A city on the rise, this lush metropolis of around 2 million people offers urban sophistication, sultry rooftop bars, subtropical nature and jaw-dropping outdoor urban spaces to make use of the year-round warm climate.
Wondering where are all the queens in Queensland are? In Gay Brisbane of course!
Australia’s third-largest metropolitan area, Brisbane, is experiencing a coming-of-age with a booming restaurant, bar and cultural scene that gives travelers an alternative to the more mainstream Melbourne and Sydney.
Today in this modern version of Brisbane, you can enjoy voguish architecture, designer shopping, refreshing beaches, extraordinary arts events, wild nightlife, multi-cultural gastronomy, and some of Australia’s best cafés. Add to that without even considering the plethora of natural attractions nearby including old-world rainforests, blissful bushland, hidden waterfalls and a rugged coastline with picturesque beaches.
To sweeten the deal, we also found the local gay community of Brisbane to be surprisingly enthusiastic and well organized – especially in the arts and culture scene – with plenty of one-off club events, LGBT+ friendly hotspots, and steamy fun… if you know where to look.
Gay locals will tell you, being gay just feels normal here – as it should be – and in the gay-er neighborhoods of Fortitude Valley, New Farm, and Teneriffe especially, a same-sex couple holding hands on the street will not even warrant a second glance. Queer folk also seem to have been recently emboldened here by the passing of same-sex marriage bill after a vicious (and unnecessary) national debate and referendum and it was this air of optimism and inclusive vibes that we found positively affirming – tempting us to stay far longer than we had ever anticipated.
79.51% of Brisbane voted yes to legalising same-sex marriage in Australia, the highest rate for any city other than Sydney and Melbourne. While we would have loved 100% of people to have voted YES, it does give you an indication of just how gay-friendly Brisbane is.
It is also good to note that in Brisbane, like all of Australia, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression is strictly prohibited, and it is highly unlikely gay travelers will have issues exploring the wonders of Gay Brisbane. Everything and nothing like you might expect, Gay Brisbane is bold, incredibly varied, exceptionally beautiful – and waiting for you!
Gay Brisbane Guide: The Essential Guide To LGBT Travel In Brisbane Australia
In this article we will cover...
Attractions in Brisbane
Obviously being gay does not define which attraction most of us will want to see in each city and most queer travelers will simply want to check out the top things to see in Brisbane during the day! Brisbane is a very safe city, and gay travelers in Brisbane do not need to take any extra precautions regarding public displays of affection in this very tolerant and progressive city.
If you are at a loss for things to do in Gay Brisbane or can’t decide – we recommend hiring a car and heading to one of the beautiful beaches during the day, or the seemingly endless supply of trendy coffee-shops and fabulous dining. Or you explore the wilder lures of Queensland. You can choose if we mean the wild rainforest and coastline or the hedonistic nightlife of Brisbane here…
Highlights Of Gay Brisbane
- Bushrangers Basketball – A queer basketball team seeking to generate interest in all players in the LGBTIQA+ community (and allies) who are disengaged in sporting activity or looking for a safe space to play basketball. For a fun way to socialize and engage with members of our own community – without the aid of alcohol – why not consider joining? They also have a partner club in Auckland and Melbourne and have since expanded to become the Queer Sporting Alliance (QSA), Australia and NZ’s largest LGBTIQA+ sporting club.
- ITD Events – Otherwise known as In The Dark Presents is New Zealand and Australia’s leading LGBT event producers. Originally from Adelaide and now operating in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Auckland, and more, they are responsible for bringing sickening drag race artists and other performers to town for one-off events that are not to be missed! Check their website for upcoming events.
