Finding the right venue for your intimate social or corporate event can be such a chore! A great venue can be a real crowd-pleaser and the difference between a drab or fab party, so, if you are looking for the ultimate small group celebration spot, I have taken the hard work away and have a few for you to consider:
Intimate waterfront dining
Brisbane is blessed with a lot of water, courtesy of our beautiful bay and majestic river which winds its way from east to west, creating many waterfront dining opportunities. One of my favourites is Malt Pier, the ultimate sunny, casual waterfront diner at Newstead. Open for breakfast or lunch Tuesday to Sunday, its innovative menu; friendly staff; and modern, breezy decor make it the perfect place for an informal family get-together; a staff celebration; client entertaining; or to commemorate a special occasion. The internal space can fit two long tables for a maximum of 24 guests, if a semi-private event is appropriate, or you can use the entire restaurant for just over 30 guests. Enticing dishes such as spicy Chorizo Pepperonata with Grilled Sourdough; succulent Braised Beef Cheeks with Creamy Mash, vegetables and Malt Sauce and the dreamy Malt Brownie flavoured with Salted Caramel, Chocolate Textures and Peanut Brittle, will have you well satiated and coming back for more! Combined with some interesting paired wines and beers, your event will go off without a hitch!
Inner-city private and semi-private restaurant and hotel spaces
Ease of access, iconic locations and great food are essential elements for a successful event, and there are a few “newbies” in town which fit the bill perfectly. If you haven’t been to the Next Hotel in Brisbane’s Queen St Mall, then you need to check out the modern makeover of this former Lennons icon. For those of us who grew up in Brisbane in the 1970s, we have fond memories of Lennons, which at that time was the poshest place in town, with an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet and trendy nightclub. Now transformed into a concept hotel as part of the Singapore-based SilverNeedle Hospitality Group (the only other Next Hotel being in Colombo), with airy, sophisticated dining spaces, encompassing multiple options for private and semi-private dining inside or out, it really is a breath of fresh air. The inviting pool terrace and bar overlooks the heritage facades of Queen St and provide the ultimate day-time or evening party option, whilst indoors, several private or semi-private spaces are an option for dining, cocktail parties, board meetings or casual get-togethers. All food types have been covered with a wood-fired oven, Brazilian parrilla grill, Asian wok and more classic dishes emerging from the open kitchen. The hotel itself is also winning fans, with its innovative guest services such as sleeping pods, guest lounge, and free movies, wifi and some mini-bar items, so after the party, an overnight stay may be just the ticket!
A little out of the CBD, in Paddington, Gambaro is another icon which just keeps getting better. Infamous for its seafood restaurant serving crabs, lobsters, oysters and world-famous platters since 1953, it has now added a sophisticated boutique hotel, and a steak restaurant, Black Hide Steakhouse, which is causing a sensation around town. Having won many awards, it is the only restaurant in Queensland providing an exclusive selection of world-class steaks from Stanbroke Beef, Australia’s most esteemed beef breeder & producer. Multiple private and semi-private dining options abound at both Gambaro Seafood Restaurant and Black Hide Steakhouse, the latter even boasting a “knife room” housing VIP guests’ personally-engraved cutlery, including exclusive steak knife – now that’s special! The hotel also has numerous function spaces for larger groups, all given the quintessential Queensland touch, opening onto timber decks enabling guests to soak up the buzz of the Caxton Street precinct and nearby Suncorp Stadium. The option to stay overnight is also a plus and the 68 boutique rooms, many with balconies, and one and two-bedroom suites, will definitely help you to decide to take the plunge.
It has taken a while for Brisbane to embrace its rooftops, which seems a bit of a mystery, given the amazing weather for most of the year. Luckily there are now a multitude of options. Perhaps a less obvious choice is the pool terrace at the Emporium Hotel, in Fortitude Valley. An intimate space, it allows for a very exclusive party for your special guests. The hotel has a number of other exclusive and intimate function options, such as the classy cocktail bar on the ground floor, with its jaw-dropping chandelier, or the French-inspired patisserie next door, which offers a cosy, European vibe. The conference centre can also cater from groups of 10 to 200. The rooms in the boutique hotel present a very tempting reason not to go home after the festivities, leaving you spoilt for choice as to where to enjoy breakfast the next morning, with the Emporium and James St precincts an easy stroll away.
Across the road, the newly opened Alex Perry Hotel and Apartments offers the ultimate in exclusivity, with its stunning rooftop entertainment area only available to in-house guests. But what better way to celebrate that special occasion, than encouraging your guests to spend the night and having the rooftop at your disposal for a BYO or catered BBQ or cocktail event, complete with comfy lounges, curtained eating area and lap pool? The rooms are akin to small apartments, complete with kitchens, laundries and lounges leading onto private balconies in some cases. And we are all waiting with bated breath for the ground-floor, independently-owned and operated restaurant to open soon!
With this latest round-up of event space offerings – you are spoilt for choice!
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