Dating. It’s hard enough in summer when you’re sticking to your seat and trying to smile as your makeup slides slowly down your face, but in winter? The temptation to burrow down into blankets, disable Tinder and sign up for an extra streaming service is always high on our priorities. In a couple? The couch is looking pretty damn sexy right now, and that UberEats button is definitely getting a work out. Plot twist people, you can go out AND be cosy. We’ve found our favourite winter date spots for you to try out.
MR CHESTER WINE BAR | FORTITUDE VALLEY
A bottle of red and the look of love in your eyes, Mr Chester Wine Bar is romance incarnate. With a focus on boutique, new world wines, this cosy little nook also serves up an ever-changing menu of charcuterie platters, delectable small bites and homemade pastas and pizzas. Let the staff take you through the wine list before you re-enact Lady and the Tramp over a bowl of Cacio e Pepe – meatballs are so 2016.
CATBIRD SEAT BISTRO| EAST BRISBANE
Hidden away on Stanley Street is East Brisbane’s best kept secret. With a world class wine list, fluffy pillows of house made gnocchi, perfectly cooked barramundi and mouth watering desserts including bitter dark chocolate mousse – you’ll be anything but on your date at Catbird Seat Bistro. Keep your back to the street, hold hands and pretend you’re in a million miles away in this European foodie paradise.
NOSTIMO BAR AND RESTAURANT | SOUTH BRISBANE
As close as you can get to the Greek islands without a passport, Nostimo specialises in authentic Greek cuisine with a modern touch. Using local produce from farmers and suppliers, prepare to be romanced over barbeque swordfish, fried calamari with ouzo mayonnaise, lamb kindosouvli and baked semolina custard wrapped in filo and strawberry coulis. Pair your meal with a glass of Greek wine or a signature cocktail and that second date is guaranteed.
SAVILE ROW| FORTITUDE VALLEY
Before now it’s been kind of tricky to enjoy a quiet drink in the Valley without being grinded on by a misguided 18 year old. Thankfully, our prayers have been answered in the form of Savile Row. Much like its namesake, this new bar prides itself on its sophistication, but unlike its namesake, is far from pretentious. For some delicious and inventive cocktails and a chilled vibe, swing by Savile Row. It’ll re-kindle your love affair with the Valley.
LA LUNE | SOUTH BRISBANE
Even the name sounds romantic. La Lune is South Brisbane’s favourite wine bar, purveyor of drool worthy French cuisine, and our ultimate date spot. If you can’t afford to take your partner to Paris (we feel your pain), La Lune is the next best thing. After a few glasses of wine and some kangaroo tartare, you’ll be just as thrilled to see the Cultural Centre upon departure as you would the Eiffel Tower.
MADAME ROUGE | FORTITUDE VALLEY
Old school glamour, plush velvet drapes, candlelight and a romantic heated courtyard – be whisked away to Paris via the Valley to be wined and dined at Madame Rouge. Devour braised red wine braised lamb shanks, caramelised French Onion soup and crème Brûlée or keep it simple with glasses of French sparkling and oysters. Good at sharing? Kick off date night with a grazing board and two glasses of wine for $55. Bon Appetite!
JACK RABBITS WHISKEY BAR| WOOLLOONGABBA
Looking to sweep someone off their feet? You gotta rock down to Electric Avenue (we knew that song was trying to tell us something), take a trip up the stairs and take a peak inside the antique wardrobe. No, there will be no lions or witches waiting for you on the other side, but you will have stumbled upon Jack Rabbits secret whiskey bar. Nothing screams ‘romance’ quite like dark liquor and ornate furnishings.
SALON DE CO| SPRING HILL
Equal parts cosy and Art Deco luxe – Salon de Co is more than just a pretty face. Make eyes over cocktails and small bites at the bar, or enjoy a decadent dinner date. Devour king fish with Illawarra plum, Jerusalem artichoke with lemon and lamb with cauliflower and remesco. Indecisive? Let the chefs take charge and create a menu with your palate in mind – now THAT is romantic.
SEYMOUR’S COCKTAILS AND OYSTERS| PETRIE TERRACE
Three B’s people. Booths, booze and beautiful food. Seymour’s has all of this and more in spades. Settle in for the evening and let the bartenders take you through the extensive wine and cocktail lists as you graze on plates of beef bourguignon, tuna nicoise tartine, spanner crab cigars and of course: fresh oysters, the ultimate aphrodisiac.
So there you have it, Brisbane. Ladies, rug up, and gents, suit up, because date night season is upon us.
Words by Emma Callaghan & Georgia Casey – the gourmands who have their love (and several layers) to keep them warm.