Tomcat takes the Fortitude Valley bar scene up a secret careworn set of stairs to a whole new level, where a stunning cavernous space of moody atmospheric rooms and nooks awaits.
Occupying the top floor of a historic building that was once an illegal Chinese gambling den (which left Chinese dice hidden in the ceiling) and more recently a gaudy hot pink hip hop club, Tomcat comprises a mega barn-like main dive bar with graffiti and street art covered walls, pool room, smokers cage balcony and The Boiler Room, a secret shabby chic vintage bar with hidden entrance.
Asian style archways lead from room to room, while low hanging naked yellow bulbs and strings of multi-coloured light bulbs light the main Tomcat bar area. Here the bar is made from pressed metal, the DJ booth (in use on weekends) of recycled pallets and punters can gather around bar tables or take a seat in one of the alcoves with blue velvet seating.
Drinks are ordered from the bar, where there is one beer, one cider and two signature house cocktails (think Peach & Rum Punch or Aperol Ginger Spritz) on tap. Tomcat bar keeps it simple and fast with a choice of one red, white or sparkling ‘easy drinking’ wine, a range of spirits including some high end whiskeys and an extensive selection of bottled and canned beers and mixers in the fridges. To eat there’s a range of gourmet 15 inch pizzas (with toppings such as Cheese, Peperoni or Pumpkin & Sage), whole or by the slice, on the menu.
Walk through the arches on the side to find the pool room resplendent with more wall art, two red pool tables, and at one end, the door to the smoking balcony, a funky caged-in space that looks out across the Valley rooftops. At the other end is some seating and a giant mural of Bill Murray spruiking Suntory (from his cult movie Lost in Translation). Move closer and not only does he become clearer but so does the door that is hidden within the artwork.
Open the door and you’re in The Boiler Room and in a glamorous other-world, with 500+ cocktails and Remy Martin cognac the drink de jour, Chesterfield lounges, casement windows, bartenders in braces, exposed handmade brick walls, gilt mirrors, candlelight and more blue velvet couches.
Here’s the posh bar, serving vintage champagne and charcuterie plates ( for 2 or 4-6) and with the most fabulous cocktail menu in Brisbane – 150 pages of classics, Tomcat creations and award-winners from around the world, all featured in a leatherbound book with gold embossed title.
A unique touch here is the Remy Martin and Louis XIII exclusive bottle pouring, a ‘bottle service’ whereby customers purchase a bottle of either and it is kept stored in a lockable copper custom cabinet to then enjoy while on the premise.
The only nod to its industrial-themed name are the candles in little wire cages or plain tin cans, the naked light bulbs over the bar and the black and white pictures on the wall.
Nice to know – Tomcat is the kind of bar where you can dress to the nines or extreme comfy casual and still feel at home.
Need to know – Tomcat has a blink-and-you-miss-it street entrance – a heavy metal graffiti-covered door tucked in next to Prohibition Bar’s imposing entry.
210 Wickham St