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17 Secret Spots In Brisbane Everyone Needs To Visit

Places so hidden, even some locals don't know them.

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1. Paladar Fumior Salon

A Cuban cigar salon might not be the first thing you go looking for in Brisbane, but after you've tasted the coffee - and maybe sampled a few cigars - you'll understand Paladar's popularity. There's a small courtyard, a rooftop terrace area, and all kinds of exotic memorabilia inside.

When: Monday to Friday, 7am to 2pm.

Where: A resident of Fish Lane before it was cool, Paladar is on the corner of Fish Lane and Merivale Street at South Brisbane.

2. Thank Truck it's Thursday at Wandering Cooks

Wandering Cooks / Via Facebook: wanderingcooks

A recent addition to Fish Lane, Wandering Cooks is an incubator for new hospitality ideas. In other words, it's a place where adults are allowed to play with their food.

Every Thursday evening, the car park plays host to some of Brisbane's best food trucks. The result is a night where you spend hours deciding what to eat, then end up with a crocodile sandwich, a taco, chicken wings, pork buns, AND a craft beer.

When: Every Thursday from 5pm.

Where: The corner of Fish Lane and Cordelia Street, South Brisbane.

3. Holloway

Holloway / Via Facebook: DesignEarthCreated

Holloway is the kind of place you can only find at West End. By day, it's a shop selling eyewear and watches made from old skateboards. At night, it transforms into an outstanding Italian restaurant.

The shopfront is so unassuming, it feels like the food equivalent of a speakeasy. Wednesday to Friday, the focus is on proper Italian pizza, while Saturday night is when the food gets fancier. The menu changes regularly, so you can find a new favourite dish on each visit.

When: Wednesday to Saturday from 6pm. Bookings are essential on Saturday.

Where: On the restaurant strip at 69 Hardgrave Road, West End.


4. Puzzled Room Escape

Kit Kriewaldt

Puzzled offers you the chance to be locked in a strange room with your friends for an hour - how thrilling! It's a live escape game, so rather than wait to be rescued, you must find clues, solve puzzles, and open the door before time runs out. It's also great practice for being kidnapped and imprisoned by your evil arch nemesis. Beginners should try the murder mystery scenario first.

When: Sessions are available day and night, 7 days a week. Book online.

Where: Inside a set of offices at 1177 Logan Rd, Holland Park West.

5. Ohio Cafe / Via

Founded by a returned soldier in 1945, Ohio Café is Brisbane's oldest burger bar. It has that nostalgic feel so many trendy new burger joints aim for, but it's genuinely old fashioned. There are photos on the wall showing that, through different owners and designs, the place has basically stayed the same. Even the burger pattie recipe hasn't been changed since the 1960's.

When: Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 5:30pm. Saturday, 7:30am to 2pm. Sunday, 9am to midday.

Where: This delicious slice of history is at 701 Sandgate Road, Clayfield.

6. ANZAC Square / Via

A welcome green space in the heart of the city, this square is somewhere even locals tend to overlook. People hurry through it, heading to and from Central Station, but not many stop and sit down. When you do, you'll find the trees almost block out the tall buildings, and the park has a quiet calm which the city traffic can't take away. There are several war memorials and the Shrine of Remembrance for the First World War overlooks the square.

When: ANZAC Square is always open, but the best time to go is in the late afternoon, as the city is winding down for the day.

Where: Between Ann and Adelaide Streets, opposite Central Station.

7. Archives Fine Books

If you have a friend who won't stop telling you how it's really more convenient to read books on an iPhone, take them to Archives. Wandering past shelves weighed down with books older than your parents should keep your friend quiet for a bit. And wandering around is what Archives is all about. It's a great place to find leather bound, gilt-edged copies of your favourite books. Or, to find out what bookshops used to sell before 50 Shades of Grey.

When: Monday to Thursday, 9am to 6pm. Friday, 9am to 7pm. Saturday, 9am to 5pm.

Where: An appropriately old brick building at 40 Charlotte Street, Brisbane City.


8. John Mills Himself

While you're at Archives, pop into the building next door and follow the signs to John Mills Himself. You'll need those signs, because this laneway café-by-day, bar-by-night is the definition of ~hidden~.

The café serves a rotation of local coffee blends and has a dedicated hot chocolate menu. For the bar, it's all about local craft beer and gin. If you're not sure which drinks you'd prefer, there's a hopped hot chocolate offering the best of both worlds.

When: Monday to Friday, 6:30am to 3:30pm (Café). Tuesday to Saturday, from 4pm (Bar).

Where: At the back of 40 Charlotte Street, Brisbane City. Access varies by the time of day, check the website for details.

9. Pancake Manor / Via

Another place to visit in Charlotte Street, especially if the idea of eating pancakes in church appeals to you. Sitting inside an old Anglican church, Pancake Manor is undoubtedly one of the most architecturally impressive pancake restaurants in the world. It made history when it opened in 1979 as Brisbane's first 24-hour restaurant. Fancier new cafés open up every day, but Pancake Manor still has the best range of pancakes in town.

