Friday, 6 July 2012

Bar Stuff Episode 1 – The Platform Bar, Brisbane

Until just over 18 months ago, Platform Bar on Brisbane’s Ann Street was known for being one of Brisbane’s ‘places to be’ for craft beer. It can’t be - and I don’t think it ever was - deemed as a ‘boutique bar’. It does, however, pose as one of the most accessible inner-city venues pouring craft brews. On 8 taps no less.

There’s good food, wines, spirits and cocktails aplenty too.

Situated alongside the larger and possibly more well-known venue - Grand Central Hotel, 'The Platform' (as it is affectionately known) is quite easy to miss. Tip – don’t walk too fast along Ann Street past Central Station or you will stroll straight past! If supping VB or quaffing XXXX Gold is your pastime, or you don't mind the noisy hubbub of a sticky-floored pub then the main bar in the Grand Central Hotel is for you. If you’re keen to explore a beer of the craft variety then sneak next door and give the Platform Bar a go.

Upon entering, you’ll be welcomed with a smile by one of the friendly staff (Lauren and Lucas, you will remain nameless. Oooops! I lied). The atmosphere is very relaxed and you can choose to sit up at a tall table or chill-out on a lower, softer seat. After a few of my visits spanning the past 4 years or so with chaps from the office (mainly members of the BPA), I can personally recommend that it’s safer to go for a lower situated, softer seat. It’s not as far to fall to the floor when squiffy.

The taps rotate every so often and regularly include a limited edition or a single batch beer from the likes of Mad Brewers and Little Creatures.

You don’t have to settle for a tap beer. The fridges are always topped up with a huge selection of bottled beers – mainly from Australia and NZ. The stock usually mirrors the bottles that are available next door in the bottle shop on the other side the building – Grand Central Cellars.

Whilst respecting and understanding that the owners have contractual commitments to Lion Nathan and Fosters I have to say that I would spend more of my hard-earned cash in this place if the variety of beer on tap changed a bit more frequently. Sadly, I believe that it's the limited variety that has knocked these fine folk down the pecking order in the list of Brisbane's purveyors of fine beer.  

Now, I’m not hoity-toity enough to write about lighting, ambience, feng shui and the like but the décor and general feeling of the place works very well. Bizarrely, a not-very-well known fact is that the bar is situated right on the other side of the wall to Platform 1 of Brisbane’s Central train station. During my first ever visit to The Platform Bar, I wondered what the rumbling was. Thinking I should’ve been spending my lunch money on actual lunch to stop my stomach rumbling, it turned out that the minor tremors were in fact a train heading south to the Gold Coast. If you’re fortunate enough to be sitting towards the rear of the establishment, you’ll note that you’ll be sitting on the right side of a huge one-way mirror looking out across the station’s platforms – at the poor souls that don’t have a beer in their hand like you! Very quirky indeed and a nice touch.

If it’s a quick, CBD-based, lunchtime beer you’re after. I can recommend The Platform Bar. If you fancy a relaxed evening session with colleagues after work. I can recommend The Platform Bar. If you’re stuck for somewhere to hold a function (I organised a successful ‘Christmas drinks for clients’ in 2011), then I can certainly recommend The Platform Bar. If you want to drink VB or XXXX Gold and scream obscenities at your rowdy workmates give the place a miss.

The Platform Bar, 270 Ann Street, Brisbane Central Station, Brisbane, QLD 4000. Phone: 07 3220 2061

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