The Walrus Club
In the 1995 film Underground a group of workers are kept underground making weapons for a war oblivious to the fact that it ended decades earlier and this is a theme that could easily apply to The Walrus Club. For entering through the sunken black cellar door underneath the Regatta is like stumbling across a forgotten underground speakeasy that has been operating since the 1920s, unaware that Prohibition is over.
The result is Brisbane's most atmospheric bar, a rabbit warren of cool dimly lit rooms, corridors and alcoves divided by brick smuggler's den archways and scattered with vintage leather couches, rum crates, barrels and candelabras.
With its name derived from the SS Walrus, a floating rum distillery that trawled Qld rivers between 1869 and 1884, the specialty here is rum (traditional molasses based) and the French colonial version, rhum (made of pure sugarcane juice). And the crates which serve as tables in the lounge alcoves bear the name of the Pioneer Floating Sugar Mill Co., the name that the distillery operated under before having its licence revoked by the authorities.
The bars, which serve a staggering choice of around 300 spirits along with Cuban cigars, charcuterie and cheese, are staffed by Gatsby-esque bartenders in flat caps and braces, and the music which pipes out of every darkened nook and cranny is a fusion of old-time and contemporary jazz.
The spirits list, contained in the 'Weekly Walrus, reads like a rum diary with 170 something rums and rhums from every corner and island of the Caribbean, Central and South Americas, with even a special house blend rum and the rest a mix of absinthe, aperitifs like Campari and ginger wine, gin, Mexcal, calvados, spiced spirit, scotch, blended, Irish and rye whisky, vodka and vermouth.
A must try even for the non-rum aficionado is the house spiced rum, otherwise there's a cocktail of the day or craft beer of the day on the chalkboard.
*Entry is around in the bottle-o laneway directly behind the Regatta. Look for the tiny stencilled Walrus Club insignia at the top of the stairs leading down to a black trapdoor with security grille.
The Walrus Club
543 Coronation Dr
Toowong Ferry Terminal