Shopping, retail therapy, check out the one of a kind, the unusual and enjoy exploring Brisbane
Brisbane laneways were originally service lanes frequented by large rubbish bins and the occasional smoker on a lunch break. Now, lanes are becoming vibrant communal areas for boutique eateries and one of a kind shops specialising in jewellery, clothing and accessories. The Brisbane Vibrant Laneways programme (1990’s) jump started the derelict lane revitalisation programme with outstanding results. Today Melbourne laneways have serious competition in the cuteness stakes with street art, annual festivals and promotions making Brisbane’s laneways a definite plus for the dedicated shopper. Pop up markets, tiny green spaces and well lit laneways attract locals and visitors alike. Set aside a day to leisurely explore the lanes with a reviving coffee always a stone’s throw away. Brisbane’s laneways are predominantly located in the city centre, Fortitude Valley and South Brisbane areas.
The area, once an exercise yard of a colonial prison and the site of public executions is all about food. The street art echoes the past with references to the floggings that took place. Vibrantly painted walls provide colour and gloss to the restaurants, cafes and pop up food stalls. Visitors can eat their way around the world perched on a stool in Burnett Lane.
Rich oriental reds adorn buntings, decorative spaces and jostles with shoppers and office workers intent on chowing down on delicious dumplings, noodles and spicy soup. Albert Lane is a hot spot for Asian fusion inspired eateries. It is a perfect pit stop during your shopping jaunt on Albert Street.
Adjoining Eagle Lane is Eagle Street with its riverside glamorous boutique stores. Tucked behind the glam is Eagle Lane with its dedicated hole in the wall caffeine drinks, basement bars for funky nightlife and live music echoing into the lane above. There is a decidedly American theme to the food outlets with burger chain Ruby Diners and Brooklyn lager on tap. The lane is home to The Coop Espresso providing patrons needing a regular coffee fix. The laneway vibrants to regular City Sounds pop-up musical events, street parties and artistic installations.
Nothing like a freshly painted shopfront to heritage facades to encourage shoppers and locals to wander down the lane. Cakes, coffee, authentic pizza, fusion snacks and the Aussie breakfast scents entice visitors to linger. Cafe tables spill out into the central spaces invoking a cosy feel to Bakery Lane. Between the eateries are boutique stores from Empire dolls or retro finds for vinyl record buffs.
A tiny laneway specialising in quirky one of kind shops from Tym Guitars to bright punchy colours on T shirts at Phoebe Paradise. The crammed cul-de-sac spills out onto Ann Street with its stalwarts such as House of Ezis and Babushka Ballerina for glitzy occasions.
California Lane has fabulous eats and live music venue Born Creative Studio. This lane is gaining a reputation as the place for interesting pop up stalls and shops. Ethical cosmetics vendor Dunkle Authentic rubs shoulders with a customised jewellery store, Rebellious Grace. Homeware is on display at California Lane at Brunswick. A reviving coffee from Reverends or Froth on Brunswick will keep you on your toes.
Eudone Aerated Water factory was located at the site in the 1870’s creating the original name of Soda Water Lane. Then Mr George Fish and his laundry, in the late nineteenth century established his booming business known as Fish Steam Laundry. Mr Fish, one of Brisbane’s entrepreneurs died in 1925 however his name lives on in Fish Lane. There are eateries to tempt the palate with patient customers waiting for a street table at their favourite vendor. Nightlife traffic is supported with a craft brewery cafe and wine cafes. Fish laneway is blessed with a large courtyard where food trucks vye for space and musical acts try their hand at entertaining the crowd.
The nightlife hub is located on the edge of the CBD with numerous restaurants in the vicinity making dining choices difficult.
Another history lesson with a signature cocktail marking the demise of a heritage hotel. The colourful laneway between Queen St and Adelaide St is a cheerful pop of colour against the CDB landscape. The laneway is home to one of Brisbane’s favourite bars, The Gresham. The bar honours the Gresham Hotel demolished after floods in 1974. The Gresham Hotel is where Qantas company documents were signed establishing the iconic airline. The pub witnessed a brawl between American GI’s and Australian soldiers in 1942.
The 1950’s pedestrian walkway is glorious African colours spilling out of shops with African themed eateries from an Ethopian restaurant to cafes specialising in African style drinks. Visitors can’t miss the walkway with its vibrant street art decorating the walls.
Laneways are forever changing with your favourite new discovery closing. Recommendations date as soon as they are posted. For the serious shopper it is part of the fun, finding the bargain, the unique gift of a holiday well spent knowing the vendor might not be open on your next visit to the laneway.
The journey is worth it.