How to do a CityCat pub crawl in Brisbane
Brisbane’s ferry service – aka the CityCat – is just as sleek as the furry feline but it operates on less of a stalk, prowl and kill mode.
In fact, the MO for CityCats involves sightseeing and transporting locals to and from 25 jump-off points, which, when you read between the lines, means they can deliver you right to the entryway of some top Brisbane restaurants.
And forget sore feet and broken stilettos, because they’re are also an EPIC mode of pub crawl transport.
All you have to do is grab a few mates, pre-purchase a TransLink go card, pull up this stop-by-stop guide on your phone and you’re away.
Ferry terminal: Regatta
Pub crawl stop: Regatta Hotel
Instantly recognisable for its white lattice verandas, The Regatta Hotel on the riverside at Toowong, has been entertaining Brisbane since 1874. She’s survived her fair share of floods and, most notably, made the headlines in 1965 when local feminists Merle Thornton and Rosalie Bogner chained themselves to the public bar in protest against women not being able to drink, which spearheaded the women’s liberation movement in Brisbane.
Here’s cheers to the start of your pub crawl and the Grand Lady of the Brisbane River.
What’s nearby? The Boatshed Restaurant is perfect for those who want to fuel up for the crawl with a dry-aged steak. And if you fancy a classy kind of tipple before the going gets rough, head to The Walrus Club – an underground speakeasy with more the 300 spirits on tap. Just look for the black cellar door underneath The Regatta.
Ferry terminal: South Bank 1 and 2
Pub crawl stop: The Charming Squire
Pub crawls are all about pacing yourself, so alight at South Bank 1 and 2 terminal and take a brisk walk through South Bank and snap a few Insta-worthy pictures of you and your mates.
Stop for a traveller at The Plough Inn (a cool Aussie pub with a pumping beer garden) or The South Bank Beer Garden (with great views down Streets Beach) en route to The Charming Squire, located near the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.
It has an absolute sports bar meets brewery feel, and we recommend you enjoy your favourite James Squire variety with some pulled pork sliders.
What’s nearby? The Fox Hotel spans out over three venues, so factor in triple the time if you want to hang here and make sure Dandy’s Rooftop Bar is on your hit list – it’s more refined than your average pub with an artsy feel and cool views.
Ferry terminal: Eagle Street Pier
Pub crawl stop: Bavarian Bier Cafe
The Bavarian Bier Cafe is a Brisbane favourite for post-work drinks and weekend shenanigans, bringing in flavours from neighbouring Italy, Austria, and Hungary, to give you the complete Bavarian experience.
What’s nearby? The Stock Exchange Hotel, Port Office Hotel and The Victory are all just a stone’s throw away.
Ferry terminal: Riverside
Pub crawl stop: Riverbar & Kitchen
With uninterrupted views of the Story Bridge, and cool water vapour spritzing out of the ceiling to keep you chilled on a Sunday, it’s all too easy to get lost in the vortex here and spend hours sitting at a picnic table with a few pints.
What’s nearby? Take a detour and head to Pig and Whistle for an English spin on this pub crawl.
Ferry terminal: Thornton Street
Pub crawl stop: Story Bridge Hotel
No pub crawl is complete without a stop at the good old S.B.H. And best of all, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the ferry terminal! The Story Bridge Hotel (or SBH as the locals call it) is the oldest pub in Brisbane and its rich history dates back to 1886 when it was called the Kangaroo Point Hotel.
In 1940, it was renamed The Story Bridge Hotel to honour the opening of The Story Bridge above it. This hotel houses four bars, so start sipping Queensland beer from the Corner Bar and work your way through Shelter, Outback and Main Street bars.
What’s nearby? Come back another weekend with the same group of mates and test your mettle against the metallic monster that is the Story Bridge on a Story Bridge Adventure Climb experience.
Ferry terminal: New Farm Park
Pub crawl stop: WATT Restaurant & Bar, Brisbane Powerhouse
WATT Restaurant & Bar is located under the iconic Brisbane Powerhouse and it’s where you will find the cool kids hanging out for a cheeky afternoon sesh. This riverfront restaurant and bar has a trendy and arty buzz about it, a spillover effect from the shows and exhibitions taking place upstairs.
What’s nearby? Brisbane Powerhouse is a former power station that has become a distinct landmark, both as a stunning industrial creation and a hub for everything creative, including theatre, music, comedy, film, visual arts, festivals and ideas.
A short cab ride away is Fortitude Valley’s line-up of pubs, Brunswick Hotel, The RG, and The Elephant Hotel. For those that want to keep going on the river, there’s still one stop to go!
Ferry terminal: Bretts Wharf
Pub crawl stop: Eat Street Markets
And for the finale, stop at Bretts Wharf and walk for approximately 15 minutes to food paradise! This container market offers international cuisines, boutique beers and live performers that make every Friday and Saturday night a #foodcoma experience.
If you’re still up for another pot, seven or pony, The Hamilton Hotel (The Hamo) is the perfect end to a pub crawl. We suggest sitting in Bistro Bar’s deck or checking out a game at the Sports Bar.
What’s nearby? A lawn area at Eat Street Markets to stretch out on after a full day of laughing, eating and drinking.
– Before boarding a ferry, save time and money by purchasing a TransLink GoCard or make sure you have cash on you to buy a ticket on board.
– Tech Savvy? Download the Brisbane Ferry app to get the schedule and check to see if it’s running on time.
– CityCat is a paid ferry service and City Hopper is a free ferry service – both stopping at different terminals along the river.