Design Destinations Brisbane: Alfred & Constance

Design Lovers Blog is on the road again and now bringing you design finds & inspiration from Australia. Bars, restaurants, hotels and stores with design swag, designers and home interiors that will have you jumping on the next plane Down Under.

I start my journey in Brisbane – a place close to my heart and the city I grew up in. It is a growing city situated inside the bend of the Brisbane river and has a climate to die for (aptly located in Queensland ‘The Sunshine State’). Beautiful beaches 50 mins drive both north and south and with a flourishing design scene, this is a city worth visiting.

With Brisbane hosting the upcoming G20 Summit on 14th November and with the next Commonwealth Games coming to Queensland, the spotlight will be well and truly on this lively and friendly city.

If you are looking to get your design fix in Brisbane you can’t go wrong if you head straight to the inner city neighborhood of Fortitude Valley.  If a comparison could be made it would be Brisbane’s version of (Soho) in London or (Mission) in San Francisco. This former seedy part of the city is now filled with fabulous restaurants, bars, nightclubs and a large concentration of independent furniture, fashion and design led stores; extending into the equally vibrant and artsy area of New Farm.


One of Brisbane’s unique design-led entertainment precincts is Alfred & Constance. It is a collection of small venues housed within two adjoining Queensland heritage homes with a shared outdoor patio space; creating a eccentric home-like atmosphere.  In addition to the central ‘Vanguard Beer Garden’ which serves up gastro-pub style cuisine there are six additional themed rooms over two levels. Each room boasts it’s own individual and quirky personality. Chill out to live music in the ‘Tunes Bar’, get your groove on in ‘White Lightning Tiki Bar’, ‘Hemingway Room’ or ‘Fever Disco'; dine in the private ‘Black Room’ or eat coffee and cake in ‘Alfreds Bar’.  

This restaurant / bar / entertainment space designed by Alexander Lotersztain (the design maestro behind Brisbane’s one and only Design Hotel “Limes Hotel”) from design firm Derlot, contains cleverly curated interiors combining bespoke furniture pieces, vintage furniture and knick knacks. His aim was to design the space in a theatrical manner allowing the venue to become somewhat of a stage which highlights  “the actors” (the customers).   He incorporated cost effective and sustainable design solutions (ninety-five percent of the venue is designed with second hand and vintage goods). Eclectic, theatrical, eccentric and hip – don’t miss this place if you are visiting Brisbane.

Photography: Florian Groehn


With it’s beach-like signage made from timber found onsite complimenting the colored chevron tiled bar; the mixed-up casual seating with family style tables; and retractable roof over the central deck – the Vanguard Beer Garden embraces the casual, laid back atmosphere of Brisbane.  Photography: Design Lovers Blog


The large black light pendants with gold interior shades give the bar a modern feel whilst in the bathroom you are transported back in time.  Walls are lined with old maps and of Australia and beyond. Simple, inexpensive, yet effective … and a great place to brush up on your geography! Photography: Design Lovers Blog


If more intimate dinners are your thing, the Black Room provides the perfect setting. Dark and moody with black subway floor-to-ceiling wall tiles, an antique black lacquer cabinet filled with curiosities, a life size elephant print and its own twist of humor including the resident skeleton in the corner.  Why? Your guess is as good as ours. This stunning room can be rented for private functions. Photography: Florian Groehn


The ‘Tunes Bar’ – a saloon style bar with its own chill out lounge (below) is a great place to gather with friends and listen to local musicians.


Choose from a seat on a saddle stool or sink into a vinyl swivel chair or retro couch. It’s packed with character and has a ski lodge meets frat-house feel to it. Photography: Florian Groehn


A wall full of vintage amps, speakers, and records create a simple yet effective backdrop for the Tunes bar / lounge.  Alongside the bar is ‘Alfreds’ – an ‘old-school’ cafe serving up cakes, coffees and milk shakes with family style dining opposite.  We love the trophy head wall decor made from recycled bicycle seats and handlebars. Photography: Design Lovers Blog


Filled with a Captain Jack Sparrow-esque statue, surf memorabilia, cane furniture and astro turf, the upstairs White Lightening Tiki Bar sets the tone for a fun filled party space where tropical inspired cocktails are the order of the day.  Photography: Florian Groehn 


The adjoining fern-filled Hemingway room features a yellow grand piano, antique couches and a white mannequin, but it is the poster above on the wall that sets the tone for the room “And if the music is good you dance”. DJ’s spin tunes on the suspended deck off this room while guests shake their booties on the wooden floorboards.  Photography: Photography: Florian Groehn & Design Lovers Blog


And the newest addition (August 2014) to Alfred & Constance is the new underground Fever disco inspired by the hip Watergate club in Berlin. This former air raid shelter nestled below Alfred & Constance is now decked out with a trippy LED ceiling light display (35,000 lights that move in time with the music) and leather booths to create a house-pumping Euro style discotheque.  

We applaud the designers on their reuse of existing materials; their recycling of vintage furniture and the humor that is injected into the design at Alfred & Constance. With so many rooms that serve up so many different experiences, there really is no reason to leave….  unless of course you are ready to crawl into your bed at the conveniently located Limes ‘Design Hotel’ next door.

Designer: Alexander Lotersztain – Derlot

Alfred & ConstanceCnr Alfred & Constance Streets, Fortitude Valley 


Want more? Read:

Brisbane Design Destination: Black & Spiro

Brisbane Design Destination: Magnolia Interiors

Brisbane Design Destination: Kova Lifestyle


Stay tuned for more of Design Lovers exploration Down Under.

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Jill Brandenburg is a Freelance Interiors Writer & Stylist and Co-Editor of Design Lovers Blog.
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