Nightlife in Brisbane:

Where to drink, dance and party

18 JANUARY 2023

The sun might be setting but Brisbane is far from sleepy. Ditch the PJs and doona for party outfits and dancing shoes and check out the city’s hottest night spots. From a casual evening drink to an unforgettable night out, Brisbane's abundant nightlife spreads across both sides of the magically lit river.


Fortitude Valley

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, including Fortitude Valley. You'll need to show and scan your ID any time you enter one of these venues after 10pm.   

Rooftop bars 

Brisbane is known for its beautiful sunny weather, making it the perfect destination for an abundance of rooftop bars. If you’re searching for a sunny Mediterranean getaway, Cielo Rooftop on Brunswick St serves modern cocktails matched with its food menu every Thursday to Sunday. From there, saunter to Summa House for afternoon vibes, Iris Rooftop for a luxurious escape, Valley Hops for an icy cold craft brew, and finish at the very top – MAYA Mexican which has stunning 270-degree views of Fortitude Valley and beyond.  

Outdoor Bars 

Looking for a more relaxed vibe? Try one of the many outdoor bars and beer gardens lining the streets of Fortitude Valley.  

For something with a grungier feel, Ric’s Bar will welcome you with a young crowd, alternative music and cheap drinks. A few blocks away, Sixes and Sevens is a local favourite, open seven days a week and with a buzzing Sunday sesh. This little cottage-turned-trendy gastropub has intimate lounge spaces, a sprawling outdoor area and long tables of reclaimed timber, with a simple but clever food and beverage menu.  

Other great pub-style venues in Fortitude Valley with twinkly fairy-light beer gardens and breezy open-air spaces are the Pig 'n' Whistle, The Prince Consort or The Osbourne Hotel.  

Live music venues 

There is a huge selection of live music in Brisbane every weekend and Fortitude Valley sits at its heart. Big-name national and international acts passing through Brisbane can be found stalking the stages at The Tivoli, The Triffid, The Brightside and The Zoo.  

For a plush live music experience, the 3000-capacity Fortitude Music Hall channels Brisbane’s music scene of yesteryear with an art deco, ballroom-inspired feel. Next door, the 770-capacity Sound Garden impresses with its large two-storey atrium bar and is perfect for a bite or brew with a side of live music. 

Black Bear Lodge is a hit with locals who ascend the stairs off Brunswick Street Mall to discover new and up-and-coming talent in the cosy venue.  

Night clubs 

If you’re looking for somewhere to dance, Fortitude Valley is the place. Popular with all ages, Suzie Wong's Good Time Bar and Prohibition are where partygoers can be seen dancing the night away with a drink in hand. 

For those wanting variety, The Met has three dance floors, pumping RnB, house and techno music all night long.  

A boutique bar bursting with good vibes, The Press Club specialises in live music and hand-crafted cocktails. The sophisticated venue attracts a classy crowd who know how to have fun and boogie down. 

When Saturday night fever strikes, head to in the heart of Fortitude Valley for some serious throwback vibes. Pull out your best moves on the light-up dance floor as disco balls spin around you. Superfly Disco in the heart of Fortitude Valley for some serious throwback vibes. Pull out your best moves on the light-up dance floor as disco balls spin around you.  

Cocktail bars 

If gin is your tipple of choice, you can’t go past Dutch Courage Officers' Mess – a gin and cocktail bar inspired by the drink’s colonial origins. Only a short stroll away are Savile Row and Finney Isles, cocktail bars with about 900 bottles of hard liquor artfully displayed on towering shelves. Don’t forget to check out Stranded Bar where rock and roll meets a classic dry martini.  

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 including magical mega-club Cloudland. 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, with a live salsa band and dance instructors guaranteed to get your hips shaking. 

LGBTQIA+ friendly 

 Brisbane’s biggest LGBTQIA+ nightclub, The Beat Megaclub, has been spinning tunes from its Ann St location for more than 30 years. Eternally popular, this is the place to dance, meet friends and party seven days a week. Another fave is The Wickham, loved for its inclusive vibes and sun-lit beer garden. 

Blackbird Bar and Restaurant Brisbane City

The City 

The after-dark scene in The City is a little less raucous than in Fortitude Valley but there are still plenty of hot spots to wet your whistle and kick up your heels.  

Down by the river, you will find plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes. Join the corporate crowd at Fridays, Riverland, Blackbird or Riverbar & Kitchen for knock-off drinks any night of the week. 

Laneway bars in The City  

Down Eagle Lane, Brooklyn Standard is a basement-level bar with quirky cocktails and live music six nights a week, while Fat Angel is Brisbane's first American sports bar streaming live sport alongside a range of national and international brews. 

Parallel to the Queen Street Mall, between George and Albert Streets, Burnett Lane is a hidden treasure trove of intimate bars, cafes and eateries. Favourites include Brew, Super Whatnot, Alba and Death & Taxes.  

Gresham Lane is home to New York-style street food bar Red Hook and The Gresham – a whisky and bourbon saloon oozing old-world charm with an eccentric touch. 

It’s not quite a laneway bar, but since The Boom Boom Room is located within a heritage-listed building's old bank vaults, we think it’s edgy and inconspicuous enough to be included. Start at the modern-Chinese eatery Donna Chang upstairs then move down for moody Japanese-inspired drinks and live music. 

