixtures serve as an easy conversation starter, while the multi-level design allows you to move from floor to floor to constantly annoy people about whatever lame blog or tee-shirt design “company” you’ve started. Ann St – Fortitude Valley.

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