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Brew Cafe and Wine Bar

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by Melissa Hamblin (subscribe)
I'm a lawyer and freelance writer living in Brisbane's West End. Visit my blog at thelawyerskitchengarden.blogspot.com/
Published October 11th 2011
Brew Café and Wine Bar is hidden at the very end of Burnett Lane in the city. When it opened there was a little astro-turfed ex-car park with a coffee machine and a friendly moustachioed barista serving up damn fine coffee to those who ventured down the lane. Today the astro-turf coffee spot is still there, complete with lounging coffee drinkers, but a long bar area has also been burrowed into the side of the neighbouring building.

It's one of those low cavernous spaces; the red drapes give it a theatrical feel and the hanging bare globes on swirled, twisted cords, wooden benches, cosy couches and some pretty interesting rotating art exhibitions (some pieces for sale) all provide a welcoming and unpretentious environment.

At lunch they are usually bustling, with office workers and studenty types alike ordering from their tasty sounding menu. The warm rabbit burrow feel of the place makes it particularly inviting for a rainy lunchtime. I came in feeling a bit bedraggled and sorry for myself and almost instantaneously felt cheered.

I ordered from the pretty bar girl (with very serious glasses) and snuggled down in a couch with a good book to wait for my lunch. I know this sounds ridiculous but the avocado on toast blew my mind. It was on a crunchy fresh Italian bread and seemed to be served with a magical and fruity olive oil. Nom nom nom. I have had it least once a week for a month now and I can't stop.

Lunch addictions aside, the bar itself serves up a pretty decent range of wines, beers, ciders and spirits. I have only actually been to one happy hour at Brew. I mucked up the times for a theatre date and so spent the evening perched on a stool trying to sample all the red wines on offer (lots, sensibly priced and pretty good) without falling off said stool. Although it was accidental, getting in early was a good idea. The after five crowd packed the place and apparently a line grew outside at about six.

The bar staff were friendly, the tapas I shared with friends was delicious ($50 for two but it easily stretched to three not-overly-hungry girls), the music fun but not intrusive and the people watching quite fabulous. My single friends were impressed by the number of well dressed, skilled conversationalist, beardy types (if you are into that kind of thing).

Brew is a pretty fab little place, recommended for those who like avocados, drinks, coffee and cosy environments. Just don't steal my seat.
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Why? Coffee, wine and tasty tapas
When: Mon-Sun
Where: Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane
Cost: From $3
Comments
oooo I want to go there!
By Anonymous
Wednesday, 12th of October @ 12:16 pm
Terrible service. Myself and two others waited 30 minutes for 3 tiny tapas meals.

After 30 minutes we checked on our meal and it hadn't been posted.

Finally a tiny salad with tomato, buffalo cheese and basil came out. It was pathetic, anyone could have made it. It was the large 3 coloured salad. $12

Then after another 10 minutes a second meal came out which was almost thrown on the table, and it was a glorified small and flat toasted sandwich. $8

Finally my meal came out, Spanish meatballs. The meatballs didn't taste bad, but the tomato sauce it was in tasted like old el paso right out of a can. Disgusting. $14

The layout and atmosphere has potential, but for some reason it's extremely loud in there from everyone talking, you can barely hear people sitting next to you.

Very disappointing overall and wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
By Anonymous
Saturday, 28th of January @ 12:39 pm
Have to disagree on the salad, at least - it is a massive serve. I've had it twice and never finished it.
By Melissa Hamblin - senior reviewer
Saturday, 28th of January @ 11:58 pm
I have just attended a work function at Brew, yesterday and the food was delicious and the Ginger beer on tap was awesome.

BUT, the service absolutely sucked!

The bar staff were more interested in standing near the cash register having a chat then serving the growing group of people wanting to order.

Our work group had a bar tab which was great, but when I asked for a diet coke, I was told that they couldn't give me a full glass because they only had about 100mls left in a 1.25ltr bottle behind the bar.

'What tha?' I thought Brew provided drinks. I must have been mistaken.

If you want a cosy place to meet up in the dark, sit on sticky chairs and wait extra long periods of time to get your drink and food, then go to Brew.

Honestly, it was the worst food and beverage service I have had at a work function.

The service was such a disappointment, and it saddened me because I had always heard good things about Brew.
By Selina Shapland - senior reviewer
Thursday, 4th of December @ 11:51 pm
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