Your guide to exploring Fish Lane

South of the river, but in the heart of it all, Fish Lane is quickly becoming Brisbane’s coolest laneway. As new buildings pop up, restaurants, cafes and bars are moving in beneath them – making the journey from West End to South Bank an adventure in itself.

The precinct might be new, but the laneway it as old as they come. Originally named Soda Water Lane, thanks to the Eudone Aerated Water Company that had its factory there in the 1870s, Fish Lane is only set to grow further.

Starting near QAGOMA and QPAC off Grey St and stretching back towards West End, plan an epic crawl between venues with friends, drop in for a pre-theatre feast or bar hop up the lane.

This is your choose-your-own foodie adventure. Click the above map to download a PDF version.

Gauge – contemporary

Gauge

Is it a restaurant? Is a cafe? is it a bar? Gauge isn't easy to put in a box. The modern spot feels like what would happen if a fine-dining restaurant was casual in vibe and without the price tag. A place for good eating and good drinking – step right this way.

Best for: Those open to experimentation and new things.
Open: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Order the: black garlic bread and a glass of jumpin’ juice. That’ll kick start any night.

Julius Pizzeria – Italian

Fish Lane

Located in the historic art-deco bottom quarter of the modern Austin building, Julius Pizzeria is bringing Brisbane's favourite Italian to the southside. There is often a wait for a table (it’s that good), so pop next to Maker for a cocktail or find a seat at the bar for a campari and soda.

Best for: fast pre-theatre dining, birthday celebrations
Open: lunch, dinner
Order the: duck ragu. It’s a classic

Maker – small bar

At the centre of the small entirely black space a 7.5-metre long brass bar divides the room. Hanging pendants illuminate the slowly oxidising bench in this petite cocktail bar that seats just 18. Order a drink from the short, monthly changing list and relax with a date.

Best for: date night and small groups 
Open: from 4pm for drinks, snacks
Order the: XXXX on tap. No need to be pretentious.

The Fox Hotel – big pub

This four-storey pub has a lot going on inside. Downstairs, the Long Room Bistro offers casual dining experience that ranges from pub classic to Asian-influenced dishes. The middle floors are mostly for functions, and the top is a rooftop terrace known as Dandy’s Rooftop. The party rooftop is open Friday to Sunday with cocktail jugs and good vibes.

Best for: Big groups of friends
Open: lunch, dinner, drinks 
Order the: chicken parma – pubs don’t let you down with this dish.

Saccharomyces Beer Cafe (SBC) – craft beer bar

SBC

Saccharomyces Beer Cafe (or SBC for short) is a laneway beer bar and café defined by its 10 taps of rotating craft brews. Pair your pint with a selection of ‘beer food’ salads, burgers and toasties. During the week expect trivia nights, comedy, music and more. The venue is also open mornings for coffee, croissants, cereal and toast with fancy toppings.

Best for: beer lovers
Open: Seven days – from 7.30am during the week, from noon on weekends
Order: push yourself outside your comfort zone with something other than a pale ale

Chu The Phat – Asian fusion

Boiled pork dumplings with tomato relish

This trendy two-storey establishment in the Melbourne Residences building plates up creative interpretations of what you might indulge in at an Asian hawker stall. Fresh, vibrant dishes of steamed duck buns, stir-fried onyx beef flank, and crispy fried ‘pig tails’ are the crowd pleasers here, mixing flavours from Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Best for: group dining, dates or solo
Open: from noon, seven days
Order the: duck buns. Like pork buns, but better.

La Lune Wine Co – wine bar

This petite French-inspired wine bar boasts more than 120 wines from across Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Each can be paired with a short, ever-changing menu that covers four components –"The Raw", "The Cheese", "The Charcuterie" or one of the six weekly dishes.

Best for: date night, or a night out with your mum
Open: lunch Thu-Sun, dinner Tue-Sun
Order: Anything from Bordeaux, the region that inspired the venue.

Naim on Melbourne – Middle eastern café

Little sibling to Paddington’s favourite Middle Eastern café Naim, this will be your one stop shop for salad lunch fare and Single O coffee. The salads are all vegetarian with many gluten free and vegan options for your healthy loving friends.

Best for: quick grab ‘n’ go takeways
Open: Breakfast and lunch
Order: something sweet, like a slice of their famous Jewish apple cake

Gelato Messina – dessert and cooking school

Gelato Messina

Across 200sqm of floor space you’ll find three counters filled with 40 flavours of colourful gelato (including five rotating weekly specials), timber shelving filled with its signature gelato cakes, and a classroom off to one side. Our pick from the standard 35 flavours? Well, we’re yet to try them all but the salted caramel and coffee is a winner, the macadamia crunch is something else, and the salted coconut sorbet with mango salsa is surprisingly rich and hits the spot.

Best for: a sweet spot after dinner
Open: breakfast, lunch seven days
Order: changing specials. They only stick around for seven days.

Wandering Cooks – food truck hub

Wandering Cooks

Brisbane’s first incubator for food entrepreneurs goes by the name Wandering Cooks. Those wanting to test out a new product in licensed commercial kitchens can take the leap, while the regular punter can enjoy kicking the breeze in the courtyard with rotating weekly food trucks, cool events and markets in the space.

Best for: eating and learning at the same time
Open: Times differ due to events, but the regular kitchen it open from noon Tue-Sun, 
Order the: cheese and charcuterie

Punjabi Palace – Indian

Since 2001, Punjabi Palace has been feeding Brisbane top notch Indian cuisine. The family run restaurant specialises in regional specialties, picking and choosing dishes from both north and south of the country. It is licensed, but you can also BYO.

Best for: a cheap and cheery meal
Open: lunch Tue-Fri, dinner Mon-Sun
Order the: Indian banquet, because why not?

Big Roddy’s Rippin’ Rib Shack – American barbecue

What a name, indeed. Big Roddy is making a name around town for its secret ribs recipe, pulled meat “ribwiches”, wings, chilli fries and burgers. Pair your choice with a craft beer for a hoot, scooting damn fine time.

Best for: getting your hands dirty.
Open: lunch, dinner seven days
Order the: full rack of pork or beef ribs. Do it.

Five Sisters – Greek café and small bar

Down a laneway of its own, inside a heritage-listed building is Five Sisters Café & Bar. The café takes a strong European influence with Greek treats - sweet and savoury, traditional and contemporary – and salads worth making friends with. The Five Sisters Greek Taverna is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with a short but sweet all Greek menu.

Best for: an easy lunch in a relaxing spot
Open: breakfast, lunch Mon-Fri; Taverna from 5pm Thu-Sat 
Order the: yiros or greek wrap

Keep wandering to West End

Keep wandering down Fish Lane and you’ll eventually hit West End. Here celebrity chef Ben O’Donohue’s Billykart pulls a crowd morning and night (do try his Aussie Asian eggs). Next door is Billykart Provisions, a small grocer and bottle shop with boutique and local branded goods. 

Those after a health kick can head to Smashing Berries acai bar, Bird’s Nest for Japanese beers and yakitori skewers, institution Three Monkey’s Coffee & Tea House for late-night bowls of chai and cake, Little Greek Taverna for a cheap and cheerful BYO meal, and Gunshop Café for a solid breakfast or lunch.

Keep wandering down Boundary St to find more cheap eats, micro breweries, cocktail bars, pubs and live music venues. Read our guide to eating and drinking n West End here.

Explore beyond Fish Lane...