- Brisbears – A social club promoting the brotherhood of gay men who openly challenge the stereotypical image of the male ideal, men who are uninterested in society’s perception of gay men as hyper-thin, hairless, fashion victims, who instead celebrate the fact that they are sometimes large, less than perfect, and sometimes hairy all over. Bears share a broad and rich connection with their bodies, with nature and with spirit. Brisbears started in 1993 and currently holds around 200 members from all over Queensland, Australia, and the rest of the world. Their members come from all walks of life, and it is their compassionate, relaxed and non-judgemental attitude towards one another that represents the true hallmark of the bear community. Each month they gather together for friendly times, and to celebrate our common interests within the Sportsman Hotel on the 3rd Saturday of each month. So come on in, say woof to the boys, and give them a great, big, bear hug. They also host one-off events including Bear Go Wet n Wild and UnderBear parties, listed on their Facebook page.
Other Top Things To Do In Brisbane
- Biking Brisbane – Take a bike tour through Brisbane to see some of the city’s top sights and destinations, from South Bank Parklands to the City Botanic Gardens. Enjoy the cooling breeze on your face as you cruise down bike paths that run near the Brisbane River, and explore the history and culture of the city. With many of the city’s best eateries, shops, and bars all begging you to stop, why not make a whole day of it!
- Brisbane Distillers – Gin is all the rage currently, and true devotees will want to make the pilgrimage to this city’s first grain to glass artisan distillery top of their list of things to do in Brisbane. Located in the West End, the Brisbane Distillers is crafting new and compelling gins, rums and botanical vodkas, which can be bought by the bottle of sampled through their inspired cocktail list in the very chic 23-metre long bar. However, that is not all – the Brisbane Distillery offers one of the world’s first gin school experiences in a two-hour class where you get the chance to become a Master Distiller. Not only do you get to let your creative side run wild as you choose from over 120 botanicals to design and instil your one of a kind unique bottle of gin, but you will also learn first-hand about the history of gin, how to flavour it, and the Grain to Glass process.
- Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – Visit the world’s largest koala sanctuary, which is located an easy 20-minute drive from downtown Brisbane. Home to more than 130 koalas as well as more than 100 other animal species, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary offers multiple ways to learn about native Australian wildlife. Enjoy experiences such as watching koalas and hand-feeding kangaroos and wild lorikeets under staff supervision. See platypus, sheepdogs, and birds of prey in action.
- Stradbroke Island Day Trip – Leave busy Brisbane for a full-day tour that showcases the natural beauty of North Stradbroke Island. Swim in the surf or freshwater lakes, take a short guided hike, view whales and other marine animals from the beach and coastal lookouts, visit small towns including historic Dunwich and Amity, and go in search of the island’s population of wild kangaroos and koalas.
- Brisbane Food Tour: A Taste of Queensland – From coffee to a seasonal lunch, this food tour will introduce you to some of the best food and beverages in Brisbane. It includes visits to four unique Brisbane venues, on a small-group tour (maximum eight participants). Your knowledgeable guide will tell you all about the food you’re eating, plus the Brisbane food scene, so you get much more than just the food on your plate. We are a huge, huge fan of food tours around the world and think they are a perfect way to discover a new destination, and much more fun than merely stopping by while sight-seeing.
- Eat Street Northshore – A complete sensory overload with neon lights, live music acts, delicious smells and a wide variety of street food from around the world. A magical fairyland world of street food set in converted shipping containers on a disused wharf, Eat Street Northshore is a must for lovers of good food & entertainment taking place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
- Mount Tamborine Winery Tour – Discover the boutique wineries of Mt Tamborine on a full-day trip from Brisbane. Stop at some of Queensland’s best local wineries for tastings of award-winning wines and a gourmet 2-course winery lunch. If your schedule allows, stop to sample locally made liqueurs, spirits, cheese, and fudge. It might not be as great as the wine regions near Perth, Adelaide or Melbourne – but hey, we would never turn down an opportunity to drink the day away…
- Brisbane Story Bridge Adventure Climb – Take your adventurous spirit to new heights on a 2-hour Brisbane Story Bridge Adventure day or night climb. After a safety briefing, you’ll follow an experienced climbing guide from the central platform to the summit, then cross the width of the Story Bridge. Hear audio commentary about Brisbane’s surroundings and enjoy panoramic views of the Brisbane River, Moreton Bay, the Glass House Mountains, distant Mt Coot-tha, and Lamington National Park.
