Nightlife in Brisbane: where to drink, dance and party
From Visit Brisbane on June 2018
The office shuts at 5 but that doesn't mean everywhere else does. Brisbane's nightlife is extensive, spread across both sides of the river, and packed with heaps of options.
Nightlife in Fortitude Valley
Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley is home to Australia’s first designated entertainment precinct. Come nightfall, the Valley’s streets are alive and pumping with the sound of live bands, laughter and nightclub beats.
Don't forget, ID scanners operate in licensed venues in safe night precincts. You'll need to bring your ID any time you enter one of these venues after 10pm or you won’t be allowed in.
Outdoor and rooftop bars
Queensland has year-round good weather and it’s worth making the most of the great outdoors. Elixir Rooftop Bar on Ann St has a fresh, holiday feel with concrete slab tables, plenty of tropical greenery and a water feature. From there, hop on over to Up on Constance or Limes Rooftop, and finish at the very top – Eleven.
Discover all of Brisbane's rooftop bars here.
For something with a grungier feel, Ric’s Bar will welcome you with a young crowd, alternative music and cheap drinks. Step into its big backyard and feel like you’re at a friend’s house.
A few blocks away, Sixes and Sevens is a local favourite, open seven days a week, and offering a killer sunday sesh. This little cottage turned trendy gastropub, has intimate lounge spaces, sprawling outdoor area and long tables of reclaimed timber with a simple but clever food and beverage menu.
Other great pub-style venues with twinkly fairy-light lit beer gardens and breezy openair spaces are the Pig 'n' Whistle, The Wickham, Beach Burrito or The Osbourne Hotel.
Live music venues
There is always a huge selection of live music in Brisbane every weekend – and Fortitude Valley is at the heart of it. The Tivoli, The Triffid and The Zoo are three medium-sized live music venues that act as a temporary home to many national and international acts passing through.
For more intimate vibes, The Foundry has live music pumping multiple times a week in its 300-capacity band room and Black Bear Lodge is a hit with locals who go here to discover new and up-and-coming talent. Then there is Crowbar, an alternative venue that showcases the best punk, hardcore and metal bands that pass through the city.
If you’re looking for somewhere you can dance, The Valley is the place. Popular with the 20-something crowd, Oh Hello is a busy nightclub where university students can be seen dancing the night away with a jam jar cocktail in hand.
For those wanting variety, The Met has three dance floors within the club pumping RnB, house and techno music all night long. Just down the road, the GPO will have DJs spinning dance and R&B hits.
A bar with good vibes, The Press Club has live funk bands on Friday nights from 10pm ’til late. The sophisticated venue attracts an older crowd who know how to have fun and boogie down.
For a more casual vibe, The Flying Cock is large venue that has live rocks bands on weekends until late then DJs spinning from midnight onwards.
Specialist spirit and cocktail bars
If gin is your pick, Proud Henry specialises in the clear spirit, Dutch Courage Officer's Mess is a gin bar with a throwback to colonial times and not too far away Savile Row has a back bar with around 900 bottles of hard liquor. Cocktail lovers will appreciate the hidden away, petite-sized The Bowery across the road, which takes its inspiration from prohibition-era New York. Next door to that, pull up a stool at The Apo for a casual bite and cool cocktail.
There comes a time when a pub doesn’t cut it and listening to the top 40 dance beats on repeat tires. Brisbane has a few alternatives, the first being X & Y Bar. This place is known for its grunge vibe and live bands in a club atmosphere. On student Thursdays, X & Y spins '90s hits.
Across the road, Cloudland is a magical mega-club. Like stepping into a scene from The Great Gatsby, the two-storey club is filled with masses of hanging plants, vertical gardens and crystal chandeliers, plush lounges and a funk-dance vibe. On Thursdays, join Soul’sa – from 8.30pm a live band and dance instructors help get your hips shaking.
Brisbane’s biggest LGBTQI nightclub, The Beat Megaclub, has been spinning tunes from its Ann St location for more than 30 years. Still ever-popular, this is the place to dance, meet friends and party seven days a week.
Nightlife in Brisbane CBD
The after-dark scene in the CBD is a little less celebratory than in the Valley, but that doesn't mean there's nowhere to wet your whistle. Indulge in Brisbane City's local haunts with the below list.
Down by the river, the Eagle Street Pier precinct is home to plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes. To join the “suits” crowd, head to Fridays or Riverbar for knock-off drinks any night of the week.
Mr & Mrs G is an intimate bar with floor-to-ceiling windows allowing uninterrupted views of the Story Bridge, and the Bavarian Bier Café has litre steins to keep you busy.
Laneway bars in Brisbane City
Parallel to the Queen Street Mall, between George and Albert Sts, Burnett Lane is a best-kept secret for the alternative and hidden range of bars, cafes and eateries. Favourites include Brew, Super Whatnot and Felix Espresso & Winebar.
Gresham Lane is home to NYC street food bar Red Hook, Italian tapas joint Coppa Spuntino (order a glass of red and a plate of fresh prosciutto) and The Gresham, a whisky and bourbon saloon oozing old-world charm with an eccentric touch.
Irish pubs, craft beer bars and gastropubs
In between, the city's home to a stack of friendly Irish pubs including Gilhooleys, Irish Murphy’s and Mick O’Malley’s which are always a cheery place for a pint.
Then there is Embassy Bar – the CBD’s first craft beer bar, and The Stock Exchange, which features a beautiful rooftop bar. Nearby, Mr Edward's Alehouse will quench any thirst, and Buffalo Bar will fill you up with beer, whiskey and wings.
Slightly out of the CBD, sure, but close enough to count, Caxton Street is the nightlife hub during sporting events but it knows how to celebrate after a regular sunset too. Hotel LA, Lefty's Old Time Music Hall, Brewski and, of course, the Caxton Hotel are Petrie Terrace staples.
West End and South Bank nightlife
West End has always been a melting pot of cultures the local style is diverse, alternative and vintage while South Bank is the entertainment hub of anything on the south of the river. In between the two, Fish Lane embraces everything magical about laneway culture.
Craft beer bars, breweries & pubs
Boundary St is at the heart of West End. Here, Archive Beer Boutique opened growing craft beer appreciation in Brisbane before breweries Catchment Brewing Co and Brisbane Brewing Co continued the trend.
Those after a classic pub needn't look far. The Boundary Hotel, Lock ’n’ Load Bistro and Melbourne Hotel provide a solid atmosphere with better-than-average bistro food.
Cocktail bars in West End
Where to see live music
The Bearded Lady looks small from the outside but it punches above its weight with acts, enthusiasm and energy in the performance area at the back of the venue. Lock ’n’ Load Bistro also features a solid line up of live music.
Relax at River Quay
Right at the south end of South Bank, River Quay is the place to indulge in flashy nights out. Stokehouse Q, Aquitaine Brasserie, Popolo, The Jetty South Bank and River Quay Fish will cater for all kinds of tastes.
Wander down Grey Street
Grey Street stretches from one end of South Bank to the other. Namedropping every joint along the way will be pretty boring, but some highlights include The Ship Inn, The Manhattan Line, Tippler's Tap, Cowch Dessert & Cocktail Bar, Junk, Bacchus and The Charming Squire.
Meander Little Stanley Street
A true Brisbane gem, Fish Lane takes everything you thought Melbourne would be good at and does it better. We're not even slightly sorry. Explore Gauge, Julius Pizzeria, the exclusive Maker bar, Saccharomyces Beer Cafe and Wandering Cooks. Then check out our more comprehensive guide to Fish Lane.