Brisbane’s become cooler than me


Everyone always digs on Brisbane. Even when I first moved to Australia it was all “it’s too small; everything closes early; there’s nowhere good to eat.” Compare it to likes of Sydney or Melbourne, and yeah, I get it. But guess what haters, at some point since moving away a year and a half ago, Brisbane’s upped its ante.

I always said if I could have the culture of Melbourne coupled with the weather of Brisbane I would be set for life. Now, I’m not going to go as far and say it’s been accomplished but seriously Brisbane, you’re picking up your weight.

On my most recent visit I was blown away at the duck liver parfait served at James Street’s trendy Gerard’s Bar. In fact, I added it on my “best thing ever” list and that was even after devouring truffle salami and mackerel tartare. Could the Brisbane dining scene be creeping in Melbourne’s wake?

And as for Fortitude Valley, the once seedy and still may be but only if you don’t know where to go now that Brisbane is cool, nightlife neighborhood, I didn’t go out ‘in’ the Valley but rather ‘under’ the Valley. Greaser, an American themed bar is housed in the cellar of a 130-year-old heritage building offering craft beers, American imports and a stellar whiskey list on the side of classic hot dogs.

Sure, I was still living in town when the hippest thing was old Queensland cottages being converted into uber-chic bars like Alfred & Constance, Kettle & Tin and Sixes & Sevens – as they all have uber-cool names too, but I hear even ‘hippie-haven’ West End has transformed itself upmarket with some new additions in its pocket.

I think it goes without saying another area where Brisbane hasn’t failed us is the craft beer front. From my old hang The Scratch to Tenerife’s Tippler’s Tap and their recent Southbank prodigy Tomohawk Bar and let’s not forget the micro-brewers Green Beacon and classic Bacchus Brewing, Brisbane is where its at.

What’s still not cool is having to leave an establishment to go find a bathroom somewhere down the street rather then in the bar/restaurant/café, but over time you may just get that right too, Brisbane.

In the meantime, I recognize there’s all the extra stuff that even made Brisbane cool back when I was living there. An awesome music scene, a laid back life style and pristine beaches in an arm’s reach, so yeah Brisbane, maybe you were cool all along.

Read more about my adventures in Brisbane here.

Goodbye Brisbane


Southbank skyline

Australians say Brisbane is a big country town. Despite being the 3rd largest city in the country, its small town feel is what makes it fit perfectly in Queensland culture. It’s the sort of city where your bound to know someone who knows someone – where its easy to get wrapped up in the social scene – be invited to opening launches of new restaurants, follow a local band from their early days to making it national, and enjoy the sunshine and moderate weather year round. It’s as far removed from New York as one could imagine and after I swore up and down I’d never love again – both London and New York are unbeatable to me – I find myself with a tear and sorrow saying goodbye to my home in Brisbane.

I’ve fallen in love with New Farm – a neighborhood of trendy, delicious cafes, a luscious park with river views, and thriving nightlife at my doorstep. It’s the type of neighborhood that I like to say that if I didn’t live in New Farm, I’d desperately be envious of those who live in New Farm.

New Farm

Sure, the CBD (Central Business District) is minimal, and I can walk from one end of the city to the other in an hour – but on these Sunday afternoon ventures I would come across giant lizards called Goannas blocking my path, weekend markets selling trinkets and fresh produce, and healthy people just enjoying the outdoors. So what if I was the only one in the park tanning in my bathing suit – only NYC dwellers know that when there is no beach or pool – a park makes the perfect spot to show some skin.

I’ve left my heart in my local The Scratch – although its not local to my apartment, it is to my work and the boys work hard to make sure that my pallet is tempted by craft beers from all across Australia. I’ve left my head at nearly every bar in the Valley – from the backyard of Rics to the mismatched couches of Kerbside. I’ve left my stomach to the avocado smash and roasted tomatoes of Ponycat – and to the pork belly fries of their sister Kettle & Tin.

The place I called home for the last two years is no longer. My bright blue kitchen, convenient en suite and balcony overflowing with plants now are someone else’s. My Brisbane family, Sam and Jake and Quentin will always be special to me, and although I can no longer call them my flat mates, I know that we will be lifelong friends – along with all the other beautiful people who have entered my life these last two years.

It’s time for me to say goodbye Brisbane, hello Melbourne.

Brisbane

Brisbane