- Whale Watching – Experience the thrill of an up-close encounter with migrating whales on this 5-hour cruise from Brisbane, available only between June and November. Set sail around Moreton Bay on a luxurious high-speed catamaran and tuck into a delicious buffet lunch onboard as you soak up the scenery. Finally, keep your camera to hand as you spot humpback whales swimming and breaching beside the ship – a rare opportunity to spot the gentle giants in their natural environment.
- Hellenika – Fancy sipping on spritzes and partaking in saganaki in a sophisticated alfresco space? Now you don’t have to jet-set to the Greek Islands; you can simply make a reservation at the oh-so-trendy Restaurant Hellenika, set within Brisbane’s The Calile Hotel urban resort. Entrees and small plates of kalamata olive-topped taramasalata, grilled saganaki, or the famous Hellenika zucchini chips with kefalograviera will undoubtedly get you feeling like you’re living your best Euro-holiday life. More extensive share options include juicy grilled Junee lamb cutlets, eggplant moussaka, chicken souvlakia and grilled octopus. The 500-plus bottle wine list is as bias towards the Greek drops as you would expect – though the poolside vibes are likely to have you wanting to dine cocktail in hand.
- 2-Day Fraser Island 4WD Tour – Discover the natural beauty of Fraser Island on a 2-day guided tour — an ideal getaway for nature lovers. Stop at the stunning beach in Cooloola Recreation Area on the way, then enjoy offroading on Seventy-Five Mile Beach to the Maheno shipwreck when you arrive at Fraser Island. Your knowledgeable guide shows you all the highlights, including swimming spots at Lake Birrabeen, Seventy-Five Mile Beach and Eli Creek, and lush rainforest walks at Pile Valley, Central Station, and Wanggoolba Creek. Includes one night at a comfortable beach resort.
- Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery Of Modern Art – Lovers of arts and culture will want to have the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) top of their list of things to do in Brisbane. Not only is it the largest museum of art in Australia, but it is also one of the preeminent institutions in the Asia-Pacific, contributing a range of compelling modern and traditional art experiences that will move and astonish you. Allow at least a half-day to explore them both, and be sure to fuel up at the divine QAG Cafe before, after or during. It is a rather contemplative space with a glorious mural inside and a shaded Sculpture Courtyard outside where you can experience the animated water feature and elegant bronzes from the collection.
- QUT Art Museum – A hidden gem of Brisbane that many locals don’t seem to know, the QUT Art Museum is located on the edge of the City Botanical Garden and is an intimate university gallery showcasing rotating internally curated exhibitions, commissioned projects and touring exhibitions of modern and contemporary works by Australian artists. Always thought-provoking, entry is typically free and visiting only takes around an hour. If you make it here, you should combine it with a visit to their sister gallery nearby in the stately Old Government House dedicated to the works of Australia’s pre-eminent landscape artist, William Robinson.
Gay Popular Annual Events in Brisbane
- Big Gay Day – One of Australia’s most treasured and welcoming queers festivals held annually in March. For one day, the inner-city street outside the Wickham Hotel is closed for an epic street festival of carnival acts, exclusive performances, booths, fun, and 50,000+ rainbow people. There is also a mega-main stage with local, national and international acts that draw large crowds – so if you have specific artists or acts you want to watch, arrive early or risk being stuck at the back. Involving main charities and local community partners, this fully-inclusive day in the sun is exactly the kind of queer event we think the world needs more of! There is actually another Big Gay Out in Auckland, but as far as we can tell there is no relation…
- Brisbane Queer Film Festival – A highlight of the Brisbane queer community calendar. Since becoming independent in 2017, the festival returns annually to present, indulge and empower LGBTIQA and gender diverse film, filmmakers and screen content. Held at the New Farm Cinema, Brisbane’s premier location for all things cinema, from festivals, independent, cult and non-mainstream work to blockbuster cinema. There is no better place to create this connection for the Brisbane queer community than New Farm Cinema who has a special history to queer culture with the original site, The Village Twin, cited as a gay beat in 70s/80s Brisbane. A more high-brow alternative to the traditional gay party scene, for those who prefer who value reflection, representation, and the queer film experience.
