Last week Brisbane was buzzing with the news that a new rooftop bar was opening somewhere in the city.
A not unusual occurrence these days you might think. And you’d be right except for one small detail – no-one knew where it was. Specially sealed invitations had been sent out providing the date and time but the venue itself would not be announced until the very day of the launch.
In the lead up to the event speculation was rife about the location, with the majority of votes going to yet another trendy joint in the precinct surrounding Alfred & Constance streets.
So on the afternoon of 2nd October I along with about 200 other attendees was compulsively refreshing my inbox when finally the location of Brisbane’s Secret Rooftop was announced…
131 Edward Street
I looked at the screen non-plussed for a second. Where?
So I hit Google and lo and behold there it was. The Exchange Hotel. And now I was even more non-plussed.
It wasn’t that I had anything against the place – far from it. It’s just that it has been SO long since I’d been there!
In fact the last time I’d visited “The Stockie” would have been at least 15 years ago. Back in the peak my nightclubbing days it was a popular end of the night venue, and I have vivid memories of consoling a slightly under the weather friend as she vomited in the cab line outside.
So, while I’d had no reason NOT to go to the Exchange Hotel over the course of the last decade, neither had I had any compelling any reason TO go there either.
I was curious to see how they had re-invented the place – quite frankly it was news to me that they even HAD a roof – and I was not disappointed.
As we ascended the stairway THIS is what greeted us…
A charming rooftop terrace with Brisbane’s twinkling skyline as the backdrop!
What followed was an exceptional night of hospitality where both the drinks and the conversation flowed freely.
Special mention must go to the food which was not only tasty but plentiful – a smart move since the majority of guests would have come straight from work. I cant tell you how many early evening events I’ve been to where you have to practically hunt the cocktail waitress down just to get hold of a half cold sausage roll!
Also a smart move to give guests a solid foundation for the trays of cocktails which circulated throughout the night. I wasn’t a big fan of the Gin Fizz (not sweet enough for my sweet tooth!) but the Pimms was absolutely delightful -fresh, fruity and perfect for a spring evening.
But the question is: did my experience give me a reason to go back?
The answer is yes for a specific reason – it’s PERFECT for groups.
The spacious layout and relaxed vibe make it an obvious choice for after work drinks, but I reckon it would also be a fantastic place to meet friends on the weekend to soak up one of Brisbane’s balmy summer afternoons.
There is plenty of seating and recent garden additions add to the impression that you’ve stumbled on a little oasis in the heart of the city.
With new venues opening almost daily in Brisbane stalwarts like The Exchange have two choices – re-invent themselves to stay current and on trend, or face extinction.
The Exchange is an example of a venue that has successfully done the former – and now that I’ve found it again I very much look forward to visiting it on a more regular basis.
For more information about The Exchange Hotel head to www.theexchange.com.au