Alfred & Constance
ALFRED & CONSTANCE IS CLOSED AS OF JANUARY 2018.
A visit to Alfred & Constance, the stunningly revamped pair of historic Queenslander cottages at a Valley crossroads, is like sampling the best of Brisbane life from the past decades. For there under two corrugated iron roofs, the surfing scene of the 60's, a tiki bar, beer garden with giant juicy steaks, vinyl couched rumpus room, antique parlour with grand piano, astro turf, open fireplaces, colonial verandahs, saloon bar and milk bar, have been meticulously recreated and given a contemporary twist. And best of all it's designed especially to wander, drink and plate of food in hand from one to the other.
Just a step up from Alfred St is the deck of Alfred's Café, the pulsing heart of A&C that keeps the hordes fed and watered day and night. Order at the counter and take a seat at the gaily coloured cluster of café tables and chairs on the deck, the communal dining table by the original working fireplace or the rustic VJ walled Tunes Bar lounge that takes up the other half of the cottage.
The menu draws on the classic milk bar with an artisan contemporary twist – milk shakes, savoury mince jaffles roast beef (roasted on site) sandwiches on sour dough, pies and sausage rolls and a whole host of divine pastries. By night the milk bar morphs into an adults only dessert bar with soft-serve ice-cream, boozie smoothies and alcoholic fruit juices.
Sharing the cottage with Alfred's is this saloon style bar come chill out lounge adorned with vintage amps, speakers and records, deer heads, antler chandeliers and vintage lamps and lanterns. Take a seat on a saddle stool or sink into a vinyl swivel chair, dental chair or retro couch with a snack from next door or craft beer in hand and take in the sounds of the swinging 60's to today.
The Vanguard Beer Garden
The deck between the two cottages is the beer garden, named after the boat that the original owner of the two cottages arrived in in the 19th century. A retractable roof protects revellers from the elements and adjacent to the beer garden is the kitchen which peddles gastro pub fare from its giant vintage wood fire oven or its contemporary counterpart the cutting edge Spanish coal-fired Josper oven.
The pub menu is a carnivore's delight, with mains divided into cow, pig, or chook, deceptively simple titles for what happens behind the scenes. Beef (eye or rib fillet, rib on the bone or T-bone) is cooked over coals in the Josper, pork is carved from a whole roast pig and sold by weight and the organic chicken comes half or whole wood-roasted. And groups of 15 or more can order their own pig to share, served mediaeval style with head on at the table (24 hr notice req).
Vegetarians meanwhile have a choice of salads, roast potatoes and steamed or wood roast vegetables and those after something lighter can dabble in the Small Plate menu with options such as chorizo scotch egg, bangers and mash, salted crackling, oysters or fish fingers with tartare sauce.
A couple of steps away from the beer garden in the second cottage is the Black Room, a stunning ceiling to floor black dining alcove with a resident skeleton in the corner, a life size elephant on the wall and an antique black lacquer cabinet of curiosities. This room is available to rent for private functions and large groups.
Take the original cedar staircase from beside the Black room and enter the lost Pacific Island world of the Tiki Bar, a bright tropical-hued lounge carpeted in astroturf that also pays homage to Queensland's surfing history. Walls are adorned with surfboards and vintage surfing posters while from behind the bar carved native masks ward off evil spirits. Here's the place to indulge in rum and fresh fruit juice with Hawaii 5-0 on the turntable before hitting the dance floor in the Hemingway Room next door.
The Hemingway Room
A lemon grand piano guards the entrance to this quaint 19th century parlour with antique couches and French doors opening to the verandah. But here's not the place to play parlour games but dance the night away on the wooden floorboards while the DJ spins tunes on the suspended deck outside.
A downstairs basement shrouded in secrecy and available for private functions.
Cnr Alfred St