- Glamatron NYE Festival – An annual festival on New Year’s Eve organized by the Tropical Fruits LGBTIQ community group with an opening street parade and soiree, party and fireworks, art exhibition, café, pool party, recovery party and more! Held in Lismore, one of the gayest towns in Australia, around 2 hours drive south of Brisbane.
- Melt: Festival Of Queer Arts And Culture – Presented by the Brisbane Powerhouse annually in June, Melt is an invitation to celebrate Brisbane’s wonderfully diverse queer communities. Brisbane’s LGBTIQ+ voice is loud and clear, bursting with pride, humor, humanity, and rebellion. The community is bounding towards equality in many vital aspects of life and MELT is a vehicle for these leaps. The invitation is extended to citizens of all genders, sexual orientations, ages, ethnicities, abilities and artistic interests. The celebration is one of love is love through a offering of burlesque, circus, music, theatre, comedy and more! Each year the line-up changed but the two week festival has an insanely diverse roster of events explicitly curated to surprise and delight all corners of the queer community – and a concept which we we wish more cities would embrace!
- Fruitopia Fairday – Another major annual event in August held by the Tropical Fruits LGBTIQ community group in Lismore. Fruitopia Fairday is a family fun day that sees everyone gather their families, friends, pooches and picnic rugs for an outdoor extravaganza. With dog shows, kids games, great food, stalls galore, live music and a cake bake-off, Fruitopia welcomes spring with gay abandon at the Lismore Showground.
- Brisbane Pride Festival – An annual celebration of love, diversity, and inclusion, the Brisbane Pride Festival is a community event for all LGBTIQ+ persons and their allies. Brisbane Pride’s mission is to encourage the cultural expression, celebration and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and all people of diverse sexuality and gender living in Queensland – and this event is the perfect way to come out, celebrate queerness and support a good cause. Australia’s third-largest LGBTIQA+ event, attracting more than 10,000 festival-goers over a four week period in the month of September each year, there is plenty of club nights and fun quirky events to go along to including fairs, dog shows, talks, cinema, shows and more. Check out their Facebook event page for more info, and look out for the other events and committee meetings held regularly throughout the year if you want to be involved more.
Gay-friendly and Gay Hotels in Brisbane
As a world leader in LGBT tourism, pretty much every hotel and hostel in Brisbane can be considered gay-friendly – after all being gay-friendly is not all about upscale luxury, but about providing friendly and open service and welcoming everyone with open arms!
Having said that, everyone likes to be surrounded by people with common interests, and as such there a few well-known hotels in Brisbane that are known hot spots for gay travelers to stay.
The best locations for queer travelers to stay is either the CBD or close to the Fortitude Valley nightlife area, home to the defacto Brisbane gay scene by night. The following gay-friendly and gay hotels in Brisbane are only the most popular with gay travelers but there are hundreds of other hotels in Brisbane if you don’t find quite what you are looking for.
To be clear, however, there are no exclusively gay hotels in Brisbane like you might find in Key West, Fort Lauderdale, Puerto Vallarta or Palm Springs. Still, whether you want a fun and social hostel, a cheap place to crash after a night of partying, or a chic designer option to sip cocktails and surround yourself with fabulous people – Gay Brisbane has it all!
