LIV­ING IN THE VAL­LEY

Cheaper than Syd­ney, bet­ter weather than Mel­bourne! Life in Bris­bane’s gay hub, For­ti­tude Val­ley, is bet­ter than ever.

DNA Magazine - - CONTENT #225 -

LET’S START with the morn­ing brew. In all in­ner-ur­ban hubs, café food and top-qual­ity cof­fee from prac­ticed baris­tas is an essen­tial part of life. For­ti­tude Val­ley’s laneways and re­claimed spa­ces are per­fect for wan­der­ing through, find­ing the hid­den, hip spots to set­tle on a ran­dom milk crate and en­joy your morn­ing caf­feine hit. Check out Winn Street, where new cafés pop up con­stantly, and the lo­cal coun­cil is help­ing de­velop the laneway at­mo­sphere. Peckish? Wan­der through Brunswick or James Street to find a late-night feed.

Try the Thai cui­sine at Long Time, mod­ern Aus­tralian at X Cargo (a three-level venue im­pres­sively cre­ated from ship­ping con­tain­ers) or Tacos at The Coop. The Val­ley’s Chi­na­town is cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a gen­er­a­tional change. The older style restau­rants are be­ing re­placed with new-gen Asian cuisines in­clud­ing hot grill Ja­panese. When it comes to bars and clubs,

The Val­ley spoils with choices! The afore­men­tioned X Cargo is great for so­cial­is­ing over food, but the beers, wines and cock­tails menu will sat­isfy the con­nois­seur. For cock­tails with a view, head up to Eleven or Up On Con­stance. Cloud­land on Brunswick Street is a beau­ti­ful venue with an open rooftop for their once-a-week Salsa night. It’s also where the crowd gath­ers for pre-drinks be­fore head­ing to Fluffy, the gay night at Fam­ily night­club on Sun­days.

The Val­ley hosts three of Aus­tralia’s most iconic gay venues: the throb­bing, ever-young Beat night­club, The Wick­ham with its laid­back bar, café and beer gar­den, and The Sports­man’s Bar with pool ta­bles and rough-around-theedges charm. For saunas and sex-on-premises, op­tions in­clude The Den, Wet Spa and Sauna, and Club 29, which hosts reg­u­lar themed nights like Tradies Night, a swimwear fetish party, and boasts top DJs in sex-and-party at­mo­sphere.

For the health-con­scious, The Val­ley’s cli­mate and prox­im­ity to beau­ti­ful parks like Roma Park­lands make it a jog­ger’s par­adise but in the hot­ter and more hu­mid months head to The Val­ley Pool. This fa­cil­ity is laned for lap swim­mers and hosts sport­ing events so is per­fect for a healthy reg­u­lar swim­mer.

There are also plenty of great gyms in the area in­clud­ing Good Life, Jetts Fit­ness, Snap Fit­ness, Bi­o­logic Lab and Sweat Gym. For yoga, op­tions in­clude Lu­l­ule­mon Yoga Cen­tre and SoHo Yoga.

For menswear shop­ping you don’t have to go far. James Street is the main fash­ion re­tail strip with a David Jones depart­ment store stock­ing a se­lec­tion of pop­u­lar men’s brands. But also head around the cor­ner to Ann Street, where you’ll find lo­cal, unique bou­tique fash­ion stores. The tucked-away Cal­i­for­nia Lane off Ann Street to­wards McLaugh­lan, near Cloud­land, is cur­rently be­ing de­vel­oped for re­tail.

New­com­ers or vis­i­tors to The Val­ley should

start with an ori­en­ta­tion out­ing. The Bris­bane Greeters are a bunch of vol­un­teer guides who de­light in show­ing off their city. Apart from all the cool places to wine and dine and caf­feinate, they’ll take you to the gems of street art and bou­tique shop­ping.

Live mu­sic afi­ciona­dos will find plenty to whet their ap­petite with fes­ti­vals and events through­out the year. Top of the list for the LGBT crowd is Big Gay Day, usu­ally the sec­ond week­end in March when then the block around the Wick­ham ho­tel is closed off to traf­fic for a mas­sive out­door gay… day! This year’s live acts in­cluded Al­fie Acuri, Sneaky Sound Sys­tem and Sa­man­tha Jade, plus plenty of DJs. Other events in­clude Big­sound, Val­ley Fi­esta and reg­u­lar live gigs at The Zoo.

For the higher arts, the Val­ley’s prox­im­ity to the Bris­bane Pow­er­house Theatre puts Val­ley dwellers a short cab ride from the city’s lead­ing theatre venue. There’s also The Ju­dith Wright Cen­tre, and a new multi-mil­lion-dol­lar arts cen­tre in the works for Roma Street.

Bris­bane is de­scribed as a “new world city”. It’s a busi­ness and fi­nance cen­tre for Aus­trala­sia, a step­ping-off point for in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors, and more and more Aus­tralians are choos­ing to make it their home: it recorded a two per­cent pop­u­la­tion growth rate be­tween 2016-17.

For­ti­tude Val­ley, the city’s LGBT vil­lage, is now see­ing tow­er­ing, lux­u­ri­ous apart­ments ris­ing up to meet 21st Cen­tury stan­dards. But The Val­ley looks set to re­tain its dis­tinc­tive flavour and re­main a pleas­ing shade of pink.

Laneway café cul­ture on Winn Street.

The Big Gay Day event on Wick­ham Street.

The view from the in­fin­ity pool at the top of the Co­terie Apart­ments, cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion.

Bris­bane’s Pow­er­house Theatre.

Late night munchies on Al­fred Street.

Fine foods at rooftop bar, Eleven.

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