The Best of Brisbane 2014

Best of Brisbane 2014


What was that? Oh you wanted to know what that horrendous noise was! Well my friends, that was ME dragging my over-indulged festive self back to the keyboard.

I’ve spent the last few days in the bosom of my family eating and drinking up a storm while enjoying the traditional Brisbane festive activities of swimming, sweating and eating my body weight in Quality Streets.

Seriously though, I hope that you had an awesome Christmas full of love, laughter,  great people, excellent presents and all that other good stuff (especially Quality Streets!).

But as the last of the leftover ham is consumed and the remaining prawns sniffed and ultimately tossed, our thoughts turn to 2014 – the year that was.

This year I’ve managed to do, see, taste and experience more of Brisbane than I ever have before.  Writing this blog has given me the kick up the butt I needed to make the effort to stop letting these opportunities pass me by.

So to celebrate a bumper year in our city I’ve put together a kind of  highlights reel that lists some of the things that stood out for me as the Best of Brisbane this year.  

But before we get started there’s one thing I want to make clear…

This list is by NO MEANS definitive! These things represent just the tip of the iceberg of what Brisbane has to offer and what I’m hoping is that you, dear reader, will tell me about all the things YOU loved that I haven’t included so I can put them on my list for 2015. 

And now without further ado lets get crack on with my Best of Brisbane 2014… 

Best Brisbane Bars

This is always the most difficult list to put together because no sooner do I finish it than my brain panics and goes “Wait!What about Bar (insert bar name here)? You cant possibly leave them off the list!”.

So in the interests of actually finishing this post I forced myself to write “Brisbane’s best bars” on a piece of paper and then write my choices down underneath. Whatever was on the paper made the list – no changes or substitutions allowed.

So here they are in the order they came to mind… 

  1. Leftys
  2. Papa Jacks
  3. Sabotage Social
  4. Greaser
  5. Alfred & Constance
  6. Brooklyn Standard
  7. Brewski
  8. Dutch Courage Officers Mess
  9. Cobbler
  10. Canvas

Special mentions go to: Leftys for being pretty much the best time you can have with your clothes on, Dutch Courage Officers Mess for starting a new love affair with exotic gins, and Sabotage for… well for just being itself!

brisbanes best bars

Left: The almighty gin collection at Dutch Courage. Right: My friend Bree and I at Sabotage’s Women Who Whiskey event earlier this year (I’m on the left)

Best Cocktails

Molls Martini from Blackbird – Vanilla and passionfruit with a side of champagne – if loving this makes me a moll then I can live with that!  

Cafe Negroni from Dutch CourageDark, bitter and intruguing this take on the classic Negroni is perfect for sipping. 

Blood & Sand from Brooklyn Standard A rich whiskey and blood orange concoction that is quietly addictive

Mandarin Crusta from Papa Jacks – I had four of these last time I went to Papa Jacks and it was WORTH the hangover. 

Blueberry & Passionfruit Sangria from Ole Sangria Bar at SouthbankIt may sound crazy but believe me this twisted Sangria is amazing with tapas. 


Best Markets

This year Brisbane went crazy for markets – from the runaway success of Eat Street to the more traditional farmers markets.

Carseldine Farmers Markets Spread out over the QUT Carseldine Campus this market is one you can meander through at leisure. My advice is to allow yourself a whole morning to wind your way through the gorgeous local produce, crafts, artisan food products and more. 

Love Your Local Markets at HawthorneThese funky night markets are so cool – think food trucks, live music, and a great relaxed atmosphere. 

Eat Street OK so you really do have to plan your visit to avoid the crowds but its worth it once you get there! I visited Eat Street way back in April of this year so I am definitely due another visit.


Best New Events

Its exciting to see so many new events happening in Brisbane. I do have a soft spot for foodie events (as you can see from this list) so PLEASE let me know about other new events that happened in 2014 that didn’t make it on to my radar… 

Beer InciderThis two day festival of craft beer and  cider was a roaring success and shows that Brisbane is moving well beyond our XXXX roots!

Good Food Month – Night Noodle Markets  Southbank was transformed into an Asian hawkers markets, with food stalls featuring cuisine from Brisbane’s finest Asian restaurants.  