- Spicers Balfour Hotel ☆☆☆☆☆ – If you are looking for somewhere self-indulgent, different and iconically Queensland to stay during your Brisbane travels, the Spicers Balfour Hotel provides just the answer. Sublimely positioned on the edge of Brisbane’s infamous Fortitude Valley and posh New Farm with the CBD and Howard Smith Wharves easily accessible, this boutique accommodation offers luxuriously unique rooms and suites and a welcoming sanctuary to weary travellers. Settled between a stately 1940’s art deco style Simla building and a restored iconic ‘Queenslander’ house, the Spicers Balfour Hotel has surprisingly affordable rooms, amazingly friendly staff and all the small design features you would expect of boutique accommodation. Think antique designer furniture, Bose sound systems, Nespresso machine and fabulous rain shower. Even if you are not on the hunt for accommodation in Brisbane, the fairy-lit courtyard or breezy veranda of award-winning Balfour Kitchen should be on your list for Vietnamese inspired, locally sourced dining. For guests and non-guests, the upstairs bar is a must-visit with a picture-perfect view of the Story Bridge and bougainvillaea’s and inspired cocktails like the avant-garde Negroni Shiro (Classic Brookies gin, Suze, Gekkeikan Sake and orange bitters) or the jolly Lychee & Pineapple Martini. Only a 10-minute walk to the infamous Fluffy Sunday night club event, the Spicers Balfour Hotel is exceptionally queer-friendly and our top pick for hotels in Brisbane.
- Hyatt Regency Brisbane ☆☆☆☆☆ – An ideal place to stay in the heart of Brisbane, the Hyatt Regency Brisbane offers a premium retreat adjacent to the Queen Street Mall with 292 guestrooms, a relaxed cafe, plus a gorgeous rooftop infinity pool with a terrace bar and lounge overlooking the facades of historic buildings. If you love the idea of just nipping back to your room for a mid-afternoon siesta or a refreshing dip in the pool, the Hyatt Regency Brisbane provides a superb solution. It simply could not be any more central. At night, the infinity pool is lit up, allowing you to enjoy Brisbane’s perfect year-round weather with a classic cocktail and intimate views. The queer nightlife of Brisbane is only one stop away on the train (or a 20-minute walk), and just across the river, you have the magnificent South Bank cultural precinct and all its world-class museums. No matter what draws you to Brisbane, the Hyatt Regency Brisbane offers an exceptional space and location to stay.
- Sportsman Hotel ☆☆– The only real gay hotel in Brisbane, but honestly we don’t really recommend staying here unless you plan on drinking a lot in the bars downstairs… and then taking guys back up to your room. Still, it’s very affordable and a gay-owned establishment – plus you literally couldn’t get any closer to the Brisbane gay scene!
- Bunk Brisbane ☆☆ – A luxury hostel concept with a fun swimming pool, central Brisbane location, and affordable rates. Bunk Brisbane has a huge range of rooms with privates and different dorms, all including free breakfast. If you are traveling solo, want to make new friends or are on a bit of budget, this is our ideal option since there are no gay hostels in Brisbane.
Brisbane Nightlife Scene
For a city of its size which isn’t particularly well-known internationally, Brisbane has some unexpectedly good options for nightlife that promise plenty of fun and something for everyone. The Brisbane nightlife scene is surprisingly vivacious, open and welcoming to anybody who just wants to have a good time – with a range of mixed venues, LGBT events and one of the best gay dance clubs in the world.
Contrary to what the rest of Australia, and the world, might believe – Brisbane is anything but boring. In fact, the cocktail bars and clubs here are truly some of the most inventive, energetic and fun we have ever experienced – plus there is a steady stream of theme nights, drag performances, leather and fetish events and more to keep you on your toes.
Most venues are located in the CBD area and Fortitude Valley, which is filled with bustling restaurants and nightclubs – but a few are more far-flung in the inner and outer suburbs which could be fun to explore if you have more than a few nights in town.
