Melbourne is renowned for it’s uber-cool laneway coffee culture, and while the scene in Brisbane isn’t as expansive, it has some awesome laneway cafés that would give Melbourne a run for their money. So get on your best hipster wear and check out my five favourites!
One of the coolest cafés in town, Bean is hidden down a laneway off George St. It can be quite easy to miss so keep an eye out for the café’s sign hanging out from the main street. Once you find the sign, walk down the laneway and around the corner where you will find the entrance to Bean, an old English Telephone box.
Trundle down underground and you’ll find the room, which echoes the laneway itself: dark and slightly mysterious. There are odd tables and chairs and art is displayed all over the walls. The coffee here is superb. The blend is custom made by the owner, roasted at nearby Bellissimo.
Due to the small underground space, there is no kitchen, but the menu consists of food items from nearby Irish Murphy’s and Miss Kay, which are brought down into the underground café for you.
Laneway, 181 George Street, Brisbane CBD
Brew provides a perfect getaway for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a great cup of coffee in a laid back place. The grungy, arty, underground café is located on Lower Burnett Lane, just off Queen Street Mall. The coffee is made using Louis Louis coffee beans and the result is a lovely smooth brew. The food is also fantastic here with some great bagels and an intriguing night-time bar menu.
Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane CBD
Across the road from the Hilton on Elizabeth St, you’ll find a laneway (unofficially called Xile lane), well-lit with the Strauss sign. The room is lighter and more spacious than most of its fellow laneway café companions. The house blend is developed by combining Guatemala La Soledad and Honduras Liquidambar but the feature blend on the day of my visit was the star. The crisp El Salvador Fìnca El Aguila blend created a flat white like no other I’ve had before with hints of red apple and red currants.
The food is kept simple, with a menu featuring classics such as poached eggs on sourdough, sandwiches and salads. Sometimes simple food like this is all you need with great coffee.
189 Elizabeth St, Brisbane CBD
Positioned right next to some of Brisbane’s coolest restaurants and bars like Super Whatnot and The Survey Co, Felix isn’t out of place. With huge open windows and a minimalistic, friendly design, the place is perfectly suited for a breakfast/lunch catch-up with friends or an escape from the city streets for a great cup of Single Guys coffee. The food here is focused on being sustainable, using the best local and organic produce available in simple but tasty ways. Take the seasonal frittata or organic corned beef toastie for example, simple food – done well.
50 Burnett Lane, Brisbane CBD
John Mills Himself
Named after the heritage-listed building it’s located in, the first thing to know about John Mills Himself, is how to find the place. It can be accessed from Charlotte St where you’ll enter Archives Fine Books and go through a discreet back door or you can walk through to the end of a driveway/laneway leading off Elizabeth St. Exposed brick walls and timber decorate the café turn bar at night. With a ‘multi-roaster’ philosophy, expect to see a range of local coffee roasters on the menu at the same time such as The Single Guys, Coffee Supreme and Uncle Joe’s.
If coffee’s not your thing, they do some of the best hot chocolates in town, including one that features a Central-American spice mix with hints of cinnamon, chilli, nutmeg and maca root infused through the rich hot chocolate. All the focus is placed on the drinks here, but there are some great pastries from Crust & Co and Levain on offer if you are feeling famished.
End of driveway, 55 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane CBD