Listings and reviews (8)
Pumpyard Bar and Brewery
In 1862, Ipswich City residents would walk up a limestone track to meet at the ‘pumpyard’ – a natural spring that supplied fresh water to the fledgling city. Here, they were allowed four pails a day, for no charge. More than 150 years on, the Limestone Street location still proves worthy of a daily visit. Housed in a heritage listed building basement, Pumpyard Bar and Brewery still suggests four pales a day – ales, that is. Local brewer Wade Curtis is the man behind the 1,200-litre brew house that underwent a sympathetic renovation. Hefty wooden beams of indeterminable age support exposed brickwork. Archways that grace lofty spaces bow to casual chairs, lounges and tables that lead back to a courtyard flanked with giant figs. Under soaring ceilings illuminated by the soft glow of industrial lighting, shiny stainless steel uni-tanks ferment seasonal brews. The row of frosty taps that jut from solid slabs of the old Toogoolawah bridge change regularly. There might be thick, rich, dark-as-a-lump-of-coal stout; a malty Summer Wheat (a German wheat ale); any number of IPAs; or a jolly good Coffee Cream (a blend of Toby’s Estate with an American Cream ale that drinks like a flat white). Cider more your thing? There’s a dedicated cider tap with your name on it. Bottled? More than 45 guest brews that range from 4.2% right up to a head-spinning 12.12%. The kitchen pumps out damn fine tucker too. Amid the usual (but excellent) spicy wings, crisp-based pizzas, and a generous three-chees
Grape Therapy Valley
Each of the many nooks and crannies – and there many – tucked into this tight space affords a view of the open workbench, and for agreeable reason: this is where all the good stuff happens. A limited label, discreetly opened, may await tasting; or an obscure cleanskin could beckon the curious punter. Then there are artisan charcuterie boards, warm bread and cheeses being sliced and stacked to order; or the deft pouring of flights: beer paired with chocolate, perhaps, or maybe in-house, barrel-aged ports coupled with a savoury or two. It’s not all about the grape, though. Singular rum and whisky labels (including the hard-to-come-by Yamazaki single malt, aged 12 years) nestle beside back vintages and museum reserves, making the slow peruse of well-stocked floor-to-ceiling shelves so much more compelling. Choose one to take home, and another to enjoy in-house for a $20 corkage fee. Selection done, retreat to the leafy courtyard or choose one of the recycled-timber tables tucked under the antique shop front and settle in to the strum of acoustic guitar or soft vocals. Grape Therapy may not be the cheapest independent around, but the staff here really know their stuff and you are guaranteed to experience a tipple or two of something new each visit.
Grand View Hotel
It has stood since 1851 and remains the oldest licensed pub in Queensland. Built as a single-storey inn to "provide a resting point for invalids and families" travelling to the bayside holiday destination of Cleveland, the Grand View (originally the Brighton) has undergone numerous remodels and extensions, taking its final and present form around 1897. Arm yourself with a coldie – there’s local and imported beers on tap – and wander through the labyrinth of repurposed rooms, hallways and additions made over the years. Expect no frills or flounces here. Amazing old architecture hides behind slot machines and pokies, and makeshift panels dating back 50 years cover handcrafted timber fretwork and architraves. Eye candy, too, is the yellowed collective of signed photographs of visiting VIPs: actors, politicians, sports stars and singers. Famous. Infamous. Some no longer with us, some no longer sought after. Have a stickybeak upstairs at the original guest rooms (one too many beers and you can stay in one for 120 bucks) and walk the fully enclosed wraparound verandah that offers 300-degree view of Moreton Bay and the wetlands. An hour or two here could be dedicated to simply exploring. The Grand View runs a rocking Sunday arvo session with a jampacked dance floor. You won’t find a better representation of a true Aussie weekend than here. A trip to the all-day kitchen for a cold beer and good old-fashioned pub meal ($30 for a kilo of mussels, $35 for steak, bugs, squid and chips) a
This drinking house takes its cues from the building’s history as a bathhouse, brothel and Fitzgerald-era bootleg gambling den. Start downstairs in the bathhouse, where bubbles come two ways: by the bottle, or in (and beside) the fully functional 15-seat spa bath. No togs? No worries. Opt instead for a stool by the bar and try a little Misconduct (blended rums, blue curaçao, maraschino liqueur, orgeat syrup and citrus served in a giant flaming tiki bowl); or checkout the mixologists’ prowess at whipping up shot mixers, themed cocktails and a fun list of libations. There’s plenty here to land you in hot water, from the ‘suds’ and ciders on tap to the specialist curated Reserve list (you need to ask) boasting a few rarities that are secreted behind lock and key. If the whirlpool’s not your thing, leave the marine-tiled natatorium behind and head street-level. Portraits of questionable identities that may or may not have contributed to the venue’s colourful past oversee booths, banquettes and ‘respectable’ seating arrangements, and here, you’ll find steak and bottomless frites as good as on any Parisian Bistro menu, with a wine list to match. Carafes of house red (preservative free and unfiltered) and white are made by David Cush (ex Winemaking Tasmania), Les Bubbles’ own winemaker. It gets crowded, but is less noisy than many other of Damien Griffiths’ whacky venues (in a good way); and sporadic service is compensated by cheery staff who maintain the Les Bubbles motto: The cust