One thing we also loved about the Brisbane club scene is it has plenty of fabulous cocktail and food options as well as unforgettable, high-end venues. Sure, they don’t come cheap, but while maxing out your credit card you can expect to sip fantastic mojitos and martinis in charming courtyards or panoramic rooftop’s overlooking this modern city. Seriously though, prices here are some of the most expensive we have ever come across and are up there with Dubai, Copenhagen, Luxembourg, and Oslo.
There are a lot of other things to love in Gay Brisbane, but trust us when we say a trip to Brisbane would not be complete without sampling the city’s pulsing gay party scene…
Gay Nightlife in Brisbane
- The Beat MegaClub – Brisbane’s biggest and best gay nightclub open since 1983, with five club rooms, seven bars and six beer gardens here is something here for everyone! Open 365 days a year at this Queer As F*ck hotspot, you can party every night of the year with live entertainment every night, performances by drag queens and DJ’s all night long. “Brilliant! Exquisite! Feels like home!”, this is truly one of our favorite gay clubs around the world and an absolutely unmissable highlight of the Gay Brisbane scene with affordable drinks, funky décor and an always ready-to-party vibe right in the heart of the famous Fortitude Valley. Let’s get sickening y’all!
- The Wickham – Once a hallmark of the local gay scene, this heritage-listed hotel bar was renovated extensively in 2014 and rebranded to attract a wider range of clientele. Still, where there is stylish décor and a trendy atmosphere, the gays will flock and so today the Wickham still continues to be very LGBT popular, providing a place where people of all identities can meet, drink, party, and eat. A modern, inner-city pub in Fortitude Valley that is truly reflective of the community in which it’s found and is focussed on great eats from local suppliers, homegrown live entertainment and skilled mixologist cocktails. Check their events page for upcoming events aimed at the local queer community – or just head along any night of the week for good friends, good drinks, good food and good times!
- GRUNT @ AMPED Nightclub – The gay dance party event in Brisbane everyone is talking about held only a few times per year. A night that is sure to have your arms in the air, groaning on the dancefloor, brought to you by a dedicated trio of promoters behind such previous gay events as RIGID, Filthy, Babylon, Studs n Suds, Rabbit Hole and the original White Wolf. Grunt is an attitude free, fun-fuelled, down and dirty dance experience for men! Lighting shows and mind-bending performances will take you on a journey riding into the night and beyond as you are entranced and quickly leave reality behind. In this unique social 200 square meters all-male space, playing with some of Australia’s best DJ talent, you can enjoy a sensory exploding atmosphere for men only that will leave your legs buckling and your brain screaming for more.
- The Sportsman Hotel – One of the best gay meeting places in Brisbane, this bar, bistro, and hotel has been affectionately known to regular patrons as “Sporties” for over 30 years and is still just as fabulous as ever! Gay owned and operated, pop in to enjoy the club bar 7 days a week or the Nellies bunker bar on the pumping weekends. There is also a more relaxed restaurant open nightly and on-site basic accommodation if you want to stay gay. With social, camp events most nights of the week including drag dinner shows, trivia nights, dance parties, karaoke and more there is always a reason to try the Sportsmans Hotel!
- The Boot Co. Brisbane – A members-only Brisbane gay group providing a forum for men interested in collecting, wearing, or displaying uniforms, leather and denim or participating in kink activities. Hosting a monthly pub night on the first Saturday of each month at Nellies Bar in the Sportsman Hotel with a social atmosphere and plenty of men in gear. There are also other events throughout the year including the Boot Co. Leather Festival, special events like Corium and kink-related workshops listed on their website.
