I’m lucky enough to live in the Brisbane CBD with many bars and restaurants within easy walking distance. It’s just over 20 years since Expo 88, and since then South Bank has changed and evolved along with South Brisbane itself. Its starting to reach critical mass as a great dining and drinking destination with a range of casual dining options through to smart bistros stretching the length of Grey Street, through to Melbourne Street at the western end and Tribune Street to the east.
At the edge of South Bank, but nudging towards West End is Era, a venue with incorporates a fine dining room, bar, bottleshop and cafe and manages to do all four well. Owned by Bob and Brad Hamilton (formerly of Circa), breakfast at the cafe is good, the restaurant outstanding and a fantastic range available in the bottleshop too. I’d never really thought of going there just for a drink but recently discovered its a great location for a bit of a sunday session.
With a mix of bar tables and cafe tables and the choice of sitting inside close to the bar or outside on a leafy shaded patio area, its a nice place to kick back and work your way through the list of cocktails, wine and beers. A well constructed tapas menu is also available for grazing. We were actually in the area on the pretext of taking a walk for exercise so we limited outselves to a small sample of what Era has to offer.
The Era Summer Punch really hit the spot with a nicely balanced fruity mix of gin, aperol, mandarin and blood orange juice served in a tall glass over ice. Amongst the usual mix of domestic and imported regulars, we sampled the Meantime Pale Ale from Greenwich UK which went down rather well on a still warm March afternoon. Beautifully packaged, this hoppy, bottle conditioned beer is starting to sneak its way into better bottle shops and bars with raspberry, chocolate and coffee beers also part of the Meantime range. To accompany our drinks we snacked on Era’s version of fish and chips, the ‘seafood cone’. This is a large paper cone filled with moreton bay bug meat, scallops, sweet prawns, salmon chunks and chips accompanied by a dill sauce and green salad. At around $19, it makes a substantial snack for two or a greedy feast of delicious seafood for one.
Despite the staff seeming a little to keen to prepare for closing time (we visited around 4:30 pm) they were friendly and efficient as well as knowledgable about the drinks on offer. Era Bar is certainly in keeping with the high standard elsewhere at Era and I’m looking forward to heading back to the bar again soon.
Era Bar102 Melbourne St (Cnr Merivale St), South Brisbane (directly opposite the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre)
100 undercover parking spaces available, entry via the laneway immediately behind Era
Open 7 days from 11am
Tapas available all day from midday and evenings until 10.30pm Monday to Saturday and 6pm on Sunday.