PLAY BRISBANE: Fun and sun rolled into one


Streets Beach
The sun is shining, bronzed people are bouncing about in bikinis and boardies…then everyone packs up and goes back to the office. Don’t you just love a beach in the middle of the city? Streets Beach, in South Bank, has got it all: sand, palms, lifesavers and warm, crystal-clear waters. Open all year round, take a dip then coffee in the restaurant strip overlooking the lagoon. Perfect. And perfectly Queensland.

Brissy loves its indie culture and two of its best-loved contemporary performing arts spaces, the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts and the Brisbane Powerhouse, oblige.  The cosy little Judy loves a spot of cabaret and shines a spotlight on local work, while the Powerhouse hosts film festivals, theatre and is a major site for the Brisbane Festival. Upcoming visitors include Henry Rollins, blues guitarist Harry Manx, comedians Judith Lucy and Candy Bowers and classical pianist Sally Whitwell (judithwrightcentre.com, brisbanepowerhouse.org)

Get a grip on Brisbane and its surrounds, with views to Moreton Bay, by climbing Brisbane’s architectural icon, the Story Bridge, 80 meters above the Brisbane River. If you think bridge climbs are for pre-schoolers, go one up and abseil down the pylons (storybridgeadventureclimb.com.au) If jumping off a high bridge isn’t your idea of a cool time, instead, work your photography and climbing skills simultaneously when you climb the bridge with a professional photographer who’ll help capture the panorama, using your own camera equipment. Photography climbs are held monthly (blue-dog.com.au)

For aimless ambling in the sunshine, South Bank Lifestyle Markets are flush with craft, food, fashion and homewares. Open Friday evenings, all day Saturday and Sunday on Stanley St, the stalls get a decided fashion bent on the first Sunday of the month with the addition of the Young Designer Markets, where you can buy direct from the designer (southbankmarket.com.au, youngdesignersmarket.com.au). Saturday nights in the West End get a whole lot funkier when the West End Twilight Markets are in town, with artisan stalls, providores and free music by indie performers (cnr Wilson & Boundary St, 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, westendtwilightmarkets.com)
 
For the crush of your classic band pub or the roar of the latest club, you’ll be asking your taxi to take you to Fortitude Valley. The Valley’s spit-and-sawdust days are fading as the latest openings combine sexy bites with well-crafted drinks: take a look at the late-night supper club La Ruche (680 Ann St) and its neighbour the Bowery Bar (676 Ann St). Veteran Cru Bar is still regarded as one of the best wine bars in town.
Oh Hello! gathers all the pretty twentysomethings in one place (621 Ann St) while at ManaBar, you can drink cocktails (for the adult in you) while hammering video games (for the inner child) (420 Brunswick St).  

Archive Beer Boutique
Keep an eye out for Alfred & Constance, two heritage houses revamped to include a gastro pub, underground cellar and late-night dessert café by the Limes Hotel crew, opening July (cnr Alfred & Constance St). Other hotspots across the city include Woollongabba for Matt Moran’s tapas and rum cocktails at edgy Canvas, its new little sister, Public Bar & Kitchen in the CBD (400 George St) and the West End’s The End (73 Vulture St).


CRAFT BEER REVIVAL
Real beer drinkers, rejoice! Brisbane is enjoying a revival of craft beers, the charge is led by the West End’s Archive Beer Boutique (100 Boundary St, West End). Add to your list The Scratch for Gold Coast operation Burleigh Brewing’s My Wife’s Bitter (8/1 Park Rd, Milton) and newcomer’s Super Whatnot’s grunged-out wine bar, which keeps Brissy brewers Bacchus on tap (Burnett La, CBD).



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