Fortitude Valley’s Newest Hotspot: Ballers Clubhouse Revolutionises Party Time as Playtime

Want to spice up your nightlife? Ballers Clubhouse, the brainchild of hospitality visionaries, is set to revolutionise party time as playtime in Fortitude Valley.

The energetic Ballers Clubhouse, hailing from Melbourne’s busy streets, is getting ready to revamp the familiar spot formerly occupied by King of Kings restaurant on Wickham Street.

This isn’t just your ordinary watering hole, though; it’s more like an adult playground with extra features to spice up your social adventures such as cutting-edge ping pong, darts, and even a karaoke gum ball machine.  

Highlights of Ballers Clubhouse

Neo Shuffle: A modern twist on the classic shuffleboard game, Neo Shuffle adds high-tech elements to elevate the experience. Players slide pucks down a sleek surface, aiming for strategic points to outscore their opponents.

Photo Credit: Website/BallersClubhouse

360 Ping Pong: Prepare to take your ping pong skills to the next level with 360 Ping Pong. This immersive game challenges players to navigate around a circular table, keeping the ball in play from all angles for an exhilarating and fast-paced match.

Photo Credit: Website/BallersClubhouse

Social Darts: Darts get a social upgrade with this interactive game. Compete against friends or new acquaintances in a lively atmosphere, with various game modes and challenges to keep the excitement going.

Photo Credit: Website/BallersClubhouse

Ballpit Karaoke: With Ballpit Karaoke, enjoy the best possible karaoke experience. Immersed in a colourful ball pit with contagious energy and colourful balls, sing your heart out. You’ve never experienced karaoke like this before!

Photo Credit: Website/BallersClubhouse

Still, that’s not the end of the exciting part. The meals and drinks at Ballers Clubhouse are designed to go well with the lively ambience and keep you feeling upbeat. A tempting assortment of finger food will be served, including crowd favourites like green curry arancini and panko-prawn tacos. 

Photo Credit: Website/BallersClubhouse
Photo Credit: Website/BallersClubhouse
Photo Credit: Website/BallersClubhouse

Fun and Unique Cocktails

Naturally, no trip would be complete without sampling their inventive cocktail menu. Enjoying a snack in between games or a distinctive beverage, Ballers Clubhouse’s menu guarantees an exciting and flavorful experience every time you visit.

Houdini’s Escape

This cocktail is named after the legendary escape artist Harry Houdini and is designed to evoke the thrill of his daring feats. A little safe is used to present the drink when it is ordered, which adds a mysterious and thrilling touch. An interesting and participatory element to the drinking experience is that in order to open the safe and enjoy your drink, you must first crack the code. It’s an experience waiting to happen, not simply a drink.

Smoky Skull Heist Negroni

With a hint of mystery and drama, this drink is a modern take on the traditional Negroni. The cocktail is delivered in what looks like a scene out of a crime movie—a black briefcase covered in smoke. The presentation creates a buzz of excitement and expectation that makes for an unforgettable sipping experience. Your evening at Ballers Clubhouse will be slightly more exciting as you sip on a Skull Heist Negroni, which will make you feel like you’re a part of a daring escapade.

Photo Credit: Website/BallersClubhouse

Ballers Clubhouse is more than simply a drinking game; it’s an attempt to gamify social interactions, created by a dynamic team that includes Chris Roberton, Stephen Wools, Josh Lefers, and Simon Jones. 

“We wanted to explore what lies beyond the typical bar experience,” says Stephen Wools. “That’s when we discovered this trend of competitive socialising that was gaining traction overseas.”

Following its success in Melbourne, Ballers Clubhouse now has Brisbane squarely in its sights. With 1,200 square metres of space and the ability to hold 600 people, the Fortitude Valley venue is sure to be a show-stopper. Imagine edgy urban sensations that are expertly blended with opulent details and first-rate facilities.

Ballers Clubhouse is scheduled to debut in March or April of 2024. Now that the ball is in your court, get set to play. Follow their Instagram page at @ballersclubhouse for more details.

