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.
Today, we head over to the suburb of New Farm for fresh beer and eats from Bitter Suite.
Address: 75 Welsby Street, New Farm
Hours of Operation: Tue-Fri 11:30am-10:30pm, Sat-Sun 8am-11:30pm
Seating Capacity: 135
Date Opened: September 2011
Number of Taps: 7 Taps plus one hand pump
Bottle Selection: 60-70 bottles depending on time of year
Price Range per Glass: Pints from $9-$12 for most beers (1/2 and 3/4 pints available)
Wine’s and Spirits/Cocktails?: Wines, Spirits and Cocktails available
Owners: Braden and Katherine Saunders
Bar Manager: Braden Saunders
Head Chef: Andrew Birse
The Good Stuff
Bitter Suite has a great line-up of sessionable beers, with the likes of Stone and Woods Pacific Ale, Murrays Angry Man, and Fortitude Brewings Standard providing an easy drinking experience. They’ll tap some heavier styles on the 8 they have, such as the Bridge Road Aurora Borealis, but the majority is meant to accommodate more of the after work crowds palate. These taps rotate frequently, so it’s best to check what’s on via their website before heading in. Their bottle range holds more variety, carrying top breweries from Australia and overseas, including a nice selection of ciders.
The food at Bitter Suite is actually the ace up it’s sleeve. You may come for the beer, but you’ll stay for the dining. Head Chef Andrew Birse puts on an amazing lunch and dinner menu that focuses on using locally grown ingredients, and having everything made from scratch. “We prepare almost everything on the menu from first principles and from local producers where possible.” says owner Braden Saunders ” Even the tomato sauce is made in house!” The menu itself changes every few months to match the season, but you will always be able to find a good sit down meal (with a few organic dishes and gluten-free options for those of you who are intolerant) or even just some nibblies to go around the table as you enjoy a fresh, cold pint.
The best way to describe the atmosphere at Bitter Suite is ‘Classic old English Pub’ meets ‘Cozy bed and breakfast’. You get a sense of comfort when you walk into the building. Even if it’s your first time walking in, you get the feeling you’ve been coming there your whole life. The seating outside offers the same vibe, with comfortable couches and large tables. You could easily come down with a few mates, sit down, and get lost in conversation.
The staff are a wonderful, knowledgeable bunch; very friendly and willing to strike up a conversation. I had the pleasure of having a good chat with Nathan, one of the managers. His passion for the ‘fresh’ scene in Brisbane was quite inspiring. You can tell that the Bitter Suite crew really love Brisbane and what it has to offer, and that makes for a memorable visit to the bar.
The Inside Scoop (from Co-owner Braden Saunders)
Who is the typical punter that comes into Bitter Suite?
Typically aged between 20-50yo though we are proud of the fact that we get everyone from family and kids and 18yos right through to retirees. There is no gender bias and many females enjoy a day or night out at Bitter Suite. We generally get alot of larger groups enjoying a birthday or other special night out
How do you select the beers on tap and what goes into the selection process?
Braden is the primary selector behind the beers. We have no anti-mainstream bias at Bitter Suite and instead take the approach of supplying quality beer at value. To do this we have established excellent relationships with some reputable microbreweries across Australia. We take a seasonal approach to tap beers but generally have a good spread of each style at any one time. We will not overpay for beer because we don’t believe our patrons need to either and therefore we often avoid expensive imports and some domestic beers preferring to source comparable products locally at better prices. Beer is a social experience. We occasionally put on more expensive beers but the decision would be because the style or quality of the beer matched the price point and we believed strongly that customers would purchase it. We like to move stock not hold it is the key to our beer decisions.
What makes Bitter Suite unique from other beer venues?
Bitter Suite is Brisbane’s first local. It prides itself on being good at everything but offers patrons a niche in that it serves one of the best and well priced ranges of craft beers in the country. It is a full service venue offering high standards in service, food, beer, wine, cocktails, spirits and general ambience. It is all about the little things that make the complete experience for us.
Any other interesting facts or stories about Bitter Suite?
Built between 1925-1928 as a vehicle assembly plant. During WWII the building was used by the armed forces to assemble jeeps and trailors. After the war it was used by Austral Motors to assemble Vanguards and used by Stradbroke Motors to fit Dodges during the 80’s and 90’s. The building has been used as a commercial kitchen and a film studio before becoming the present day Powerhouse Apartment Complex in 1998.
A big thank you to Braden Saunders for his time and help!
Want to see all the Lonely Pint entries? Check it out, right here!