Insider Guide

W Hotels x them. Brisbane

W Hotels x them. Brisbane

Insider Guide W Hotels x them. Brisbane

The Essential Guide to Queer Brisbane

Brisbane’s cultural scene is uniquely able to transform the city into a truly joyful and accessible place. The city’s varied characters and youth subcultures weave together into a unique, gleeful patchwork.

Brisbane can be as rowdy and inventive as any of Australia’s other eastern states. It’s a place where queer techno parties can happen in bowling clubs and punk gigs go down in suburban cafés. It can just as easily reign it in for some high end shopping, and even serenity when you need a reflective afternoon among friends. In other words, there’s something for everyone here. Though our guide looks at Brisbane through a queer lens, the city is full of gems for anyone, no matter how you identify.

When in Brisbane, You Must

Know Before You Go


1. Plan your days pragmatically! Although Brisbane is well-organized and enticing enough, many of its queer friendly spots lie just outside of the CBD. Traveling to and fro can be annoying, so split up your time sensibly and expect a lot of walking around.

2. Bring a bathing suit and loose fitting clothing. It’s not for nothing that Queensland is home to hordes of surfers and swimmers — there’s also a city beach which is surprisingly perfect for morning swims, and, weirdly, features a plot of land to cultivate organic vegetables.

3. Come with a “no expectations” attitude and be patient. Some of Brisbane’s most precious elements lay just out of sight and are waiting to be discovered.

Neighborhoods to Explore

1. West End

Serving as the primary denomination of youth culture outside of Brisbane’s center, the West End lies on the other side of the river and acts as the most obvious parallel to somewhere like Newtown in Sydney — plenty of vintage stores, quiet eateries and bold young people abound.

2. New Farm

New Farm is a spectacularly outdoorsy locale, with plenty of wide open spaces to chill, picnic and survey Brisbane’s more peaceful side. Historically the domain of Italian migrants, its spatter of delis overlaps nicely with the more recent interest of artists. Mix a tactical calzone purchase with a gallery visit to unwind.

3. Fortitude Valley

Home to Brisbane’s iteration of Chinatown, Fortitude Valley is bustling and remains a central hub of energy both in day and night, being home to some of the city’s most hyperactive LGBTQ+-friendly clubs. More style-focused than somewhere like West End, visiting indie record stores can keep you occupied, European diners remain popular, while the Judith Wright Centre showcases performing arts from contemporary dance to poetry recitals.

Ultimate Access to Brisbane


King Arthur Café

164c Arthur St

Idyllic and pointedly contemporary, King Arthur put a lot of thought into its presentation and mindful environs — plus, it’s a favourite for locals who’ve graduated from the queer and punk scenes.


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Although not explicitly vegan, they’re known to cater to all diets — just call ahead.


Brunswick Hotel

569 Brunswick St

Brunswick hotel invites a truly cross-cultural crowd — a genuinely eye-boggling mix of personalities that could not co-exist anywhere else. Although it’s a choice gathering place, its primary appeal lies in its traditional karaoke nights, considered iconic and recognizably Brisbane in all its bravado.


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If asking for directions, refer to as “The Brunno.”



Stanley Place

Perched on the side of Brisbane river and well loved by artists all around Australia, GOMA is a genuinely stunning artistic/architectural wonder on its own terms, with its finger on the pulse and a respected curatorial acumen. It’s a huge space, and repeat visits may be necessary.


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Time your visit according to the shows on, and go mid-season so as to not get swamped.



11 Browning St

Betty’s was once a café, but kept its cosmopolitan punk interior when it transformed into a bar and performance space. There’s very few places like it where LGBTQ+ people can gather in a non-hierarchical environment, and where artists of all stripes can organise community events and initiatives to bring friends together.


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Check out their schedule on Facebook before heading in.

Brisbane Essentials


1. Loose-fitting shirt

The city is a mostly humid, tropical climate, so do yourself a favor.

2. Sneakers

Although flip flops are permissible in Brisbane, you’ll need something more appropriate for constant commuting.

3. Point & shoot camera

Brisbane’s mix of naturally occurring phenomena and unique landscapes are too good not to document.

4. Coconut water

Best to keep your electrolytes up in the sultry weather.