I found a fantastic article on 'what to do in Brisbane' which was taken from Vogue entertaining and living.
I am going to use it to send out with my invitations for out of town guests.
Thought I would share it on here for anyone that may be after something similar.
WARNING: Its long!
For a long weekend
friday: settling in
Choices, choices – accommodation options will depend on your weekend whim. City or village? If it’s the former, Urban (345 Wickham Tce, 1800 777 789, urbanbrisbane.com.au), the third in Accor’s portfolio after Sydney and Melbourne, is a smart redevelopment of the iconic 1970s Gazebo Hotel. Many boomers will have tripped over their first love at the ‘Windows over Brisbane’ cocktail bar in its glory days as the place to meet in Brisbane. It’s now a very James Bond-ish executive eyrie, perfect for plotting world domination... or a private dinner. Newly slicked up into the antithesis of ’70s kitsch, Urban is a cool, contemporary bolthole, about five
minutes’ walk from the city’s heart and Brisbane River, but just across the road
from the beautiful green haven of Roma Street Parkland. Best of all, that wacky
’70s architecture ensures every room has sensational views.
If it’s village life you’re after, head to Fortitude Valley. Like so many inner
suburbs in Australia, it’s being reinvigorated by developments that are
attracting a new, sophisticated crowd. The Emporium (1000 Ann St) is one of these. Check in to the precinct’s centrepiece, the boutique Emporium Hotel (emporiumhotel.com.au, (07) 3253 6999). The young, enthusiastic staff’s attitude (or lack of it) makes quite an impression, as do the hotel’s foyer and bar, featuring works by Brisbane’s Urban Art Projects crew. The look is extreme opulence, with a cheeky modern edge, especially in the cocktail bar, which is utterly un-hotel-like in its ambience and pulls in an eclectic crowd on Friday and Saturday nights. Rooms are seriously comfortable and well equipped, and more restrained than the public spaces. On the roof, a saltwater lap pool beckons, complete with custom-made day beds. There’s WiFi up there, too, for business while you sunbake.
Step through the hotel’s curved glass doors and you’re in the thick of it. Shopping is definitely high-end, with glamour boutiques such as Samantha Ogilvie (Shop 3, (07) 3852 4661, samanthaogilvie.com), Camargue (Shop 1, (07) 3252 1100) and Jean
Brown Robe (Shop 12, (07) 3257 0651, jeanbrown.com.au) offering everyone
from US designers Ellie Tahari and Catherine Malandrino via Singapore’s alldressedup and France’s YSL and Lanvin, to Australia’s Megan Park and
Easton Pearson. Architecture, design and coffee tragics will love Coaldrake’s Bookshop (Shop 26, (07) 3854 0188) for a browse and a latte.
While Emporium Hotel doesn’t have in-house dining, there’s a range of good options at close range, from early-bird breakfast through to dinner. Breakfast at
Belle Epoque (belleepoque.com. au, (07) 3852 1500), a classic French-style brasserie, or at the bright, breezy Depot (Shop 31, (07) 3666 0188, thedepot.com.au)
across the way. Though you might want to save yourself for a late lunch at Depot, served from 3pm daily, as Melbourne’s Frank Camorra designed the tapas menu. from top urban; emporium Hotel; three Bistro opposite grounds of the gallery of
Modern art, on the South Bank Have dinner at the 2009 Queensland Food and Wine Guide’s Best New Restaurant, Three Bistro (Shop 55, (07) 3852 3133, threebistro.com.au), a pared-back space that manages to be both stark and soothing, due to design elements such as acoustic ceiling panelling, plush carpet and padded
chairs. You know you’re in good hands when the owners are chef David Pugh,
Michael Conrad and Peter Marchant, of Restaurant Two fame, and the menu
delivers with dishes such as asparagus served with a perfectly poached duck
egg and crisp shards of jamón de Serrano; tender quail on grilled zucchini
with a green olive tapenade; and a dreamy hazelnut parfait with caramelised pear and nougat.
saturday: out and aBout
Get an early start so you don’t have to queue for breakfast at Anouk (212 Given
Tce, (07) 3367 8663) in Paddington. Justine Whelan, former co-owner of The
Gunshop Café in West End, is packing ’em in at her new eatery. It’s noisy, but
atmospheric, with its whirling metal fans. Better still, sit outside and sip a
fruit shake du jour, such as pineapple, lime and coconut, as you dither over the
menu – prosciutto-baked French toast with fried egg and spiced syrup, or
omelette with caramelised onion, goat’s curd, ciabatta and lemon, perhaps.
weekend crowds with lunch at Piaf (182 Grey St, (07) 3846 5026), a tiny, perfectly
formed bar/café/bistro with an equally small but delightful French wine list.
