Brisbane’s hippest hangouts are hidden under our very noses, writes Laura Brodnik.

We’ve always been warned against venturing down dark alleyways but it turns out the best places in the city are tucked away out of sight. However, for those in the know Brisbane CBD is a treasure trove of secret delights. From secret breakfast nooks to hidden lunch destinations, off-the-grid bars and places to buy one-of-a-kind pieces – the city has it all.


Kitchen Door at Embassy Lane, 189 Elizabeth Street Walking down the loading bay next to the Hilton may not seem like a good idea but you won’t be sorry. What was once a storage area has been converted into a funky industrial style café with tables constructed from kitchen doors and colourful graffiti style artworks. For breakfast try their range of pastries including almond croissants, freshly baked muffins, delightful jam creations and gourmet fruit bread. Or you could start the day with hand shaken iced coffees, homemade iced teas or organic juices and soft drinks.


Men – The Cloakroom, 104 Edward Street Venture up a nondescript staircase and you’ll find The Cloakroom, where the Queensland Reds go when they need new threads. This menswear destination specialises in made to measure handmade pieces and according to manager Ben Messina there’s no body shape they haven’t dressed. The store has become the go to location for hard to find sizes. The Cloakroom also stocks ready-to-wear label Pistols at Dawn. Women – Elizabeth Arcade, 99 Elizabeth Street Ladies looking for something different will think they have died and gone to heaven when they step into Elizabeth Arcade, a rabbit warren of clothing you won’t find in mainstream chain stores. Boutiques include Verge, Hopstotch and Little Lace. Violent Green stocks a range of handmade pieces from New Zealand designers and recently became the only Brisbane store to stock UK brand Lazy Oaf.

Lunch and entertainment

Brew, Lower Burnett Lane Walk to the very end of Burnett Lane and you’ll find yourself in Brew, a carefully hidden restaurant and bar so hard to find that staff have affectionately nicknamed it ‘the dungeon’. With a new menu just launched, including North African spiced roasted chicken with caprice salad and carrot ketchup, it’s the perfect place for a lunch time treat. If you’re keen to slip in a sneaky midday cocktail ask the bar to whip you up something special, they mixed bmag a heavenly Chilli Vodka Chai concoction. Live music is in the building Thursday to Saturday.


Strauss, 189 Elizabeth Street Hidden at the very end of a pedestrian laneway off Elizabeth Street sits Strauss, but you’d have to follow the aroma of coffee to find it. This charming little place is barely five months old but according to co-owner Oliver Strauss it’s already building up a loyal cliental who venture down the laneway in search of a jolt. With coffee blends sourced from Los Planes, El Salvador and La Esperanza, Colombia this little nook is the ideal place to enjoy a warm cup of heaven.

Dinner and drinks

Super Whatnot, 48 Burnett Lane What was once a derelict building has been transformed into a three story mecca of tasty treats and cool beats. Super Whatnot is home to a range of craft beers, premium wines and cocktails. Their chef hails from Brazil so all dishes have a distinct Latin flavour and all food is grilled or prepared in the oven. Signature dishes include 12-hour braised beef, black beans and iceberg burritos. A DJ is on hand Thursday to Saturday spinning vinyl records.