- Fluffy @ EI8HT – A weekly camp-pop gay dance party held on Sundays at Club EI8HT that we were absolutely living for! Expect lots of pink opulence, upbeat music and memorable performances by international DJs and drag acts. Wildly successful, check out their other upcoming events for drag brunches in Brisbane and one-off nights featuring the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Other Fabulous Hotspots In Brisbane
- The Laneway – One of Brisbane’s best kept secrets and hide away in an intimate setting with amazing food, great drinks, and perfect company. The Laneway has a big emphasis on being green and all herbs used in the cocktails come from their home-grown herb garden – plus, they also make own honey from a roof-top beehive. Buzzing with energy and boasting a sophisticated cocktail and crafty drinks menu, not to mention it’s gourmet bar food, its one of our favorite go-to spots for conversations or to begin a night strong…
- Betty’s Espresso & Bar – A wonderful spot in the West End of South Brisbane known as a chill hotspot for the LGBT+ to gather in the evening. Everyone is welcome, however, and even if you don’t bump into anyone – you should still experience what is the epitome of the Westend bar scene. Pink walls, grandma furniture, and an ‘everyone is welcome here’ vibe makes Betty’s the perfect spot for a social night.
- Laruche – An award-winning bar and club located in the heart of the Fortitude Valley widely renowned for its impeccable service, bespoke cocktails, and eclectic décor. Being first and foremost a cocktail bar, the bartenders love getting creative with the shaker behind the bar, but we also loved dancing the night away here to guests DJs amidst psychedelic design and quirky chandeliers. Can get a little crowded, but there is a big outdoor back area to retreat too, and on Sunday’s cheap drinks and a little more space to get your moves on!
- The Bowery – Taking its name from the New York street where dimly lit dive bars are a dime a dozen, The Bowery channels the warm and eclectic style of its namesake with classic cocktails, cool décor, and buzzes with crowds sipping drinks and dancing to a funky mix of music including live soul bands and mash-up DJs.
- Mr & Mrs. G – Eagle Street Pier’s finest cocktail and tapas bar with fabulous service, a celebrated wine list, gorgeous cocktails, inspired menu and an inviting riverside setting at the heart of Brisbane’s CBD. Come meet, mix and mingle with stunning views and comfortable surroundings.
- Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess – A plantation-style cocktail bar, restaurant & function venue inspired by the invention of the gin & tonic in the late 19th century. Set over two stories, DC’s lower level is kitted out with vintage campaign furniture, hessian curtains, and authentic safari touches. Here, the main bar offers an innovative cocktail menu and boasts an impressive 250+ strong spirit collection, including over 130 gins, craft beer on tap, wine & champagne. On busier nights, why not head upstairs to the quieter mezzanine level, complete with its own dedicated bar. A spot where formality during the day gave way to carefree partying and socializing at night.
- Platform Bar – A recently renovated after-work haunt which pays tribute to its name – due to the window that runs along the back wall that looks directly onto the trains pulling into Platform #1 in Central Station. Great daily drink and meal deals, games night, live music and a funky BYO special from the cellars next door, what’s not to love!
- Maker – Tucked away at the end of Fish Lane, step into the small bar with big flavors. Younger sibling to ‘round-the-corner Gauge’, Maker’s eclectic style focuses on unique, seasonal cocktails – handmade with flair and served with goodies from the charcuterie cabinet. Go ahead: Maker your day.
- Pool Terrace and Bar @ Hyatt Regency Brisbane – This hidden gem with a fully-stocked bar and luxe 20m infinity-edge pool overlooking the historic facades of Queen Street is a great option for an afternoon wind-down or to start a night out in style before heading to the Valley. Take a seat in the main bar area, find a cozy hideout or soak up the last rays of sun from the pool deck with delicious Asian-inspired light bites. Unwind with your favourite cocktail and enjoy Brisbane’s perfect year-round weather with queer-friendly vibes. Don’t forget your swimwear if you are the type who loves to take dripping-wet Insta-shots getting out of a opulent pool…
- The Flying Cock – One of Fortitude Valley’s most beloved watering holes and widely-known as one of Brisbane’s best nights out, the Flying Cock champions live music and slings quality drinks until 3 am every Friday & Saturday night. Despite the name, this is not a gay bar – but a great place to dance the night away with industrial-chic vibes, upbeat performances, and creative cocktails.