When: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Where: 18 Charlotte Street, Brisbane City.

10. Brisbane Jazz Club

Brisbane Jazz Club / Via

You don't have to be in a smoky cellar to enjoy some jazz. In fact, settling into this converted boathouse on the edge of the river feels much cosier than any basement. There's an old-world "dinner and a show" atmosphere about the place, with red walls, a plush booth in one corner, and tables arranged in neat rows. It's often the only place in town where you can see international jazz acts, making the Jazz Club one of the most interesting live music venues in Brisbane.

When: The Jazz Club has evening shows from Thursday to Sunday, as well as occasional brunch gigs on the weekend.

Where: Down on the river at 1 Annie Street, Kangaroo Point.

11. Spicers Balfour Hotel

Spicers Hotels / Via Facebook: SpicersBalfourHotel

This is a hotel with modern style and flair, hiding inside a beautifully restored old Queenslander at New Farm. Along with the central location, guests have access to a classy rooftop bar with a clear view of the Story Bridge. If you're not in need of a hotel, you should still come to the restaurant, which is open to the public. Eating breakfast on a large veranda feels so very Brisbane.

When: Breakfast is served from 6:30am on weekdays and 7:30am on weekends.

Where: This little secret is tucked away at 37 Balfour Street, New Farm.


12. Woolloongabba Antique Precinct

Camera Obscura / Via Facebook: TheEndOfTheLine.Gabba

This block in formerly industrial Woolloongabba feels like it gentrified overnight. High-end restaurants and classy cocktail bars all sprang up in the same section of Logan Road - what are the odds? It's not all about food and drink, though. There's a violinmaker displaying his latest creations in the window, and the Woolloongabba Antique Centre is just around the corner.

The area has grown such a dedicated community, it even has its own street party. The End of the Line Festival takes over the entire street for one Saturday in November.

When: In the daytime, grab a snack at The Baker's Arms. At night try 1889 Enoteca or Pearl for dinner, followed by drinks at Canvas.

Where: The very beginning of Logan Road at Woolloongabba.

13. The New Inchcolm Hotel

David Summers / Via Facebook: TheInchcolmHotel

The New Inchcolm is a CBD hotel for people who want more than the biggest room in the tallest tower. This beautiful 1920's building first became a hotel in the 90's, but it recently had a complete refit, and added the "New" to its name.

An art deco hotel with high ceilings and original cage lift is enough to get anyone excited. But add to that a rooftop pool, a penthouse loft and great bar, and you've got an amazing venue.

When: The bar is open from 6:30am, seven days a week.

Where: 73 Wickham Terrace, Brisbane City.

14. Mappin's Nursery

From the outside, Mappin's looks less like a nursery and more like a house which sentient plants have claimed for themselves. After mentally noting that as a good movie plot and heading inside, you'll find a little more order and a lot more plants. Out the back, you'll find an eclectic selection of fish, snakes, lizards, and other reptiles for sale. Don't worry, they haven't taken over the building.

The range is perfect for the urban apartment gardener. And keep an eye out for the owner's classic blue Fiat in the driveway.

When: Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm. Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Mappin's also runs creative horticulture workshops throughout the year.

Where: 240 Montague Road, West End.

15. Whites Hill Reserve / Via Flickr: 119975892@N02

This serene patch of bushland is conveniently located in the suburbs, meaning you don't have a long drive to get close to nature. The top of the hill itself is worth visiting, but the real highlight is a clearing in the reserve's south east corner, overlooking the freshwater lake in the picture. It's actually an old, flooded quarry, so you can look, but you can't swim.

When: The trees, the cliffs, and the water make for a perfect lunchtime picnic scene.

Where: Whites Hill spans several suburbs, but the main access is via Boundary Road in Camp Hill. The area near the quarry is bounded by Pine Mountain Road.

16. Sushi Kotobuki

Sushi Kotobuki / Via Facebook: 157072508488

Sushi Kotobuki is so much more than just another sushi place. It serves proper, freshly made sushi, but it also serves just about every Japanese meal you've ever heard of, and plenty you haven't. The oyakodon is the best in Brisbane, and the gyoza are delicious too. The staff are friendly perfectionists with a great sense of humour.

When: Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 9pm. Sunday, midday to 9pm. The lunch rush often has queues out the door, so try to get there early, or just come for dinner.

Where: Hidden at the back of a set of shops at 53 Lytton Road, East Brisbane.

17. Wellington Point and King Island / Via

As you gaze out into Moreton Bay, Wellington Point feels like a small seaside town. And if you ignore the fancy new beach houses you pass on the way to the water, you can pretend it is.

King Island sits just off the edge of the point, tantalisingly out of reach. At low tide, a sandbar appears, temporarily joining the island to the mainland. It's no coconut-covered tropical paradise, but the island is a great place to relax or go exploring; just keep an eye on the tide.

When: Any time, as long as the sun is shining and the tide is out.

Where: Wellington Point gives its name to the suburb around it. The point itself is accessed via the aptly named Main Road.

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