Round off your stay with a walk along the South Bank to the Gallery of Modern
Art (Stanley Pl, (07) 3840 7303, qag.qld.gov.au), the largest of its kind in Australia. Get here before 22 February to catch Contemporary Australia: Optimism, an exuberant exhibition of adult-and child-friendly artworks and installations from around Australia.
If the queue’s too long at Anouk, head back down the hill to Iceworks (cnr Given Tce and Dowse St, (07) 3367 9800, iceworks.com.au), a brand new refurb of, yes, an old iceworks factory, and home to an eponymous casual eatery, the funky basement-level Dowse Bar and Peak, a fine-diner whose executive chef, James Williams, hails from Restaurant Two.
Spend the next couple of hours pottering up Given and Latrobe Terraces, all the way to Paddington Antique Centre (167 Latrobe Tce, (07) 3369 8088, pac.antiques.net.au). Formerly the Plaza Movie Theatre, built in 1929, it now houses enough trash and treasure to keep you amused for hours. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Just over the road from Anouk is the tiny French Door, named for the old French doors at the entrance (227 Given Tce, (07) 3367 8353,thefrenchdoor.com.au).
It’s a trove of modern jewellery, much of it designed by owner Kirsty Allen. There’s definitely a French thing going on around these parts, with the ever-lovely Ici et Là (No 32, (07) 3368 4005, icietla.com.au) and Found in France (No 37, (07) 3368 3800, foundinfranceatshelter.com), both housed in pretty weatherboard Queenslanders, offering desirables big and small for Francophile homemakers.
Among the galleries, check out the Lethbridge Gallery (No 136, (07) 3369
4790, brettlethbridge.com), where owner Brett Lethbridge, a Courier Mail
illustrator, showcases his spectacular works alongside those of artists Joel Rea
and Carly Scoufos. Baboa Gallery (No 169, (07) 3368 3933) is primarily
dedicated to indigenous art. Around the corner, the shady courtyard of Higher
Art (16 Collingwood St, (07) 3368 2288, higherart.com.au) beckons, as do the
limited editions by international artists including France’s Louttre B, and the
US’s Ann Parker and Byron Bratt.
If you can’t squeeze artworks into your weekend tote, don’t despair. Steve
and Dori Sheldon will ensure you take a little luxury home with you (if it lasts
that long) at their adorable little shop, Monty’s Chocolates (155 Latrobe
Tce, (07) 3369 3135). Monty is their chihuahua, in case you were wondering.
Here you can taste your way around the world’s finest, including some you
won’t find anywhere else in Australia. The better-than-sex Pralus liquid salted
caramels enclosed in dark chocolate, created for Mr Ramsay’s Claridges
restaurant, spring to mind.
For more portable luxe, hail a cab and head south of the river to West End
for a date with a glass of champers, a cupcake and fabulous perfumes at
Libertine Parfumerie (156 Hardgrave Rd, (07) 3844 4233). This chi-chi salon
sells rarities such as House of Creed and Annick Goutal, and is the only stockist
in our hemisphere for Lubin perfumes.
