Walking through the riverside village of Teneriffe, with its vibrant cafes and inimitable wool stores it’s hard to imagine the ghost town it was as recently as the early ‘90s. The heritage-listed Teneriffe Woolstores have been at the centre of the suburb’s rollercoaster fortunes, slipping 20th century industrial centres to dilapidated, crime-ridden structures, before a transformation into some of the city’s most sought after apartment real estate.
After decades of continuous gentrification, the leafy suburb is now home to first-class dining, trendy bars and well-loved cafes, all within a short walk of each other and spitting distance to the river. The history is fascinating but if you want, skip to the bottom for all the cool stuff you can find to eat, drink and play in Teneriffe today.
Teneriffe Woolstores History
The story of the Teneriffe Woolstores precinct starts in the early 1900s, when the city was booming and the Brisbane River was still a crucial transport artery. Teneriffe, along with neighbouring New Farm and Newstead, grew up around this riverside industry, quickly becoming a bustling commerce centre thanks to the commercial wharves and many wool stores. The Dalgety grain store (1906) at Teneriffe Wharf, and Vernon Terrace’s Winchcombe Carson's Woolstore (1910) and the Australian Mercantile Land and Finance Woolstore (1911) were among the earliest additions. Worker’s housing sprung up around the industry and a railway line connected the hub to Bowen Hills. But the bustling energy, and even most of the population was already long gone when the line closed in 1990.
Teneriffe Woolstores Gentrification
The Teneriffe Woolstores precinct’s second coming began in 1991 but took several years to be fully realised and even longer to create the thriving suburb you see today. That was the year Brisbane City Council partnered with the Queensland and federal governments on the Urban Renewal Taskforce, an ambitious plan to revitalise roughly 730 hectares of industrial land in the area. The centre of that project, and its most easily recognised element today, was the transformation of several old wool stores into upmarket apartment buildings, starting in 1995. Five years later, most of the old buildings, including heritage-listed Winchcombe Carson Woolstores and Mactaggarts Woolstore, had become in-demand living quarters. The Australian Maritime Depot, HMAS Moreton and other factories soon followed. The striking Brisbane Powerhouse theatre in New Farm’s former electricity station and the Gasworks Plaza (you guessed it, a former gasworks) at Newstead are examples of similar thinking nearby.
Teneriffe restaurants, cafes, bars and things to do
None of that would matter if the project hadn’t succeeded, turning Teneriffe into one of Brisbane’s many dining and drinking hubs. For such a small patch of Brisbane, the suburb packs in some top-notch venues, boasting contenders for Brisbane’s best pizza, best ice cream and best breakfast.
A day in and around the Teneriffe Woolstores
Your day would have to start a couple of blocks back from the river on the corner of Florence and Dath streets, where Sourced Grocer’s in-house cafe has been serving up excellent, often vegetarian, meals for years. Even amidst the latest healthy eating surge, it’s still hard to beat for anyone who feels like a cabbage pancake (honestly, they’re so good) over an eggs benny. Kin and Co, Brio Breakfast, Hemingway Cafe and Wilde Kitchen are all great alternatives.
With the most important meal of the day under your belt, the world (or at least the suburb) is your oyster. It’s easy to while away an hour or two strolling by the river but you could also indulge yourself at Sakura Day Spa or touch up your do at Revolution Hairdressing.
Lunch is a meal best served riverside, something Cutty Sark Riverside Bar and Restaurant and Eves on the River will – in the heritage-listed MacTaggarts Woolstore – be happy to oblige. The idyllic vista makes it the perfect place to share a romantic dinner, casual lunch or breakfast, or just relax at the bar with a cocktail. Only a few metres further back on Vernon Terrace, you’ll find highly regarded Japanese and Korean eatery Zero Fox and Italian restaurant Beccofino, regularly crowned Brisbane's best pizza. You also can’t go wrong with Phat Pho, Copado, Fish’s Seafood Market, ANFE Italian Club and many others.
The afternoon is calling, and with it, your chance to wander. Check out Green Beacon Brewing Co. and stroll along Commercial Road or make the Skyring Terrace, Vernon Terrace, Macquarie Street riverside walk until something catches your eye. For dinner, grab a bite at whatever delicious venue came a close second for lunch. Your day would not be complete without dessert at the excellent, La Macelleria Gelateria, indisputably one of the best in town.