Brisbane: Australia’s hippest city?

Despite the recent heatwave pushing the mercury up to 50°C in some areas of Queensland, Lonely Planet has awarded Brisbane the prize of ‘Australia’s Hippest and Coolest City’. It’s the harsh irony that those hipsters love.

Along with the label, we’ve been given brownie points for our:

  • Pumping night-life
  • Edgy arts scene
  • Cool book shops
  • Globally-inspired restaurants
  • Great cafes
  • Abundance of live music and band venues

It’s all true. Sure, if you look at some parts of Brisbane, you’ll find a brown river and older historical buildings being knocked over left, right and centre. Sure, King George Square is a concrete plateau in the middle of the city. Oh and, the nightlife district in Fortitude Valley can look just a little seedy.

However, look even closer and you’ll find the river a central part of our city’s identity. The cultural centre with our world class art galleries and museums, the Eagle St dining precinct, the Story Bridge all sharing a space at the water’s edge. City Hall’s recent revamp has proven to be a popular favourite at Christmas time; with the nightly projected light show that packed out King George Square and literally stopped traffic.

Brisbane bar nightlife hippest city in Australia

Want to know what over 300 types of whiskies looks like? Cobbler Bar in West End can show you.

The nightlife is well and truly alive with options ranging from small bars that fit less than 50 people up to megaclubs with capacities in the hundreds. Choose from fake astroturf in numerous bars (pick from on the ceiling at Sling Bar, on the wall at Alfred & Constance, or on the ground at Ric’s Bar) or an indoor vertical lush garden and water feature in Cloudland. Honestly, the seediness is most likely a result of you having a few too many drinks and that doner kebab, anyway.

The central shopping district along Queen St Mall has seen some long awaited refurbishment. The country’s largest Topshop store recently opened here just before Christmas. A mega-store featuring three floors of up-to-the-minute fashion. The rumours of Zara looking for locations in Brisbane is a sign that the world is looking at us. The new flagship mega-store for Apple is just about to open its doors, too.

Our independent music scene has seen some amazing venues come and go. More often coming than going, a welcome blessing regarding Melbourne’s recent crackdown on live music venues. Kill The Music, an independent punk rock and hardcore music store, had its last trading day on Sunday 5th January. But it was something that many supported for over 7 years. A success as big as any in the tough world of small businesses.

Something about our city makes us fight and work together. The 2011 flood disaster washed out most of the city but we stuck it out to re-invent ourselves. We’re proud of our city. This new title just tells locals something that we already know. Our city is awesome.

As the host for the 2014 G20 Summit meeting, Brisbane will soon become a city that people know about. This author is sick of telling people that we’re in the same state as the Gold Coast when travelling overseas.

Our booming bar and dining scene sees us on par with the best of the world with world-class bartenders as well as new bars and restaurants opening up all over the city. There’s always something new and exciting in our ever-expanding city. It feels like every weekend there’s a new place to go.

Our city is constantly evolving. We’re no longer catching up. We’re there.

So suck it and move over, Sydney and Melbourne.

Article by KELLY WONG. Brisbane city explorer. Discover where she eats here.

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