Published Date 20-March-2024

Brisbane’s Conor Wallace Stops Jack Gipp in Six-Round Clash at Fortitude Music Hall

Rising Australian light heavyweight Conor Wallace and fellow contender Jack Gipp promised an action-packed fight, and they delivered on that promise Sunday night at the Fortitude Music Hall.

Read: Nigella Lawson Describes Brisbane’s Agnes ‘An Extraordinary Experience’

The opening salvo

From the opening bell, the four-inch shorter Gipp stalks Wallace, looking to land his big left hook. Wallace obliges the crowd by engaging in heated exchanges, with both men having successes. Gipp bloodied Wallace’s nose at the end of the first round.

The back-and-forth action continued in the second. In the third, Gipp started finding a home for his left hook, backing Wallace to the ropes at times, though Wallace taunts and showboats to the crowd. Wallace begins landing in bunches in the fourth, while Gipp connects on an eye-catching lead left uppercut late in that same round.

The tide shifts for Conor Wallace

In the fifth, Gipp traps Wallace on the ropes and unloads, but Wallace spins off and fights back hard to gain the momentum edge heading into the sixth round.

Early in the sixth, the pace slows for a moment before Wallace starts letting his hands go in ferocious combinations, hurting Gipp and ultimately dropping him with a barrage along the ropes. After an eight count, Wallace refuses to let Gipp off the hook, swarming until the referee waves it off at the 2:48 mark.

What they said

“I think we did a bit of everything,” an ecstatic Wallace said. “My coach Greg Eadie is one of the best…without him none of this would be possible.”

Gipp showed class in defeat, stating: “I knew Conor would probably be the hardest fight of my career…I’m still getting used to light heavyweight. Maybe down the line we can do it all again.”

Read: How Brooki Bakehouse Fortitude Valley Became an Insta-Sensation and Earned an International Following

Wallace’s promoter Mick Francis raved: “That was possibly the fight of the year…We need to move on to bigger and better things.”

Wallace concurred: “I’m definitely moving on overseas, right now.”

Published 19-March-2024

How Brooki Bakehouse Fortitude Valley Became an Insta-Sensation and Earned an International Following

In a heritage building tucked away in Fortitude Valley, an unassuming bakery has ignited a craze that defies all expectations. Brooki Bakehouse, helmed by owner Brooke Saward, has captured the hearts and appetites of dessert enthusiasts worldwide with a viral Tiktok presence and over 700,000 followers on Instagram.

Read: From Ashes to Glory: Alfred & Constance Set for Stunning Revival

Saward’s baking journey started with travelling the world to find the best bakeries and sweets. 

After improving her skills through cooking classes in Paris and online videos, she opened Charlie’s Dessert House in her hometown of Launceston, Tasmania in 2016, tempting locals with her macarons, cupcakes, cookies, and more.

Photo credit: Brooki/Instagram 

But Saward and her fiancé, Justice Bellamy, had bigger dreams. In late 2021, they moved to Brisbane, drawn by the city’s growth opportunities and a sense of possibility without feeling overwhelmed.

Brooki Bakehouse
Photo credit: Brooki/Instagram 

When her sole employee was out sick with Covid-19 for three weeks, Saward boldly launched a TikTok account and creatively filmed herself hard at work in the bakery. She decided to film a “day in the life” video for TikTok in her chef’s clothes. Her friendly personality and tasty creations struck a chord, and the video quickly went viral, getting millions of views and fans worldwide.

Brooki Bakehouse
Photo credit: Brooki/TikTok

Saward shared people come from all over Australia and literally everywhere to visit the bakery. The bakery now sells a shocking 1,000 cookies daily in-store, plus thousands more online. 

Photo credit: Brooki/TikTok

She said some days before TikTok they made hundreds of dollars, and now every day it’s thousands, so it’s a totally different business from the first six or eight months, and that’s because of using social media.

