John Mills Himself Brisbane CBD

Brisbane’s secret bars, cafes and stores

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Beyond the beaten track of bustling high streets and arcades, Brisbane’s burgeoning foodie and independent retail culture is sprouting a new crop of cool. Venture up heritage staircases and down intriguing laneways and you’ll soon find the city’s design-savvy, underground locale.

From the CBD’s best strong brew to curated artisan homewares – we’ve listed our six favourite hidden gems (soon to become Brisbane’s worst kept secrets) below!

Gramercy Coffee

Gramercy Coffee

Photo by @gramercy_coffee via IG

Tucked inside the 200 Edward Street entrance of the retail-chic Wintergarden, Gramercy is a breakfast hub for a flock of corporate hipsters, keen for their quotidian espresso.

This petite and in-demand nibble nook is known for their homemade almond milk, bottling up fresh juice recipes and the most coveted doughnuts in town. Keep an eye on their Instagram for ‘hot from the oven’ alerts!


Showroom Brisbane

A newcomer to the cityscape, Showroom is a concept store and co-working space characterised by high ceilings, wooden floors and an eclectic curation of design wares from global and local artisans.

Perched in the second-floor loft of a beautifully restored, circa 1880 building at 104 Edward Street, it’s the ideal place to browse for and pick up creative, Pinterest-worthy keepsakes to adorn your home. Peruse their visual delights on their Instagram feed.

John Mills Himself

John Mills Himself

Nestled beneath Archives Fine Books in the historic John Mills building on Charlotte Street (accessible via an unassuming driveway at 55 Elizabeth Street), you may need to mobilise Google maps to find this much-loved bistro bar.

After a short adventure, you’ll stumble across the timber beam and exposed brick corner that is John Mills Himself. Prepare to be greeted by a selection of delish craft beer and organic aperitifs!


Apartment Store

Photo by @aptmnt via IG

If gentlemen’s street style as photographed by the Sartorialist were a retail category, Apartment would be Brisbane’s go-to wardrobe source. Their collection of forward-thinking, wearable and quality pieces includes brands from Comme des Garçons to Kenzo and Head Porter – just to name a few!

Put your best brogue forward and seek them out in their heritage loft space at 105 Albert Street. Don’t miss neighbouring store Violent Green while you’re there!


Brew Cafe and Wine Bar

Photo by @brewcafewinebar via IG

One of the first laneway pioneers in Brisbane City; the ever-buzzing Brew Cafe & Wine Bar is burrowed in lower Burnett Lane of the Queen Street Mall. The inconspicuous, alley entrance may evoke ‘graffiti grunge’ but rest assured – a relaxed and cozy solace popular with city folk is just a stones throw away.

If it’s a spot of Wi-Fi, a neat selection of Australian wines and a hearty evening menu of tapas dishes you’re after, Brew’s for you!


There’s a little piece of modern Italy in every thriving city, Brisbane included! Down a flight of modest stairs in the Metro Arts building you will find the scrumptious, vegan-friendly Verve Restaurant – also Brisbane’s coolest artisanal cider house.

This moody basement space offers inviting and warm surrounds with exceptional service and tasty eats. Reservations are highly recommended.

Do you have a secret spot in Brisbane you’d like to share?