Corbett and Claude
Brisbanites are discovering what Melbourne has known all along: that hidden laneways are extremely accommodating breeding ground for successful cafés, restaurants and bars. Cue Corbett and Claude, tucked behind and below the heritage-listed Corbett Chambers (also known as Telecommunications House). Elegant keystone arches offer voyeuristic views into the basement level bar and eatery. Polished concrete flooring, simplistic timber seating and a convivial bar stool arrangement is filled with post-work drinkers and pit-stopping bar-hoppers. It’s a humming crowd kept hydrated by young, enthusiastic leather apron clad staff. Nab a stool or pull up to a communal table, and take your pick of what’s on tap: there’s wine being pulled here (Skuttlebutt’s Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Shiraz) as well as beer (Stone & Wood, Green Beacon, Newstead); and then there’s local bottled draught, or Corbett and Claude’s own house lager. Champagne, sparkling and a modest range of boutique spirits line up against a tight wine list, and trademark cocktails arrive in retro style enamel cups. The kitchen churns out signature pizzas at an eyebrow-raising pace. They’re worth investigation. Thin, crisp bases are light and hold just the right amount of chew, and come capped with non-traditional toppings – crisped chicken bites, grilled prawns or sliced potato, to name a few. Puritans might prefer the super soft meatballs (as good as any Nonna’s) and for grazers, the design-your-own platter does the job nic
Burrow into a cosy booth and feast on the visuals at Habitat, the third venture from Scott Higginbotham and Malcolm Watts (the dynamic duo behind Moose & Gibson and Leaf Espresso). A built-in living ant farm lines the concrete bar, the ever-changing myriad of tunnels viewable through clear panes of glass. Reworked railway bridge timber forms bars, walls and tabletops; strategically placed mood lighting highlights the eclectic décor. Seasonal brews pour from repurposed fire hydrants serving as taps. Slushie cocktails and Martinis are pumped out in the garden bar, and frosty craft beers, a global wine list and aromatic Two Seasons coffee are on the go from morning through night. Add to this a well priced menu and live music on weekends, and you’ve got digs you can really settle into.
It was notorious in the ’90s for strip clubs and seedy bars. Now there’s a dress code and security checks, and the scantily clad are long gone. Suspenders and risqué flapper dresses are still standard staff garb for women staff though, and the gents serving you now wear pinstripes, white spats and arrow collars. Welcome to the underground world of Prohibition – a glamorous, roaring ’20s-style speakeasy that recreates a bygone era of bootleggers and moonshine. Take your pick of Prohibition’s four basement-level bars. In the Blind Tiger, a snappy filament-in-bottle lit chamber with a tiger marble countertop, you’ll come across wannabe broadcasters spinning vinyl on a gramophone-fronted DJ system. The Peacock Lounge is larger, a quiet room (the custom-made intelligent sound system ensures music from one space never dominates another) framed by vintage glass, period furniture, textured wallpaper and vibrant tapestries. Here you’ll be tempted by a teacup of gin, perhaps, or a delicate Bug Eyed Betty (amaretto, gin, bubbles and a blueberry), while nestled by the fireplace, swallowed in a Chesterfield. Keep your peepers peeled for VIPs; the private (swipe card access only, thank you) Wall Street bar is facing you, secreted behind that fake timber wall. In the main hall, a massive chandelier sways while live swing bands belt out tunes and guys and dolls dance off their giggle water. The cavernous, 1,100-metre space is dressed in timber with raw brick and exposed copper piping, eviden
When California Native opened on the less busy, suburban end of Cavendish Road, locals were quick to claim the space as their own. Gone is Le Classic’s dark dining room, replaced with cactus garden, Malibu surfboards and eclectic vintage signage reminiscent of the 1950s West Coast surf scene. Is it a bar? Is it a restaurant? Actually, it’s a bit of both. Owner Karl Zammit has taken his Californian heritage and used it to create a menu that reflects good old-fashioned America-meets-Mexico home cooking, with a beverage list that reads like a coastal trip from San Diego to Mexico City. Think specialty cocktails, imported beers, Californian wines and some top-shelf tequilas and mezcals. There’s a fine house sangria, which ditches the brandy in favour of ‘secret syrup’ and packs a spice-tinged punch. It’s cheaper by the (hand blown) jug than the glass, but be warned, it’s deceptively easy to down a little quicker than is sensible. To avoid your head feeling like a piñata the morning after, have some snacks. There’s complimentary salsa fresca on arrival (nice), but it’s the ‘Rattlesnake Jack’ – a salsa roja blending ghost, Trinidad moruga scorpion and Carolina reaper chillies – that we love more. For something less spicy but no less tasty, go the deep-fried jalapeño poppers (little melting manchengo bombs encased in crisp, battered peppers) or the sleeve-rolling-required Encinitas elote (spiced, grilled corn cobs dripping in creamed butter). Mission Viejo taquitos, meanwhile, are l