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Morag Kobez

Morag Kobez

Contributor

Morag is a food and travel journalist and restaurant critic. With a PhD in journalism focussing on digital disruption and the transformed the role of the food critic, she also teaches journalism at Queensland University of Technology and hospitality at Southern Cross University.

Articles (6)

The 12 best bars in Brisbane

The 12 best bars in Brisbane

Brisbane may be renowned for its sprawling pubs and beer gardens, where you can settle in for a laid-back session and soak up the year-round sunshine – but these days there’s a whole lot more to the river city’s booze scene than meets the eye. Whether you’re looking for the best spot for cleverly crafted cocktails or a dive bar where you can drink with your dog, these are the best bars in Brisbane right now. Hungry? Find the best places to eat in Brisbane here.

The 20 best restaurants in Brisbane

The 20 best restaurants in Brisbane

Brisbane restaurants are a celebration of the city’s diversity. From a sprawling Greek taverna overlooking the river and a tiny, Nordic-inspired fine diner to a contemporary Chinese eatery with a spicy Sichuan fish broth that will make your eyes water, these are the places Time Out recommends for a culinary adventure in the River City. Need a nightcap? These are the best bars in Brisbane.

The 21 best bars in Australia for a memorable night out

The 21 best bars in Australia for a memorable night out

There’s always time for a tipple when you’re travelling around Australia. Our thirsty country is swimming in stellar watering holes that are loved by locals and tourists alike. We’ve even got a handful of contenders on the World’s 50 Best Bars list to back us up. Whether you’re looking for the best spot for cleverly crafted cocktails or a natural wine bar with superb snacks, drink your way through our selection of the best bars in Australia. After a meal? Check out the best restaurants in Australia here.

The best Japanese restaurants in Brisbane right now

The best Japanese restaurants in Brisbane right now

Ramen, sushi, okonomiyaki, gyoza. Japan's food culture is a phenomenon, and Brisbane is blessed with an abundance of great Japanese dining options. From bustling little yakitori and izakaya bars to splurge-worthy multi-course meals, here are the best the city has on offer. Want to take a trip to India instead? Check out our list of the best Indian eats in town. Craving an old-school hunk of beef? Here are the best steaks in Brisbane. Money no object? These are the best restaurants in Brisbane bar none.

Seven outdoor barbecue spots in Brisbane

Seven outdoor barbecue spots in Brisbane

Brisbane weather turns on an endless supply of sunshine, and the city boasts many beautiful places to relax and make the most of it. The summer barbie is an institution in these parts, and the perfect way to catch up with friends and family in the great outdoors. Here are our tips for the best spots to visit this summer – and they all have free barbecues on site, so all you have to do is bring the snags and the snacks.

Five epic secret swimming spots around Brisbane

Five epic secret swimming spots around Brisbane

When the mercury rises this summer, leave the city behind and head for the hills. Nothing completes a hike through the rainforest like a relaxing swim in a cool, clear swimming hole surrounded by nature. Round up some friends, pack some snacks and hit the road. If hiking isn’t your scene, fear not. There are also beautiful, historic dams just outside the city where you can skip the hike and take a dip in the calm waters and just laze around on the grass in the sunshine.  

Listings and reviews (23)

The Scratch Bar

The Scratch Bar

The motto here is simple: No pretension, no dress code, just ‘damn’ good drinkin’. If glitzy Park Road seems like an unlikely location for a friendly little dive bar, don’t take our word for it. Stop by and see what tasty draft beer is on offer this week. BYO food and dogs. 

Felons Brewing Co

Felons Brewing Co

Right on the banks of the river under the Story Bridge, this is the easiest, breeziest spot in Brisbane to while away a Sunday session. Nab a table on the deck or sprawl on a picnic rug on the lawn and work your way through the fresh, frothy ales and lagers brewed on site.

Yoko Dining

Yoko Dining

Look for the cherry blossom branches and noren curtains and nab a table overlooking the river. Order yourself a Nashi Gimlet and some seafood from the raw bar and settle in for an izakaya experience like no other in Brisbane. Within the beautiful bones of a historic Howard Smith Wharves warehouse, both the fitout and the menus strike the perfect blend of fun and finesse. For maximum fun, finish with the miso caramel soft serve. 

