An only-those-in-the-know vibe to The Lounge starts with the entrances -one is via permanently closed heavy wooden doors on Sandgate Road and the other, more fun ‘secret’ entry is found up some stairs past the open kitchen to the rear of The Royals’ buzzy Italian bistro – here on a vintage coat stand by a pair of doors hangs a little sign saying The Lounge.
Step inside and instantly the streets of Nundah village feel like another world away. A spacious dim-lit basement-like room has been divided by ornate screens into sections with intimate leather booths, nooks and crannies of chesterfield couches and vintage tables and a casual bar area with stools. And all presided over by the feature bar stocked with premium spirits, boutique wines, champagne, cider, liqueurs and international and local craft beer by the bottle (and craft and Italian beer on tap).
Pervading the atmosphere of The Lounge is an air of quaint European formality (there’s a suited doorman) and warm Mediterranean hospitality where patrons are greeted and treated as guests in a home.
Look out for the unique touches like bowls of fresh seasonal fruit sitting on the bar, ready for when a guest orders a cocktail like a Mojito and is then asked to handpick the fruit they would like in it.
When it comes to cocktails Martinis rule – from Espresso to Lychee to Dirty (an olive-based mix with vermouth, Hendrick’s Gin and Olive Tapenade on the rim), along with another Italia great – the famed Aperol Spritz.
In addition there’s Caipiroskas, Armelissa Sour, Royal Champagne (Prosecco with a twist) and the odd cucumber-infused English option like Hendrick’s Royal (Hendrick’s Gin, cucumber ice-cream amd sugar syrup) or Cream Pimm’s (with fresh cucumber and cucumber ice-cream).
Along with the quality drinks, The Lounge also does a short sharp menu of bar food – antipasto of various combinations (like marinated anchovies, ricotta, capers and lemon or tartufo salami, parmesan and crostini) with toasted ciabatta, a cheese plate, warm brioche bun and Sicilian pistachios.
For something more substantial there’s a menu of delicious Italian pizzas borrowed from the kitchen next door and made by the hotel’s dedicated Italian pizza chef, with traditional Rosse or Bianca toppings like Caprese, Gamberi, Margherita, Fungo or Formaggio.
And must try for something different, as a drink substitute or desert, is the Alcoholic Gelato Tasting Board – three small glasses of alcohol-infused gelati scoops – think caramel bourbon, vodka, lime and soda and butterscotch schnapps.
Need to know – This is one of those hard-to-find great bars for those aged 30+, and a Kanye and Taylor-free zone, with music an eclectic mix of jazz, retro and classic hits from the years. On weekends there’s live music by jazz trios, lounge music etc.
The menu may have changed since our visit.
1259 Sandgate Rd