Brisbane is known around the world as Australia's river city. Anyone who lives in Brisbane will tell you that the river divides our city – both figuratively and literally. The friendly (and sometimes not so friendly) rivalry between those who live north of the Brisbane River and those who live south of the river is thought to originate from the 1850s when the city or Northern Brisbane charged the city of South Brisbane an exorbitant sum to bury their dead in old Milton Cemetery. Over 150 years later, Brisbane is a united city but this attitude is still ingrained in Brisbanites from a young age and shapes our perception of our own city. For Northsiders, everything worth having is north of the river but, as any Southsider will tell you, why travel to the north side when you’ve got everything you need south of the river? As a lifelong Southsider, this is my Brisbane.
Carina and West End
The 'Getta Pig Out'
Getta Burger has quickly gained a huge fanbase on the southside, with a number of Northsiders making the pilgrimage across the river to the holy grail of smoked meat. Getta Burger do some of the best pulled pork burgers you’ll ever taste in your life. They make everything the hard way from grinding and pressing their own meat patties, smoking their own brisket, to making their own special sauces. In just over a year, Getta Burger has expanded to four locations to satisfy their ever growing fan base. You can even get breakfast burgers and beer at the West End store. Checkout Getta Burger's Facebook and Instagram for the special each week. These creative burgers are available for one week only and most are never to be repeated! Make sure you're hungry, the meals are huge! (These days you can get Getta Burger on the north side too, but it was born and bred on the South side!)
Flying into Brisbane airport, I always get a little thrill looking out the plane window to see Southbank Parklands snaking along the Brisbane river. Located across the river from the CBD, Southbank has something for everyone. You could easily spend an entire day exploring the weekend markets, swimming at the man-made beach, relaxing in the lush gardens and taking in the local and international exhibits at the Queensland Museum, Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Art Gallery. Finish off your day with dinner at one of the many restaurants along Grey St or Little Stanley St and take in a world-class theatre production at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre with a sneaky cocktail or two.
Brisbane's only Eastern European restaurant is one of many restaurants at Southbank's Little Stanley Street. Torba is a slice of old Eastern Europe with a modern twist. Think lush purple couches, diamantes, velvet curtains, chandeliers and mood lighting – perfect for a date or night out with the girls. Of all the restaurants in Brisbane, this is the only one where you'll find Russian Blini (savoury crepes) and Pelmeni (dumplings), Hungarian Goulash, Georgian Shaslik (meat skewers, Ukrainian beers and Transylvanian Merlot. This is one of my favourite restaurants and food is seriously good! I always get pelmeni, goulash and a slice of Russian honey Cake.
One of the Lucky Cat Cafe's resident cats, Lulu.
For a crazy cat lady who can't have pets in her rental, the Lucky Cat Cafe is like heaven on earth! The cat cafe is home to half a dozen rescue cats that have been given a fresh start by the cafe's owners and volunteers. Enjoy quality coffee and cat themed baked goods before spending an hour patting cats in a converted attic with a purpose-built cat jungle gym and plenty of cat toys. As with all cats, sometimes they want to be patted and sometimes they don't, so there's plenty of colouring in and craft activities to do if the cats are feeling antisocial. You can also take home a variety of cat themed jewelry, art and stationary.
Madonna, Sting and Cher are international celebrities that have the star-power to only go by one name. At home in Brisbane we have Andrew, a one man German Oompah band with a cult following. You haven't lived until you've heard Andrew belt out an oompah version of Lady Gaga's Pokerface! Andrew performs every Friday and Saturday night in the German Club's Beer Hall. It's exactly as you imagine – row after row of long tables, litre beer steins, schnapps shots and dancing. Make sure you have a reservation, it gets crazy busy and often books out well in advance! The German Club offers over 60 German beers to get you up and dancing, along with hearty traditional German food at the Zum Kaiser restaurant. The Club is just across the road from The Gabba, Brisbane's major cricket and AFL grounds, so it's the perfect place to grab a drink after the game.
Town Square, Westfield Garden City
Town Square feels like you're dining at a tropical resort
Westfield Garden City's Town Square alfresco dining precinct is a hidden gem in the southern suburbs. Attached to the Westfield Garden City shopping centre, Town Square's water features and boardwalks make it feel like you're at a 5 star resort. It's the perfect spot to grab a beer with friends on a Sunday afternoon or relax after a hard day shopping.