Aperitivo with a view: Brisbane’s newest rooftop bar

By Kayla Wratten

For me, one of the best ways to shake off the work week and activate weekend mode is by slipping into a dress and heading to a new bar or restaurant. Laptop shut, lipstick on! On a recent staycation at Hotel X, the latest luxe addition to Fortitude Valley, this is exactly how I kicked off my evening.

Ride the elevator to the top level of the boutique hotel and you’ll discover Iris, a Mediterranean-inspired rooftop bar and eatery. As the doors slid open, we were greeted by a canopy of violet wisteria that instantly set the scene. The level of luxury was unsurprising as Iris is the handiwork of the Ghanem Group, the brains behind some of Brisbane’s finest dining spots including Donna Chang and Byblos Bar & Grill.

At the floral entrance, the host lead us to a marble-topped table in the heart of the restaurant. We were surrounded by a range of curated spaces that seemed to shift moods depending on the seating; bar stools at the lively wraparound bar, private cabanas for intimate dining, high tables overlooking the glittering Story Bridge, and cosy tables for two. Once we were seated, we turned to the cocktail list (priorities!).  

I’d heard Iris was leading the hot new ‘highballs’ trend, delivering classic cocktails in soda form. Our waiter wagered a bet that he could choose soda cocktails to suit our tastes and brought us an Amaretto Sour Highball and a Watermelon Daiquiri Highball. It’s safe to say the gamble paid off. There were jugs of sangria to sample and a wine list to taste, but we enjoyed our highballs so much that we ordered a second round.

As for the innovative menu crafted by head chef Lloyd Evans, each dish perfectly blends coastal flavours with contemporary flair. Our starter, the Cantabrian anchovies on tomato migas bread with creme fraiche, captured the essence of the Mediterranean in a single appetiser. Designed to be shared, the menu offers mezze, tapas, flatbreads and plates of seafood. There’s even dessert, from a decadent tiramisu to baklava topped with ice cream.

With an unbeatable view of the city skyline, unique menu and dynamic atmosphere, Iris takes you to a different world from the streets of the Valley below. It’s a Mediterranean escape that I’ll be visiting time and time again, as I switch on ‘out of office’ and shimmy into the weekend.

To book drinks or dinner at Iris Rooftop, click here.



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