Bars and Nightclubs
Brisbane CBD, Brisbane

Super Whatnot

48 Burnett Lane
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Housed in the rear storeroom of an abandoned beauty college and surrounded by alternative EMO youth and hobos salvaging cigarettes, it’s the perfect setting for the city’s first serious laneway bar.

With a rotating range of craft beers, an unexpected array of boutique wines, classic and original cocktails, and gourmet snackery inspired by “The Americas” Super Whatnot might not appeal to everyone, but that’s exactly the point. With only 60 seats on offer this inner city hideaway is the place to be Super. Whatnot.

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Super Whatnot Review

Review by Katya Gladiadis

As my companion and I gingerly slink past the occasional hobo sitting in the alleyway gutter asking for cigarettes, I question where on earth we were going. I had been anxious, staring down the alley without any obvious sign of our destination. The cleverly hidden, industrial gem that is Super Whatnot on Burnett Lane in Brisbane’s CBD.

The steel Super Whatnot logo sits proudly on ground level by the entrance. I look up to find that they’ve kept the back-alley aesthetic of this ex-beauty school storeroom. The plaster is peeling from the walls, revealing the brickwork underneath, the paint on the wooden window frames is flaking but it feels authentic. I find myself smiling.

It’s Friday night; the crowd inside is loud and only gets louder as we climb into the main bar. The rough industrial air has crept quietly inside and blended with clean, modernist design. Bare brickwork walls, steel beams, industrial cage lights and yet it does not dominate the atmosphere. We weave through the crowd, headed for the second floor.

Once seated I send my companion to fetch our first round of drinks for the night, leaving me to bask in the ambience of this quirky bar. The entire, albeit tiny, second floor was decked out in timber. The walls, floor, and ceiling; no surface had escaped the warm, wooden cladding. I look down at the bar and the bustling crowd below. Near the bar, the floor sinks into a lounge overlooking the alleyway. I watch my friend struggle to reach the bar. The bar is central, jutting out onto the main floor and surrounded by people on all sides. Music is playing and I notice a DJ in a corner. I’m surprised, but pleasantly so and I begin to notice the other nuances of Super Whatnot. I note the Mexican sugar skulls scattered about the bar and the stag head on the wall.
A drink is placed in front of me along with a meagre amount of change. This I look at quizzically before I am informed of the price of basic spirits, coupled with the news that they do not stock my preferred rum. It is a little more than I had expected, but I have paid more at venues with half the class. I browse the drinks menu again. Craft beers, boutique wines and various cocktails are listed, as well as some gourmet snacks, and I make note of some I might like to try later on.

That is assuming, of course, that I’m not dragged off to yet another bar. And it would be kicking and screaming too, as I find myself not wanting to leave. I like the way this place feels. It is not exactly cheerful, or bubbly, or dull, or mellow. What it is, is warm and raw, but it’s comfortable. It’s not easy to carry a conversation over the din of the music and the chatter of the mid 20’s to 30’s cliental below, but it isn’t impossible.

Super Whatnot has a specific vibe, for a specific crowd and yet it feels like it is bursting at the seams. The hidden locale, unusual drink selection and 60 person limit seems to deter casual drinkers. Leaving those of us who appreciate its unique blend, to do just that. And whatnot.

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