Irish pubs, craft beer bars and gastropubs 

The City is home to a stack of friendly Irish pubs including Gilhooleys and Irish Murphy’s, which are always cheery places for a pint. 

Then there is Embassy Bar, The City’s first craft beer bar, and The Stock Exchange, sprawling over two levels with a lovely open-air rooftop. At nearby Buffalo Bar you can fill up on beer, whiskey and wings. 

If you're after a party Johnny Ringo's is where it’s at. It's a country music bar with a whole lot of attitude, so prepare yourself to go full country and get a bit wild with ‘Diesel’, the resident mechanical bull, and Daisy Duke’s karaoke hall. 

Howard Smith Wharves Felons Lawn Afternoon Drinks

Howard Smith Wharves 

Located underneath the Story Bridge, Howard Smith Wharves is a Brisbane destination precinct offering riverside dining, overwater bar Mr Percival's and plenty of space to just sit on the grass and watch the world go by. Felons has taken up residence at not one, but two, of the huge warehouse spaces at the Wharves, with Felons Brewing Co. serving fresh craft beer and a range of top-notch pub grub and Felons Barrel Hall offering a modern-Australian take on a classic German beer hall. Yoko is the spot for some of Brisbane’s best Japanese, and you can gorge on Greek at Greca. For views, you really can’t compete with Fiume Rooftop, where you can kick back with cocktails and contemporary Australian dishes, served picture-perfectly under the iconic Story Bridge.  

South Bank

Cocktail bars 

Looking for a knockout view with your cocktail? You can see it all at Lina Rooftop, a South Bank poolside bar on a luxe, elevated open-air terrace. 

On the southern end of South Bank sits River Quay, the place to indulge in a flashy night out. Aquitaine Brasserie, Popolo, The Jetty South Bank, Otto Ristorante and River Quay Fish are guaranteed to cater for all kinds of tastes. 
Grey Street stretches from one end of South Bank to the other. Name-dropping every joint along the way will get old fast but highlights include Little Big House, The Ship Inn, Tippler's Tap, The Plough Inn, Soleil Pool Bar, The Charming Squire and of course The Emporium's Terrace Bar located 21 floors high. 

Like Grey Street, Little Stanley Street is packed with night spots. Check out French Martini, Barbossa, Hop and Pickle and Brooklyn Depot for somewhere to start. 

Caxton Street Atmosphere

Caxton Street

Just a stone's throw from The City, Caxton Street is Brisbane's nightlife hub during sporting events and after dark. Of course The Caxton Hotel on Petrie Terrace is a staple and an icon to the area, but there’s a lot more along the street to be explored. If you’re hunting for simple brews, visit The Lord Alfred Hotel or Brewski. For live music and a party, we recommend hopping over to Lefty’s Music Hall, or soak up the open-air vibes at Ivy Blu Rooftop Bar.  

West End 

West End has always been a melting pot of cultures. It’s a suburb that’s truly bursting with character and personality, with a diverse local style channelling vintage and alternative vibes.  

Craft beer bars, breweries & pubs 

Boundary St is at the heart of West End. Archive Beer Boutique has pioneered Brisbane’s appreciation for craft beer, with breweries Catchment Brewing Co and Brisbane Brewing Co continuing the trend. 

Those after a classic pub needn't look far. The Boundary Hotel, Montague Hotel and Hotel West End provide a solid atmosphere with mouth-watering bistro food.  

Cocktail bars 

West End is home to a stack of small cocktail bars of all flavours. Bar hop or get cosy at The End, Jungle Bar, The Rumpus Room, Bosc, Cobbler, Covent Garden and Lychee Lounge.  

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.  

South Brisbane

A true Brisbane gem, Fish Lane takes everything you love about Melbourne laneways and couples it with Brisbane’s outstanding climate. Explore Kiki – little sibling to renowned Southside Restaurant, Julius Pizzeria, the exclusive Maker bar, cosy Bar Brutus, Next Episode Bar, Hello Please and Saccharomyces Beer Cafe.  

If you’re after something super intimate, why not try Butler Wine Bar – the 30-seater with limited reservation spaces. Or head inside the heritage-listed Maeve Wine Bar for – you guessed it – more delicious wine. Just a stone’s throw from Fish Lane you will discover La Lune, where European-style bistro meets relaxed but refined Australian dining. Want even more? Check out our comprehensive guide to Fish Lane. 

Nearby, Woolloongabba is home to South/City/SQ with delicious restaurants spilling out of every corner. If you’re after the perfect Italian, hit up Sasso Italiano for pizza and pasta galore. Casa Chow is the perfect mix of Peruvian and Chinese dishes, with something for absolutely everyone. Bringing Palm Springs into the heart of South City Square is Purple Palm, the perfect place to enjoy a gorgeous gin or custom cocktail. But if you’re searching for something a little more manicured, head to South City Wine Bar and explore their worldly wine list, French cocktails and quintessential European bistro bites.  

An evening at Stratton Bar and Kitchen

Newstead & Teneriffe  

The Newstead area and surrounds is bustling with well-loved night-time venues. Filled to the brim with breweries, be sure to grab your mates and enjoy a pub crawl from Newstead Social to Range Brewing and Green Beacon. For something a little more intimate (but no less trendy or fun!) head to Zero Fox or Streetcorner Jimmy on Vernon Terrace, or around the corner find Stratton Bar and Mrs Brown's Bar & Kitchen.  

James Street Fortitude Valley Restaurant Dining