Lonely Pint: A Brisbane Beer Travel Guide – Cartel

Lonely Pint: A Brisbane Beer Travel Guide – Cartel

While I was on my travels to various places around the world, I thought to myself ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I had a Lonely Planet style book that would tell me where to go for a good drop?’. There are plenty of websites out there to find that information, but what I wanted was the hard facts; opening times, number of taps, variety, food etc. With that question still lingering in my mind, I decided to start up the “Lonely Pint” (see what I did there…) and highlight, in a travel guide fashion, the great places to drink in Brisbane. If you are new to this fair city, here on vacation, or just new to the whole Good Beer scene and would like to know where to go to explore deeper into it, this will hopefully be helpful.

This week, the quirky Cartel Bar on Caxton Street is our destination.

The Essentials

Address: , 2 Caxton St, Petrie Terrace
Hours of Operation: Tues – Thurs 2pm-12am, Fri-Sat 2pm-2am, Sun 2pm-12am
Seating Capacity: 100
Date Opened: November 2010
Number of Taps: 6 Taps
Bottle Selection: Approx 30
Price Range per Glass: $8 – $10
Wine’s and Spirits/Cocktails?: 2 Wines, 30-35 (mostly dark) Spirits always rotating, no cocktails
Owners: Flynn (Moustache) and Noah (Beard)
Bar Manager: Clem (Baby Face)

The Good Stuff

Beer Variety

IMG_8092Cartels 6 constantly rotating taps are a who’s who of the local brewing scene. With ace brews from the likes of Fortitude Brewing, All Inn, and Green Beacon, your likely to have to freshest of beer, as Cartel focuses on SEQ flavours (and a bit from Byron, which, lets admit, might as well be Queensland). You won’t find imperial IPA’s or fruity porters here; Cartels focus is on clean, sessionable style beers like Pale Ales and lagers, basically, anything you can come in and have at any point in the day and still enjoy without much effort. One tap is dedicated to Monteith’s Cider.


Cartel does not do food, but you have the one and only OZ Kebab right next door! In my backpacker days, this used to be a haunt of mine. If you are looking to eat.. skip it. There’s much better options around. Cartel allows BYOF, so you can grab yourself a nice Thai curry from down the road and munch on it with a refreshing beer.


IMG_8089Star Wars, outdoor, dive. These three descriptive terms is what wraps up Cartel nicely. Theirs is a bar that do not take themselves seriously, in a good way. There is no pretentiousness, no fancy snifter glasses, no highback bar stools. If you walked into a dive bar in New York, this is pretty much the feel you’d get. It’s a great place to pop into in the afternoon for a cheeky beer, slip by after work for a few knock off beverages, or to start your night off right with a crisp ale. Noah (who has one of the best beards I’ve seen in a while), is passionate about the beer they sell and is ready to tell you all about it.

IMG_8086With their 100 person seating mostly being on an outdoor deck, Cartel is kind of at the whim of the elements, and sometimes will even shut down when it’s lashing down outside, but when it’s nice out, or even semi-nice out, the comfy couches and lounges they have as seating make it the perfect place to people-watch the folks in the Caxton district. With action figures adorning the walls and Star Wars paraphernalia everywhere, you can see these guys are here to have a good time, and to make sure you do too.

The Inside Scoop (from owner, Flynn)

Who is the typical punter that comes into Cartel?
We opened Cartel up because we wanted a really comfortable bar in Paddington where anybody could come and feel welcome. They could chill out, sit on comfy couches, listen to good music, and have great beer.

How do you select the beers on tap and what goes into the selection process?
We get bored if we always have the same beers. We think our customers do to, so we are constantly hunting for new beers. We do the same with our ciders and spirits. We try and keep a concise yet great selection all the time. At the moment we are seeing how long we can keep our tap beers all close to home(Fortitude, Green Beacon, All Inn etc.)

What makes Cartel unique from other beer venues?
Although  we we sell great beers, we consider ourselves more of an “outdoor dive bar”. 

Any other interesting facts or stories about Cartel?
After 3 months each employee with go through the ancient ritual of the trials of the elders. In this, their naming day, all employees will convene and in a trance like state will speak in tongues. They all throw out new names for the initiate, the one rule is the name must have never been used before. Whence the elders agree on a name(no matter how ridiculous) that’s it… The name sticks. Previous StarTender names include, ChainSaw, RattleSnake, Roun-da-bout, Bread and CrawlSpace!

Contact Info:

Phone:  07 3511 6868
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cartel-Bar/
Twitter:  @cartelcaxton
Email: cartelcaxton@gmail.com

A big thank you to Flynn and Noah for all their assistance!

Want to see all the Lonely Pint entries? Check it out, right here!

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