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Published March 14th 2015
Banish the blues with birra
For a long time it looked as though only one person designed Brisbane bars. Looking like they'd been squeezed out of the same tube of stainless steel toothpaste, they were then handed over to the central music department who would then pop on the same music you've heard thousands of times before.
Thankfully, that's changing. Any number of new pubs have now sprung up around the city offering something a little bit different; likewise those renovating are looking to stand out from the crowd.
For example, take the Royal Hotel in Nundah. Built in 1888 and located on what was once one of the busiest roads in Brisbane, the result of recent renovations could have been another regular bar offering regular bar food. Instead, what's happened is that they've kept the old English pub feel and given it an Italian menu.
It seems odd but based on the numbers in the bistro on the Tuesday night I visited, it's proving to be a hit. While there we tried the Italian pizza (prosciutto, bocconcini, olives, capsicum and oregano) to great approval, as well as antipasti and cheese plates to share. While this may not seem like a lot of food, it did satisfy four rather peckish adults.
The best part about the Royal though wasn't the food though. As well as the downstairs bistro there is also an upstairs bar called The Lounge, which I have now designated my favourite bar in north Brisbane. Redone in a European style with plenty of seating, pool tables, a great drinks menu and playing blues music the whole time, The Lounge is something you would normally find a day's flight away, not 15 minutes from the Brisbane CBD.
There's a substantial beer and wine menu, as well as a nice selection of cocktails. The girls were big fans of the with Pimms Cream cocktail cucumber icecream, while the ginger mojito hit the spot rather nicely after a day at the coalface of the computer screen. The aforementioned blues music also hit the spot, with one member of the group commenting that she hadn't heard a single bad song all night. Those in the know apparently agree, with the barman telling us the place fills up on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.