South City Square Is Quickly Becoming Brisbane’s Coolest Hospitality Precinct
— 31 October 2022

South City Square Is Quickly Becoming Brisbane’s Coolest Hospitality Precinct

— 31 October 2022
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

Brisbane may fall short of Sydney and Melbourne when it comes to the city’s hospitality scene, but that’s been rapidly changing for a few years now thanks to precincts like Howard Smith Wharves and popular contemporary hotels like The Calile, Hotel X and Crystalbrook Vincent. The latest development in this regard is a new precinct called South City Square, building steadily around what has been one of Brisbane’s most popular new restaurants, Sasso Italiano, and giving way to what may turn out to be – a crude comparison, I know – the ivy precinct of Brisbane.

I say that simply because The Talisman Group, the team behind Sasso Italiano, is the only other hospitality venture I can think of that’s spearheading an entire food and drink precinct. Much like Merivale’s ivy precinct in Sydney, The Talisman Group is opening up various restaurants and bars packed tightly into this district now known as South City Square – a development framed by luxury apartments, a soon-to-be-opened cinema complex and a reasonably large Woolworths.

A self-contained hotbed of fashionable hospitality concepts, South City Square should give Brisbane the push it has needed for years to step up to the level of its east coast capital cousins. Given Sydney’s obsession with precincts like Darling Square and Barangaroo, it should also be a chance for Brisbane’s newest hospitality group to showcase the city beyond its well-noted spread of top-quality breweries and brewhouses.

South City Wine is the newest wine bar in Brisbane.

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Speaking of brewhouses, there’ll be one of those too. The Talisman Group has hooked up with family-owned Aether Brewing to open a brewpub sometime next year. Another beer house in Brisbane is so common that it doesn’t really count as news anymore, but from what I’ve seen personally the renders are looking mighty impressive, and there’ll even be a cocktail lounge included in the development. Plus, Aether Brewing is one of the city’s most reliable independent breweries.

In terms of what’s already at South City Square. You’ve got Sasso Italiano, which I’d say is one of the best restaurants in Brisbane right now with notable pasta, pizza and antipasti plus one of the better negronis I’ve had all year. A separate bar area to the main dining room has also just opened, playing heavily on those speakeasy vibes but offering something a bit more airy and sophisticated.

Next door is Casa Chow, an imaginative Chifa – Chinese and Peruvian – restaurant with a bit of a futuristic aesthetic that wouldn’t look out of place in a sci-fi film. If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on this late-night venue being the biggest attraction of the precinct so far, with a small front courtyard ideal for downing classic cocktails and chasing them with South American-inspired cakes.

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Deeper into South City Square is South City Wine, a European-style wine bar opening onto the street with a very casual, charming interior of oil paintings, dark timber and emerald green marble table tops. Matthew Dunne and Jared Thibault have written an impressive drinks list full of natural wines, fine Champagne and traditional French cocktails alongside

Then you’ve got Purple Palm, a California-styled open-air lounge opened in collaboration with 78 Degrees Distillery with a 10-foot wall of gin and cocktails on tap.

South City Square feels like a big deal for Brisbane. I was there last week for a quick preview of what’s going down at Brisbane’s newest precinct and it immediately felt like something the city has needed for many years now. With just one hospitality group driving the precinct, as opposed to numerous like Howard Smith Wharves – which I love – it’ll be interesting to see how this spot, just a stone’s throw from The Gabba, evolves over the next few years.

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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