- Eleven Rooftop – Perched eleven stories high above Brisbane’s nightlife hub on Ann Street, Eleven Rooftop Bar boasts impressive 270-degree views of Fortitude Valley, the CBD, and surrounding suburbs. Inspired by the rooftop bars of Istanbul and the relaxed yet upscale party vibe of Bali’s famous Potato Head and Blue Marlin Bar in Ibiza, this lavish space is an ideal way to forget about the hustle and bustle of the everyday grind. Offering a simple and comfortable approach to food and drinks, relaxed and laid back by day, Eleven Rooftop transitions then to a cultured dinner and party vibe by night, complete with the best view in Brisbane! Very gay-popular, and an absolute must visit if you prefer a taste of the finer things in life, and can swallow the price tag to match!
Sex On Premises Venue and Gay Saunas in Brisbane
Even though Brisbane is a fabulously fun vacation destination there is now only two gay sex venues here after the closure of Bodyline Spa & Sauna, so you won’t get the range of options we came to know and love in Sydney and Melbourne. Gay sauna culture is not very prevalent here and in no way as popular or as high-quality as you might find in international destinations such as Bangkok, Barcelona, London, and Paris. Local gays here prefer to use hook-up apps or meet in bars and clubs – a sign of the times we guess – but if you chose to pay in the gay sex venues, please remember no always means no. Always play with consent and never interrupt other people playing. Play safe and keep it fun!
In Australia, cruising spots are known as gay beats, parodies the beat walked by a police officer or a prostitute. The gay beats in Brisbane frequently change but are no longer very popular (but are still somewhat dangerous). We do not recommend seeking them out, but we did enjoy our time in the last remaining gay Brisbane sauna and would happily recommend it to anyone!
- Wet Spa & Sauna – Brisbane’s only gay men’s spa and sauna. Come down and relax in comfort with like-minded men from across Brisbane, Australia and the world. Located in Bowen Hills for over 15 years and just a short stroll away from the gay clubs. Inside is fully air-conditioned for shelter from the outside elements and relatively clean – if not a little aging and run down. Housing the only gay swimming pool in Brisbane, Wet is not only just a place to get off but a place where you can come unwind and spend an evening in the fully tiled steam room, cedar sauna or ozone spa. There is also a private video lounge, sling room, maze area, glory holes, and private rooms, each with an ample supply of lube, condoms and hand towels. Upstairs come and chill out in the lounge area, with cafe, free high-speed internet access, or just watch TV on the big screen projector. In the changing room, lockers & towels are provided. Wet is renowned for its busy Sunday sessions, though towel free Tuesday’s are popular as is Buddy Fridays. Visit on weekdays around 12 to 2 pm or again later after 4 pm if you want to go when Wet is most popular, though they are open 7 days a week from 11 am to between 10 pm and 2 am depending on the night.
- Club 29 – Brisbane’s only gay cruise club open every day from midday until the early am. Never been to a sex on premises venue? Just wanting to know what Brisbane has to offer men who have sex with men? “29” is a specially designed space for men who enjoy sex with men, it was designed and operates as part sex on premises venue, part chill out lounge and part event space. 29 is a non-judgmental environment where any guys come to cruise other guys. It is a safe sex venue committed to the educated celebration of male to male sexuality with a range of events and play spaces. Attracting a diverse range of guys with differing tastes and desires – but with over 2,500 guys coming through the doors each month it’s pretty hard not to find a match…
- Hellfire Club – Brisbane’s premier fetish club hosting kinky fetish events catering to a colorful crowd of fetishists, trans people, drag queens, sexual deviants, perverts and hedonists on a monthly basis for the last 23 years. An opportunity to dress to excess whilst in the pursuit of depraved pleasure, all manner of kink, sexy antics, debauched & decadence behavior are welcome but remember: consent is key. Catering to all sexualities with playful subversion, lustful submission, dominance from both mistresses and masters, kink and rubber ravers, check their website for event themes, tickets and details – though it is generally held at the Sportsman Hotel.