Want to have a day out in Brisbane like a local? West End truly gives visitors a sense of neighbourhood life and is just minutes from the CBD. This colourful suburb is a melting pot of vibrant cultures and offers sensational food, unique shopping and glittering nightlife. So if you’re unsure what to do in Brisbane, then look no further because this local favourite has it all and more.
Where to eat the best grub
For sensational Greek food, head to Lefkas Tavern (170 Hardgrave Road). Opening more than 21 years ago, this restaurant is an institution in West End. Expect traditional dancing to accompany some very delicious food. The calamari Tiganito comes highly recommended, as does the lamb Yiros.
If you're looking for something on the healthier side of things, you can't miss Insane Acai Bar (120 Boundary St). This place serves up the classic acai bowls full of fruit, grains and superfood goodness plus raw food deliciousness in the form of vegan oreo slices and takeaway treats like raw vegan stuffed portabella mushrooms!
Trang Restaurant (2/59 Hardgrave Road) serves up sumptuous Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine and is the perfect place to grab a light lunch, especially if pork salad rolls are your thing. On a chilly day, the beef pho and crispy chicken with egg soup can be immensely comforting.
Mu'ooz (54 Mollison Street) is an African not-for-profit social enterprise cafe. It not only supports refugee migrants through job training and employment, but is also a top place to feast on authentic North-East African fare.
Where to drink the best brews
For a truly Aussie bohemian experience, spend an evening at Lock‘n’Load Bistro (142 Boundary Street). Whether you choose to sit in the tranquil courtyard or have fun on the dance floor to live music, the bistro offers a fantastic vibe for winding down, and a selection of reasonably priced craft beers.
All the locals know about Blackstar Coffee (44 Thomas Street), a revolutionary in the coffee scene offering some of the best and most original hot and cold-pressed coffees you can find this side of Brisbane. There tends to be a queue at this hot spot so be prepared to wait for a seat or grab your brew to go.
If it’s variety you want, head up the road to Archive Beer Boutique (100 Boundary Street). With bookshelves and comic-strip wallpaper, you’ll also find vintage sofas and classic pool tables, plus more than 400 domestic and imported bottled beers.
Where to do as the locals do
Head to the iconic Mick’s Nuts (31 Hardgrave Road) for a wide selection of organic deli goods, including dips, cheeses, oils, dairy products and, of course, nuts. This is the place to hunt for a bargain and literally go nuts.
If you want to dress like a West End local then SWOP Clothing Exchange (161 Boundary Street) is a treasure-trove for eclectic vintage and preloved fashion. On Fridays you can unload your own clothes for cash or credit or donate them to charity if you’d just like to give to a good cause.
On Friday nights and Saturdays, the Boundary Street Markets (cnr Boundary and Mollison Streets) come alive with some of the city’s best makers, bakers, designers, growers, entertainers and creatives offering some of the best street food and handmade wares around. Be sure to visit the website for information on what’s on before you go.
Travel secret: If you’re heading to the markets, take the bus or train to avoid getting caught in the traffic jams which tend to happen on the weekends. The CityGlider bus stops at Mollison Street, a short walk from the markets, and the South Bank Train Station is about 10–15 minutes away.