However, Brooki’s huge success isn’t just about social media skills – it’s also thanks to Saward’s entrepreneurial spirit, passion, and hard work. When TikTok exploded, she did not wait for customers to come; instead, she found a way to send her cookies worldwide. With clever packaging and problem-solving, she developed a system to ship her treats globally.

Photo credit: Brooki/Instagram 

Saward has even bigger goals. She wants Brooki to become a global baking brand, already selling merchandise, teaching online classes, working with major brands, and releasing her first cookbook later this year.

Despite the overwhelming success, Saward remains humble and grateful, valuing every customer and spending hours each week talking to followers on social media. It’s this real connection, along with her delicious baked goods, that keeps people lining up and coming back.

Read: More Than Standard Fare: Indulge in Fortitude Valley’s Creative Bar Snacks

At a time when social media rules marketing, Brooki Bakehouse shows how smartly using these platforms can make a small business world-famous. But at its core, it’s Saward’s passion, creativity and commitment to baking that have truly made Brooki Bakehouse a sweet global favourite.

Published 18-March-2024 

Remembering ‘Succulent Chinese Meal’ Scandal: Australia’s Quintessential Viral Sensation

On a calm October night in 1991, an unusual arrest occurred outside a Chinese restaurant in Fortitude Valley. Reporter Chris Reason and his crew captured the incident on video, later known as the “Succulent Chinese Meal” scandal. 

Despite the incident occurring in the ‘90s, it wasn’t until 2009 that the video, now dubbed the “Democracy Manifest” video, found its way onto the internet and ignited curiosity and speculations. The Guardian later dubbed the viral video Australia’s definitive meme of the decade. The story of the “Succulent Chinese Meal” became an internet sensation and garnered millions of views on YouTube.

The man’s theatrical exclamations, such as “This is Democracy Manifest!” and the unforgettable “Get your hand off my penis!” that immortalized the event. 

His audacious inquiries to the officers—”What is the charge? Eating a meal? A succulent Chinese meal?”—and his commentary on an officer’s judo skills not only infused the incident with humour but also cemented its place in the annals of internet legend.

But who was the man being arrested in the video? Initially, theories erroneously pointed to Hungarian chess master Paul Charles Dozsa, but the true narrative took a turn in 2020.

With a colourful history of serial prison escapes and allegations of credit card fraud, Jack Karlson stepped into the spotlight in a music video by The Chats, confirming his role in the iconic meme.

Mistaken Identity?

The backstory of the “Succulent Chinese Meal” scandal is as tangled as it is captivating. Mr Reason, the reporter at the scene, later revealed the arrest to be a dramatic case of mistaken identity, with police believing they had cornered one of Queensland’s most sought-after fugitives. 

Yet, as more details surfaced, it became evident that Karlson was under suspicion for a string of frauds. Known by various aliases, including Cecil George Edwards and Johann Kelmut Karlson, his true motivations and identity remained mysterious until he embraced his viral fame, attributing his theatrical display to a ploy aimed at being deemed insane for an easier escape.

The Truth Revealed

The tale took another twist in 2021 when Seven News revisited the incident, featuring interviews with Mr Reason and the meme legend himself, now going simply by Jack. His reluctance to provide a last name added another layer of intrigue and charm to the enduring “Succulent Chinese Meal” mystery.

In 2023, the narrative deepened with the release of Mark Dapin’s biography, “Carnage: A Succulent Chinese Meal, Mr. Rent-a-Kill and the Australian Manson Murders.” 

succulent chinese meal fortitude valley
Photo Credit: Amazon

Dapin’s investigation into Karlson’s life and connections to other notorious figures and events in Australian criminal history offered a comprehensive view of the enigmatic figure behind the meme.

In February 2024, and the enigmatic Mr Karlson finally shed light on the events of that day. In a candid interview with New Zealand comedian Guy Williams, he admitted to fabricating the claim of physical impropriety by the police for dramatic effect. The revelation came alongside discussions of his life’s complexities, from his incarcerations in Australia’s most notorious prisons to his multiple escapes and the tragic murder of his wife, intertwined with Australia’s criminal underworld.

