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On a recent weekend away in the Queensland capital, we hit up some of Brisbane’s best bars and restaurants before our heads hit the pillow at designer haven Spicers Balfour Hotel. Here are our tips for eating and drinking in Fortitude Valley, just a short hop from this hip urban bolthole.

Best bars in Brisbane: Spicers Balfour Hotel

If you’re staying at Spicers Balfour Hotel in New Farm, kick off your evening at the sleek rooftop bar (above). Indulge in champagne and on-the-house canapés (perhaps salmon rillettes or beetroot tartlets) as the sun sets behind the Story Bridge.

Ortiga restaurant, Fortitude ValleyNext, stroll to Ortiga (left) at 446 Brunswick Street in neighbouring Fortitude Valley (+61 (0)7 3852 1155). Voted Australia’s best restaurant in the 2010 Gourmet Traveller Awards, this two-level temptress includes the acclaimed dining room downstairs and a seductive street-level bar. Pull up a stool here, then order a procession of tapas, including jamon, croquetas and oysters. A killer Spanish wine list and stellar cocktails make it hard to leave…

Drag yourself away from this dimly lit den and make for Harajuku Gyoza at 394 Brunswick Street (+61 (0)7 3852 4624). This buzzy Japanese joint draws a crowd for top-notch dumplings, cans of Sapporo and shots of sake, served with a shout of kampai!

At speakeasy-style bar The Bowery, nearby at 667 Ann Street (+61 (0)7 3252 0202), cocktails are serious business. Slip into a booth, then sip on a Big Daddy of Campari, gin and orange juice, or a cinnamon-laced Apple Pie number.

We may or may not have returned to Ortiga for a cheeky espresso martini, but that’s another story… Still up for more? Take a peek at our Brisbane guide for a slew of after-dark drinking and dining destinations…

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