Boardwalk Empire ignited mass cravings for a sneaky drink at a suave speakeasy and it seems Brisbane bartenders and entrepreneurs were no more immune to the old wold sophistication of stiff drink than you or I. Brisbane’s has cultivated a niche bar scene in the last few years which has welcomed the speakeasy-style bars popping up all over town with open arms. I always appreciate a bit of Prohibition-inspired decor, but I like that Next Door Kitchen + Bar at Southbank knows how to whisper and not shout. Speakeasies were hard to find in the 1920s, and Next Door has taken a page from their book by blending in seamlessly with the Southbank streetscape. It’s sleek and modern on the outside and is right at home in buzzing Little Stanley Street. On the inside, it’s a different story, serving up tempting Gangster and fabulous cocktails in generous jam jars. It’s the promising whisper of truffled parmesan fries, dangerous desserts, all the beer, cider, wine and cocktails that a sophisticated dame or gent could ask for and a bitchin’ cheese plate that commands attention, not lurid decor.
I mean really, is there anything more perfect on a Friday afternoon than fabulous cocktails in jam jars? Four work girlfriends and I decided to suss it out, as is our duty (ahem) as publicists who are constantly showing off our beautiful city to visiting journalists and bloggers. Any excuse, right?
We started off with the special, which was essentially delicious and packed a sneaky punch. For the next round, I had the Pineapple + Basil Fix which was a refreshing combo of pineapple, fresh-picked basil, vodka and soda. Our table had a booking at 7pm, but if I went again I’d have to try their house-made hooch and dark chocolate marquis with salted caramel or Campari and strawberry jelly with white chocolate mascarpone and an almond friand. And did I mention the truffle parmesan fries?!
We weren’t in the mood for food, but if I went back again I’d definitely make it a cocktails + tapas affair, especially as the beetroot and blue cheese arancini is already calling me back. Pull up a seat on the street and enjoy a cheeky post-work drink or six and grab a few share plates while watching Southbank come to life as day turns to night.
Next Door Kitchen + Bar
Why go? It’s the blissful (but admittedly polygamous) matrimony of exciting share plates, a deadly drinks menu, a buzzing atmosphere and a wallet-friendly price point. The staff are also the friendliest in town.
When? Late afternoon and into the night. Pre-QPAC show tipple? It’s popular though, bookings essential!
Where? Shop B11, Little Stanley Street, Southbank. BRISBANE.
With who? It’s sophisticated but fun, so it’s always a crowd pleaser when you want to impress without looking like you tried too hard. I’d suggest its best for groups – after all, gangs was what the 1920s was all about!
How much? Cocktails were from $15-$18 and share plates were from $12.50-$19.50. Perfect!
Phone 3846 6678