From its origins as a quirky news segment to its status as a subject of scholarly and journalistic inquiry, the “Succulent Chinese Meal” scandal remains a fascinating chapter in Australia’s cultural and digital landscape, blurring the lines between criminality, performance art, and the whims of internet fame.

Published 15-March-2024

Freeman James Henderson Jailed for Causing Grievous Bodily Harm in Bicycle Collision

Former Queensland Reds Academy player Freeman James Henderson has been sentenced to prison time for a bicycle collision on William Street that left a pedestrian with lifelong brain injuries.

Freeman James Henderson collides with the victim

On April 7, 2022, 30-year-old Henderson, was cycling in William St near the intersection with the Victoria Bridge when he struck 42-year-old Hayley Small as she was crossing the road. CCTV footage showed that Henderson was travelling 11km/h over the speed limit and went through a red light, hitting Small as she crossed with a walk signal.

Small, a mother of three from Townsville, was in Brisbane with her children for a football trip. She was thrown 3.8 metres by the impact, knocking her unconscious. Paramedics arrived to find Small with life-threatening head injuries. She was hospitalised for over two months and continues to suffer effects from the traumatic brain injury.

Legal consequences

In the Brisbane District Court on Wednesday, Henderson pleaded guilty to dangerously operating his bicycle causing grievous bodily harm. The prosecution asserted that Henderson’s actions were not a lapse in judgement, evidenced by his driving history of traffic violations.

Judge Vicki Loury sentenced Henderson to two years in jail, suspended after three months. She called Henderson’s cycling reckless and said he failed to keep proper lookout for Small’s safety.

Impact on the victim

In her victim impact statement, Small said the collision changed her life and her family’s. She has permanent medical issues requiring medication and struggles with speech and memory.

Unable to work while hospitalised, she lost her home. Separation from her children during recovery caused distress.

Freeman James Henderson apologised to Small in a letter to the court. He has agreed to pay her $20,000 in compensation.

Published 01-March-2024

Synth-Pop Icons The Human League Set to Enthrall Fortitude Valley with DARE! Anniversary Concert

Synth-pop enthusiasts in Fortitude Valley are in for a treat as iconic British band The Human League gears up to deliver a spectacular live rendition of their seminal album DARE! at the esteemed Fortitude Valley Music Hall. 

With a reputation that precedes them, The Human League’s influence on the music industry is undeniable, and their upcoming performance promises to be an unforgettable experience for fans old and new.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of DARE!, The Human League will take concert-goers on a journey back to the electrifying era of the 1980s, where synthesisers reigned supreme and infectious beats ruled the airwaves. 

This special event, set for 6 March 2024, marks a milestone in the band’s illustrious career, and it also pays homage to a groundbreaking album that continues to resonate with audiences worldwide. The allure of DARE! lies not only in its chart-topping singles but also in its enduring legacy as a trailblazing work of art that pushed the boundaries of music production.

Fortitude Valley Music Hall, known for hosting top-tier musical acts, provides the perfect backdrop for this momentous occasion. The venue promises an intimate yet electrifying atmosphere, allowing concert attendees to fully immerse themselves in the sonic delights of The Human League’s timeless repertoire.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan reliving the glory days of synth-pop or a newcomer eager to experience the magic firsthand, The Human League’s DARE! anniversary concert is sure to captivate audiences of all ages. 

Published 27-February-2024

Pawn & Co to Redefine Nightlife in Fortitude Valley

Prepare for a revolutionary addition to Brisbane’s nightlife as club promoters Josh Lefers, Stephen Wools, and Steve Thomas launch Pawn & Co in Fortitude Valley, a groundbreaking venture that blends the allure of a pawn shop with the excitement of a bar, entertainment venue, perfumery, nail salon, and corporate event space.

The 450-square-meter venue, spanning two levels, is poised to become a haven for those seeking entertainment beyond the ordinary. 

