From the archive: This post was published on our original site, MyCityLife back on 24 May 2014
As upmarket, fine and la-di-dah Brisbane has become with her five-star award-winning hotels, fine dining restaurants, degustation establishments, whisky bars, super clubs and luxury labels, it wasn’t all that long ago that Brisbane was bordering on the decrepit. The Valley was a den of debauchery as brothels and casinos operated outside the law while the sounds of hard rock flourished from The Zoo, Rics and The Arena. There’s always been a hardness to us Brisbane folk. Some whisper of roots steeped in the overload of amphetamines across the years. Others, that the Bjelke-Petersen era has left a lasting mark.
We know in the 21st century we’re all things stylish and wonderful. But in typical Brisbane fashion, we snub our nose at anything vaguely grandiloquent. We come from grimy traditions. We’ve never pretended to be anything other than what we are. And we’ll be the first to smack ourselves down from our high horse if we think we’re getting too big for our britches.
There has been a steady resurgence towards indie Brisbane. It started with the launch of Our Place three years ago to be followed by the refurb of Mustang Bar into 633 Ann. The vintage renewal has added to this sense of grime; the tattoo diffusion the cherry equivalent on top. The captain bearded beatnik with the shrunken pants, boater shoes and Hawaiian shirts are so 2012. In other words: boys still maintaining that look, stop it. You don’t look manly. You just look odd.
And so we come to a return of real men: Rebels without a cause, The Outsiders, Grease 2 (not 1, cos it’s not cool), rockabilly, switchblades, greased back waxed hair, flattops, combs, popped collars on leather jackets, jeans and docs. Bring on our tough guys and the women who love them.
Inspired by the recent launch of awesome new bar Greaser in The Valley (check the gallery from the bar that waxes factious here), My City Life looks at the rise of counter culture and the places who pay tribute to them. You too can be a Cool Rider and put the Soc’s in their place, aaayyyyy
|GET THE LOOK|
It’s Vintage Darling in Annerley, Trash Monkey in The Valley and Eight-Three online will imbue you with all sorts of flinty behaviour best expressed in your outerwear. Jimmy Rod’s Barber Shops in The City or Gasworks, The Emporium Barber, Fortitude Valley or Phillip’s Barber in West End will strop the blade for that perfect edge and flattop. Ultimate toughness means Lust for Life Tattoo Gallery Espresso and Valley Ink in The Valley will leave their mark.
And since you’re getting energized at Lust for Life, also consider Rouge Roastery Café in South Brisbane for coolness in the bean, too. Race Café The Espresso Bars Edward Street in The City and in Nundah are hell-bent on counterculture, focusing on coffee, bikes and a rockabilly atmosphere. Brand new and shiny espresso bar to New Farm, Death Before Decaf keeps their espresso dark and goth, 24/7. A tribute to nostalgia, Southside Tea Room in Morningside is the epitome of laidback insurgence with Woolloongabba Antique Centre also a treasure trove to vintage showcasing plenty of items to build that greaser look.
Toss your leather jacket aside, and swagger on over in the roadster to Harry’s Diner for a traditional American burger in Windsor. Beach Burrito Co in West End and The Valley are monuments to subculture with their love for graff and skating woven into the Mexican décor while buckets of Sol will wash down the burritos and tacos. And the temple to hoodlums, the rabbit warrens of Greaser can be reached from under the streets where being a Valley Rat has never been so comfortable. Down fried chicken or a cheeseburger with your crinkle chips defiantly.
Get your whisky, cider, jam jar or boilermaker on at the shrines to dissidents: Sabotage Social in The Valley, Lock n Load Bistro in West End and Shady Palms Cafe & Bar in Stones Corner will see your collar stiffen up.
Click those fingers in time to the toms, and collect your vinyl from Butter Beats Recordstore in Chinatown, The Valley or Egg Records and Jet Black Cat Records in West End to get those blues a-mooving.
|THE LIVE MUSIC|
Keep the beats on edge and the guitar in the verge ready to rip through a stack of Marshalls from The Zoo, The Brightside, The Underdog and Rics in The Valley; or the mecca to blues, rock and beer, The Hi FI Brisbane in West End.
Just last year, the question was asked whether rock had officially died to be taken over by emo boy “bands” crying over love, makeup-wearing self-harming emos or indie mavericks. But with bands like California’s Rival Sons and our very own Violent Sons, and Butterfly Effect, our rockers are still out there proud and strong. Rock hasn’t died, he just toughened up. The community channels will see your fix for anything death, heavy or metal available on 4ZZZ or Triple J Unearthed. Besides, Triple J always love tearing up the government – and as we know, rebels hate any form of ‘authoritar’. Ayyyyy.