The 'burbs are back, and no I'm not talking about the Tom Hanks, 80s classic. I'm talking about the fact that you no longer have to go all the way into the City or the Valley to find a nice bar with a good atmosphere and a decent wine list; chances are, there is one just around the corner from you (or at least within stumbling distance). Some of these suburban bars are hidden gems, and so I apologise to those of you who had hoped to keep your 'local' a secret.
Room 60 is pretty much the definition of a hidden secret, to the point that I had walked past hundreds of times before I even realised it was there. This cultural space and bar is decked out in lounge room décor and looks like the kind of place you could sit comfortably in for hours. It is cool without being pretentious and has a huge variety of happenings, such as artist talks, live music and poetry readings.
Similarly hidden and similarly lounge-roomy is Junk Bar in Ashgrove. Junk has been getting rave reviews from both locals and interstate folk alike (the cherry cocktail seems to be a favourite). The last time there was somewhere this cool in Ashgrove was, well, let's face it, there's never been somewhere this cool in Ashgrove.
A little less 'in the 'burbs', but still not inner-city is Lark Bar in Paddington. Lark is a little bit swankier than Room 60 and Junk, and is definitely the place to take the wine snob in your life, as the website says, "Each bottle (of wine) is painstakingly chosen for its uniqueness, quality and boutique appeal".
Across town, in Woolloongabba, is another cosy, suburban bar: Canvas. This place is the picture of 'cool', with wood panelling, street-art-covered walls and an incredibly sophisticated drinks list. Plus, if you are looking for something to do on a Thursday night, Canvas's Green Hour, or absinthe appreciation society, is definitely a tempting a prospect.
Further south from Canvas, in Bulimba, is Oxford 152. In contrast to the small and cosy places previously mentioned 152 embraces its space and light with large windows lining one wall that open onto the street. This place is a perfect harmony between pub, bar and restaurant.
As Brisbane expands, in both size and culture, the list of bars in the 'burbs will also expand. Keep an eye out for one near you…