On the ground floor, a perfumery awaits, allowing visitors to explore and purchase signature scents or indulge in a unique cocktail degustation with perfectly paired perfumes. A mini automated nail salon promises temporary nail art experiences for those seeking extra flair.

The club will also feature vending machines, games, and an outdoor cocktail garden to enhance the immersive experience.

In a cheeky twist, Pawn & Co goes all-in on the pawn theme, offering patrons the chance to buy the club, albeit at a hefty price. 

According to Mr Lefers, the team has scoured the globe for highly unique and in-demand inventory, ranging from the latest gadgets to iconic collectibles such as Elvis Presley’s jumpsuit, the inaugural Rolex, and Marilyn Monroe’s iconic white dress. Lefers emphasised that every item would be carefully curated, with some expected to fetch prices as high as $1 million.

Lefers expressed their vision of becoming the most exciting club globally, offering a space that sparks curiosity and wonder. Targeting the corporate market, Pawn & Co aims to provide bespoke experiences for businesses looking to create memorable events for their guests or employees, with the club expected to open its doors to the public in December 2024.

Pawn & Co will also feature a mechanical snow globe that moves between levels and a small automated nail salon. Top-notch DJs will propel bodies into motion via a brand-new sound system, whilst the bar will dispense interactive carnival-inspired cocktails.

Stay tuned as Pawn & Co prepares to open its doors to the public, promising to revolutionise Brisbane’s nightlife landscape with its blend of entertainment, uniqueness, and quirkiness.

Published 19-Feb-2024

Proposed Co-Living Tower Set to Elevate Urban Living in Fortitude Valley

A groundbreaking development proposal is set to reshape the landscape of Fortitude Valley as the Willemsen Group plans a transformative addition to the city’s residential offerings. 

Acquiring the corner site at 458 Wickham Street from Silverstone Developments in 2020 for $11.5 million, Willemsen Group now seeks to elevate the urban living experience with a visionary 22-storey co-living tower. 

This site, nestled amidst Brisbane’s vibrant lifestyle precinct, is primed to become the standard of modern communal living, catering to both returning residents and visitors alike.

Photo Credit: Williamsen Group

Elevating Urban Living

The proposed co-living tower at Fortitude Valley (DA A00642449)  aims to address an unmet need in Brisbane’s residential market, as highlighted in the development application documents. 

With 381 fully furnished one-bedroom co-living units, the tower promises to redefine the concept of contemporary living.

458 Wickham Street Fortitude Valley
Photo Credit: DA A0064244

Notably, the development includes three levels of podium parking, a residents’ terrace on level 4, communal dining and gathering spaces on all levels, and a communal rooftop terrace. 

458 Wickham Street Fortitude Valley
Photo Credit: DA A0064244

Architect Bayley Ward’s innovative design ensures that the increased number of storeys does not compromise the integrity of the previously approved building height, maintaining harmony within the skyline.

Fulfilling a Market Gap

Emphasising flexibility and community engagement, the development offers a mix of short-term accommodation units and rooming accommodation units, coupled with ample communal spaces.

Drawing inspiration from hotel-like amenities, the co-living tower blends private residential spaces with extensive shared areas, catering to diverse demographics and age groups. 

With an asset-sponsored community programming emphasis, shared living spaces, and all-inclusive central billing, the development aims to redefine the standards of urban accommodation.

458 Wickham Street Fortitude Valley
Photo Credit: DA A0064244

A Vision for the Future

Designed with meticulous attention to detail, the co-living tower not only reimagines residential living but also integrates seamlessly with the surrounding urban fabric. The proposal envisions a harmonious blend of convenience and well-being, positioning Fortitude Valley as a premier destination for modern urban dwellers. 

The project is set to unfold in two stages, including the construction of a new PCYC development. 

Published 15-Feb-2024

Chinatown Mall Revamp to Breathe New Life into Fortitude Valley

Did you know that the iconic Chinatown Mall, nestled in the heart of Fortitude Valley, is about to undergo a million-dollar transformation?

