I adore buildings with history, especially when they have been refitted in that trendy, exposed- brick kind of way that makes you feel edgy and cultural whenever you swan in for a drink.
These days 690 Ann Street is home to a chic bar and restaurant but the building dates back to 1862, when it was an apothecary hall selling medical goods and elixirs. I’ve never noticed the building, despite having caught a trillion buses up and down Ann Street, but The Beat is directly across the road and it tends to demand all your attention.
Not only is The APO a stylish venue for a cocktail; it also has several gorgeous spaces that you can book out for private functions. I was lucky enough to enjoy a luncheon with the SheBrisbane ladies in the Private Dining Room, a lofty, brick-encased nook with doors that open out onto a heritage verandah and the sights and smells of Bakery Lane.
The food, rosé and laughter was flowing freely, and these were some of the things we enjoyed the most:
“Well the food was divine, but so was the waiter! Our host Matt was charming, attentive and took a thousand photos for us. It takes a special talent to host a rowdy table like ours and he was more than up for the job.” Ruth – Nanny Babe
“My favourite was the brussel sprout salad with goats cheese, pine nuts and chive oil – who would have thought that brussel sprouts could be so yum? It was so fresh, crunchy and tasty; I’d always eat my vegetables if they tasted like that.” Bec – Editorial
“Not everyone will agree with me, but I loved those little Lebanese tacos, with the spiced goat, garlic yoghurt, pickled pepper, mint and onion crisps. All the accompaniments complemented each other in a perfect, juicy mouthful, and the wholemeal tortillas were such a delicious texture.” Michelle – Columnist
“The drinks were sensational. Most of us kicked things off with a Passionfruit Spritz, an awesome concoction of Lillet Blanc, passionfruit and sparkling wine, which was topped off with a sprig of basil to make it look just as refreshing as it tasted.” Myjanne – The Mother Load
“Hands down the lamb ribs were my favourite, which the girls may have guessed because I ate five and everyone else only had two max. They were so meaty and flavoursome, and I was licking that green chilli and spring onion sauce off my fingers when no one was looking.” Emma – Bite Me
“I’m going to rave about the venue, because you would never know this gem is hidden away in the Valley. They’ve preserved that beautiful old building as much as possible, and added in classy furniture, gorgeous paintings and feature lights that make it such an attractive space – I’d love to have a function in the big, airy bar upstairs!” Brooke – Editorial
“The deep fried chicken with the chilli yoghurt was to die for. I mean, fried chicken is a winner anytime, but this was perfectly cooked and the incredible tangy sauce just made the whole bite a sensation of crispy, saucy goodness.” Jennifer – The Social Report
“I loved those profiteroles with the mushroom custard. Matt didn’t tell us it was mushroom- flavoured because he wanted us to guess, so we were all oohing and aahing over the delicious creamy filling with a fragrant twist! I’m pretty sure we all had three each…” Amanda – Editorial
“OMG those little cheesecake bites were incredible – a square of crunchy biscotti, strawberries three ways and that creamy, cheesy little bit of heaven. Scoop all of those flavours into your tongue and prepare for a party in your mouth.” Michaela – The Social Report
Emma Lee is a Brisbane native but lives to travel. She is also a big fan of food, good books and browsing at markets.
Since graduating from Griffith University with a Communications Degree, Emma has put her writing skills to good use in jobs ranging from Media Rep for a rugby team to Marketing Manager for a Japanese ski resort.
Emma dreams of publishing a novel one day and wants to live in a luxury camper van that never stays in one place for longer than a week.