It’s nearly lunchtime, so head east to Woolloongabba’s thriving little antiques
strip. This quiet end of Logan Road is steps away from the Gabba cricket
ground. The streetscape is unique in Brisbane – a broad, tree-lined boulevard,
with historic buildings slowly being refurbished. Here, you’ll find Miss
Mouse (downstairs, No 28, (07) 3891 1906) and Nesting Bird (upstairs,
(07) 3392 4173). The first specialises in beautiful and quirky fashion, the second,
equally beautiful and quirky homewares. Don’t miss a peek into Ilja Grawert –
Violinmaker (No 20, 1800 882 468, grawert.com.au) at the voluptuous beauty of the instruments in various states of repair. Across the road, at the other end of the strip, is the racy Retro Moderne ( (07) 3891 6751, retromoderne.com.au), a warehouse-size space that sells 20th-century furniture. Opposite is the perfect antidote to shopping overkill, 1889 Enoteca ( (07) 3392 4315, 1889enoteca.com.au), just the place to linger over the Saturday papers and a plate of lush antipasti, put together by chef Craig McCabe, with a glass or two from the compendium-like wine list compiled by passionate Italophile Dan Clark. Manager Cam O’Brien seals the deal with his relaxed, welcoming style. You could happily stay all day and segue into
an afternoon espresso, then dinner. But if you still have the energy before a pre-dinner siesta, hightail it back over the river to Brunswick Street and take in a few of the galleries between New Farm and Fortitude Valley. Among the more established are Jan Murphy ((07) 3254 1855, janmurphygallery.com.au) and the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, including the Institute of Modern Art ( (07) 3872 9018, judithwrightcentre.com), while Nine Lives Gallery above Mellinos Café (330 Brunswick St Mall) is more edgy and free-form. Talking of edgy and free-form, book
dinner at Brisbane Powerhouse (119 Lamington St, New Farm, (07) 3358 8600, brisbanepowerhouse.org), an industrial-chic performance arts and
exhibition space right on the river that also houses Bar Alto (baralto.com.au,
(07) 3358 1063). Take in something intellectually challenging beforehand, or head straight upstairs to this crowded, rough-hewn space and get in touch with your inner peasant over the homemade pappardelle with goat ragù. All you need now is to wind down at a schmoozy lounge bar. Zuri (1/367 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley, (07)
3257 4999, zuri.com.au) is just the kind of extravagant, sexy space that grown-
ups crave. If you’ve skipped dinner, chef Taichi Ito’s Japanese tasting menu is a
fine match for a Curtain Call cocktail or two. Or check out the bigger-than-Ben
Hur theatrics of Cloudland around the corner (641 Ann St, Fortitude Valley).
This towering three-tiered space, with sliding roof, curvaceous white marble
bar, vertical gardens and massive ironwork-clad banquettes, is aimed at
over-25s who still want to party but keep themselves nice.
sunday: taking it slow
Time to wind down a little. Take a stroll through James Street, in Fortitude
Valley, a leafy enclave bristling with cafes, an art-house cinema and designer
shops, including Sass & Bide and Scanlan & Theodore and retro-bling jeweller Chelsea de Luca (0418 355 903, chelseadeluca.com.au). Belinda is nearby (8 Wandoo St, (07) 3252 8544, belinda.com.au), as is The Tribune (164 Arthur St), part of the Jean Brown empire, featuring cut-price designer accessories and local bargains. James Street Market (jamestmarket.com.au) is action-packed on a Sunday morning, with Cru Bar, Spoon deli and cafe and Quench gelati and juice bar on hand. Or make like an Italian at Jamie’s Espresso ( (07) 3257 1010) and take your short
black perched on a stool at the bar. Pick up something to tide you over until lunch
from Jocelyn’s Provisions (Shop 8 Centro on James, (07) 3852 3799, jocelynsprovisions.com.au), a hidden gem with a nice line in heart-shaped,
chocolate-ganache-filled friands. But before you walk another step, surrender yourself to Belinda Sidwell and her staff at the Thai Foot Spa (3A, 50 James St, (07) 3358 3600, thaifootspa.com.au) for a spot of Thai Bliss, Thai Pamper or Thai Luxe.
For some of Brisbane’s edgier fashion, head to the Brunswick Street end of Ann
Street. Rowan Sable ( (07) 3854 0114, rowansable.com.au), showcases
sisters Olivia and Phillipa Smith’s designs, while Blonde Venus ( (07) 3216 1735) continues to source the world’s hottest creatives, from London’s Richard Nicoll, Sophie Bach and Châpeaux Claudette to Melbourne’s Arnsdorf and Dhini. Around the corner, a sandwich board signals Fallow (Level 1, 354 Brunswick St, (07) 3854 0155). Head upstairs to the golden chaise longue, then enter a monochrome wonderland of men’s, women’s and unisex clothes and accessories. The interior alone is worth the climb, with raw brick walls interspersed with original ‘tea clipper’ wallpaper unearthed during owners Michael Doherty and Natalie Denning’s renos. All this inner-city hipness needs
tempering with some good, clean fun, and where better than out on the water.
To get a feel of the city’s topography, hop on a CityCat (13 12 30, translink.com.au)
at the New Farm Park jetty and glide to South Bank Parklands.