The landmark strip, renowned for its cultural vibrancy, is set to commence rejuvenation works in the coming weeks, with completion expected by May 2024.

It comes as the developer, Tribune Properties Pty Ltd, is also set to receive several new tenancies later this year at the $375-million commercial office tower next door. 

The initiative, which was approved before the pandemic, aims to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the concrete playground and reinvigorate the commercial space. 

The forthcoming renovation project for Chinatown Mall will introduce several enhancements to the urban landscape. Planned improvements include the installation of three new garden beds, the addition of low-set seating areas, and the implementation of decorative lighting and poles. 

Furthermore, the iconic carp installation will be relocated further into the mall, contributing to the overall revitalisation efforts. With a new commercial office tower already in place, the timing is ideal for enhancing the mall’s appeal and functionality.

The rejuvenation signals a resurgence of activity and interest in the Fortitude Valley precinct. Following the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and years of vacant tenancies, the cultural hub is experiencing a renaissance.

As a focal point of the city’s night-time economy and a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike, the rejuvenated mall is poised to continue its legacy as a cultural and culinary hub in the years to come.

Published 13-Feb-2024

More Than Standard Fare: Indulge in Fortitude Valley’s Creative Bar Snacks

Fortitude Valley is home to some of Brisbane’s best bars and restaurants. Whilst many spots in the Valley are known for upscale dining, the area also boasts excellent bar snacks to accompany your cocktail or beer. From Italian charcuterie to Asian-inspired small plates, here are five places in Fortitude Valley with bar snacks you won’t want to miss:

Read: Chef Ben O’Donoghue Debuts Italian-Inspired Dining Destination in Fortitude Valley

Crunchy Schiaffoni at Stranded Bar

Photo credit: Stranded Bar/Instagram 

In addition to excellent cocktails and live music, Stranded Bar offers shareable plates like their Large Rigatoni stuffed with Buffalo Ricotta, Mozzarella & Lemon Zest, served with a bright Tomato Chutney. Pair this crunchy, cheesy pasta with one of their craft cocktails for good times.

Charcuterie at Before + After

Photo credit: Before + After/Instagram 

As Brisbane’s first amaro bar, Before + After unsurprisingly excels at Italian-inspired bar bites. A standout is their charcuterie plate, featuring cured meats like black truffle salami and venison mortadella, accompanied by pickles, relishes, olive oil, and toast for dipping. Sip on an amaro cocktail whilst enjoying these artisanal meats and condiments.

Chicken Tikka at Bloodhound Corner Bar and Kitchen

Photo credit: Bloodhound Corner/UberEats

With a massive selection of beers and spirits, Bloodhound Corner Bar pairs well with bar snacks like their char-grilled Chicken Tikka. The tender chicken breast is marinated in yogurt and spices, served with a cooling yoghurt and mint sauce.

Oysters at Exhibition Restaurant

Bar snacks
Photo credit: Exhibition Restaurant/Instagram 

Attached to chef Tim Scott’s omakase restaurant is Exhibition’s walk-in wine bar, with creative bar snacks like their caviar waffles. Besides caviar, one of the highlights of their specially curated bar menu is the freshly shucked oysters, best paired with a glass of wine. Their freshly shucked Cool Water Pacific oysters are dressed in a vibrant mango and fig leaf dressing, accented with local yuzu and fingerlime.

Ma Hor Pork Relish at LOS

Photo credit: Los_landofsmiles/Instagram 

For Thai flavours, try LOS’ Ma Hor, a pork relish with pineapple, chilli, and peanut. Served alongside a margarita, it’s a perfect combination of savoury, spicy, and sweet. LOS, meaning Land of Smiles, offers many satisfying Thai small plates alongside their cocktail menu.

From amaro to omakase, Fortitude Valley’s bars offer nibbles as diverse and crave-worthy as their drinks. Try these inventive bar snacks on your next night out in the Valley.

Read: Gerard’s Reopens on James Street with New Look and Menu

Published 22-January-2024