Spring Flare – This event was part of the G20 celebrations but there are whispers it will become a fully fledged event in its own right in 2015. I for one certainly hope so!

Thank Truck its Thursday – Food trucks are the best thing that’s happened to Brisbane since the Bjelke-Petersen government was voted out in the 1980s – and you can quote me on that! This regular food truck event is hosted by Wandering Cooks, Brisbane’s first incubator for food entrepreneurs  of the mobile variety. 

Brisbane Events 2014

Left: Jack (my eldest son) and I get messy at Spring Flare. Right: The boys hoeing into some noodles at the Good Food Week Night Noodle Markets

Best Annual Events

Again so, SO many to choose from but here are a few of my favourites from this year…

BIGSOUND Festival Brisbane’s up and coming acts get the chance to get in from of industry players and WE get a hell of a live music festival. Seriously what other festival gives you the chance to see a band in your lunch break?

UR{BNE}Celebrating a different, under-utilised corner of our urban landscape each year this festival is packed with art, live music and a kick-ass scavenger hunt!

Brisbane French Festivalso Frenchy, so chic! Need I say more?

Brisbane Alternative Festival If you love pop-culture, steam-punk and the curious and unusual this is an event not to miss! Also a chance to get your cosplay on if that’s your thing. 

GreazeFestI love pretty much everything about this festival – from the gorgeous rockabilly fashions to the hot cars to the groovy tunes. GreazeFest ROCKS!

Abbey Medieval FestivalThis was my first ever trip to the Abbey but I will be back in 2015 for sure! You can totally immerse yourself in the spectacle of medieval life as well as checking out the action-packed spectacle of Turkish oil wrestling and jousting.

Brisbane Festival Every year I don’t know how they will top the previous years programme – and every year they do! 

Brisbane Fringe Festival  Innovative performances take place throughout the city in non-traditional venues. This festival prides itself on showcasing  raw, provocative pieces that will challenge the audience – and they deliver in spades

Brisbane Annual Events

Two of my favourite annual events. Left: Kingswood performing at BIGSOUND festival. Right: From my post on how to create a perfect itinerary for taking a date to the Brisbane Festival.

Best Meals of 2014

1. Five Onion Soup at The Olive, NorthlakesFive different types of onion, roasted and blended with cream,and served on confit duck meat – it’s like eating velvet. They’ve taken it off the menu for summer but I am sure Im not the only one who’s hoping they bring it back for winter

2. Fried Chicken at La Rotisserie Indooroopilly  I don’t know how a french joint ended up making the best fried chicken in town – all I know is that it IS!

3. Tapas at Peasant at the BarracksI’m a sucker for fancy Spanish ham and olives, and the Peasant charcuterie platter was so good I swear the angels sang while I was eating it.

4. Rib Fillet at BlackbirdThe best steak I’ve ever had. THE ACTUAL BEST. Its a big call but one I’m happy to make in this case.

5. Textures of Chocolate at Catbird Seat BistroOne of the most challenging desserts I’ve ever had, because there are so many flavours and textures in each mouthful. I can only liken it to trying to figure out a decadent chocolate puzzle – complex but totally worth the effort!

I WAS going to include Best Burger in this list but personally the jury is still out on that one. While I have had some fairly life-changing burger experiences this year there are several places I have yet to try which means its too early to make that call!

So that’s my Best of Brisbane list for 2014 – but what Id really like to know is what you would put on your list?

What did you do, see, eat, drink or experience this year that you absolutely LOVED? What will you go back and do again in 2015 and what new things are you planning to put on your list?

Share your Best of Brisbane in the comments so I can create a mega-list for 2015 🙂 


Rachel - Ed

About Rachel

Thirty-something Brisbane lover, trying to find the balance between FOMO and YOLO. Semi-retired party girl who loves planning itineraries for big nights out. Often found dragging 3 boys around your local farmers markets or attempting to sneak out for dinner with my husband, The Chef.

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2 Responses to “The Best of Brisbane 2014”

    • Rachel - Ed
      Rachel - Ed Reply

      The Olive is amazing – the quality would stand up to any CBD restaurant!

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