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