Relaxing at the end of a long day of conferencing with a few cold ones is a great way to connect and catch up with your professional peers. More than anything, it’s these unofficial little gatherings that serve to foster a real sense of community and help build professional relationships.
Below are some of my favourite Brisbane drinking establishments. I’ve classified them by cruelly stereotyping their clientele – please forgive my political incorrectness! All are within walking distance of the symposium venue.
Belgian Beer Cafe
The Belgian Beer Cafe is one of my favourite centrally-located pubs. No doubt due to the relatively expensive (but awesome!) selection of beers, the crowd is generally older and professional (think “Soccer moms” and BMW drivers!). If you want to enjoy some quality beer without having to deal with hordes of drunken kids, the Belgian Beer Cafe is highly recommended.
Located on Eagle Street, overlooking the river, Jade Buddha is perhaps somewhat of a “yuppie” bar. I would say its main clientele are business students and recent grads; the type of people who drive a ten year old Camry, but will tell you they drive a Porsche. The Jade Buddha has a great cocktail lounge, reasonable prices, and one of the best views of the city I’m aware of.
The Brisbane German Club
If you’re willing to venture a bit further from the symposium venue, I definitely recommend the German Club. Located on Vulture Street, opposite the Gabba, it has a wide selection of German beers, and isn’t nearly as crowded as CBD locations. If you like your beer in giant steins and don’t care about all that trendy overpriced cocktail stuff, the German Club is the place for you.
The QUT Guild Bar
The QUT Guild Bar is located on campus, and is scheduled to move to a fancy new building this year. It’s your typical on-campus bar, mostly occupied by binge-drinking undergraduates. You’ll be hard pressed to find a cheaper jug of beer in Brisbane, and if you can put up with the drunk students (don’t worry, they’re mostly harmless), it’s a fine place for afternoon beer and chips.
Irish Murphy’s, located on George Street in the CBD, is your standard Irish pub. With a mostly working class clientele, Irish Murphy’s comes across as the polar opposite of the Jade Budda. It has that unpretentious charm typical of drinking establishments of its kind. If you like traditional Irish pubs, Irish Murphy’s would be my pick.
The Rumpus Room
The Rumpus Room is located in West End, a trendy, gentrified, hipsterfied suburb a few minutes’ walk from South Bank. Like all establishments in West End (the Haight-Ashbury of Brisbane), its main clientele are art student types and “hipsters”. The atmosphere is laid-back and friendly. They have a fair variety of cocktails and ciders at a reasonable price.
While they are by no means the only places to grab a beer in Brisbane, any of these fine establishments will make a fine Brisbane meeting place. Bonus points if you visit all of them!