Cobbler

Cobbler

West End might be renowned for its cheap and cheerful bars, but this definitely isn’t one of them. Behind the floor-to-ceiling velvet curtain, more than 300 bottles of whisky await, with some seriously luxe drams on offer. Served with an eyedropper of water or hand-cut ice, if you must.  

The Brightside

The Brightside

Forget about Electric Playground, Planet Nightclub, Mystique and the day club Boom that have all called this former Presbyterian church home over the years. Forget about the pounding house/electro beats, the laser lights sweeping the courtyard and the clenched jaws of ravers in search of phat all-night beats or post-festival after parties. This deconsecrated house of god and Fortitude Valley icon is now a place for those who worship at the altar of hardcore, metal, alt-rock/indie, punk and neo-psychedelia. Opening a venue that’s all about alternative live music? How very refreshingly 1990s of you, the Brightside. We take our beanies off to you. Inside the church is a big, no-frills, standing-only space with just a few booths and a couple of couches up the back. Front and centre is a decent-sized stage that’s already seen a swag of international and local bands play to packed houses.  There’s a pretty well-priced, bare-bones bar list, as is fitting, with an emphasis on quantity rather than quality (think band-themed buckets, depending on the line-up). Tables outside in the courtyard are a chill spot for a drink in the afternoon or evening regardless of whether there’s anything on inside. And if you’re too much of a tight-arse to spring for the cover charge, or too slow to get a ticket before the even sells out, you can sit outside in the beer garden for free even while the bands are on. We think that if there is a god, she’d love what they’ve done with the place.

Death and Taxes

Death and Taxes

Don’t be deterred by the menacing Grim Reaper mural on the wall outside. The welcome is warm, and so is the ambience inside this cavernous former warehouse in Brisbane’s oldest laneway, Burnett Lane. The amber glow of 1,000 bottles of quality booze behind the bar will warm even the darkest of hearts.  

E'cco Bistro

E'cco Bistro

E'cco Bistro is an institution. Owner and chef Philip Johnson was a pioneer of the Brisbane restaurant scene, and continues to keep it simple with favourites like salmon carpaccio, gnocchi with shiitake, mizuna and walnuts and fresh desserts like citrus parfait, meringue and crème fraîche sorbet. More than 20 years on, Johnson’s unfussy fare is still a favourite, ​​and the three- and five-course set menus are exceptional bang for your buck.

La Lune Wine Co

La Lune Wine Co

La Lune is exactly what a wine bar should be. The use of Coravin allows for all kinds of wonderful wine by the glass, and the dishes are designed to perfectly complement the vast array of wine varieties, spanning hot dishes, raw dishes, charcuterie and cheese. We’ll be back for the best-ever kangaroo tartare with black garlic. Genuine hospitality is alive and well here: with chef-owner Paul on the pans and partner Bailee working the floor, you will be very well looked after indeed.

Joy

Joy

This is an intimate, immersive dining experience in the Valley with just ten seats. The kitchen and dining room are one and the same, and the succession of small dishes is a little bit Scandy, a little bit Japanese, and crafted with a whole lot of heart. Watch the delightful owner-chef Sarah working her magic before your very eyes, serving up a set menu of artfully presented morsels. 

Elska

Elska

Translated from old Nordic, the name means love, and this 12-seat degustation restaurant is clearly a labour of love for owners Freja – who oversees the warm timber-lined dining room – and chef Nathan, who is responsible for creative, hyper-seasonal 15-course menus. You might be lucky enough to experience the Wagyu with smoked garlic, black garlic and sweet onion broth, or crocodile tail with native curry, but whatever’s on the menu it’s sure to be a unique blend of local produce cleverly intertwined with Scando style. Seriously, the minimalist menus here read like ingredients lists – or surrealist poems.

C’est Bon

C’est Bon

This smart French restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner offering classics like mornay of Fraser Island crab, Angus tartare and Parisienne gnocchi. Fancy some Champagne and caviar at the rooftop bar, aptly named ‘Ooh la la’? You’ll see the Brisbane skyline in a whole new light.

Happy Boy

Happy Boy

This bustling contemporary pan-Asian indoor-outdoor casual diner in Fortitude Valley really comes to life at night beneath the giant fairy-lit Poinciana tree outside. Spice up your life with the fish slice or prawn and pork wontons drowned in Sichuan chilli broth, or chow down on comfort-food favourites like Taiwanese fried chicken on miniature milk buns.