Heya Bar is a crazy subterranean wonderland of oriental bars with a Blade Runner vibe that occupies the basement of the old Sun newspaper building in Fortitude Valley.
The rooms that once housed the printing presses of Queensland’s leading 20th century tabloid have been transformed into a bustling colourful scene straight out of the Golden Gai bar district of Tokyo’s Shinjuku, with 5 bars, a kitchen peddling street food till 3am, live music lounge, faux Asian grocery store, billiard tables and pinball machines.
Aside from the hectic main bar areas, with their sunken line-up of booths and games area and the steamy glassed-in kitchens where chefs work away industriously, a right turn from the entrance stairs past the ‘grocery shop’ leads to walls that mysteriously slide open to reveal more tiny lounges and bars, which may be open or closed according to capacity, time of night, live acts and private functions.
Always open are the cavernous Bar 80s, Rockit and Kohaku bars, which line one wall under old brick archways and serve up a range of craft beers from Oz, Japan, the US and Italy, champagnes and sparkling wine, a smattering of red and white wine (including Heya Pinot Gris and Heya Syrah) and some cracking cocktails such as the Heya Highball, Blue Hanoi, Love and Squalor and the popular Espresso Martini Slushie.
Serious drinkers looking for something more intimate should seek out the Yama Bar, which is hidden behind a sliding panel just off the live performance room – as well as the moody backlit bar, which specializes in craft beer, there’s an adjacent dim-lit ambient lounge.
Around the corner under the stair is the tiniest bar of all – Bar ‘Lonely’, a whisky bar serving one of the best ranges of whisky from around the world to be found in Brisbane as well as a handful of cocktails including the specialty Old Fashioned, beers and wines.
The food at Heya Bar, which derives from street markets around Asia fused with iconic Oz takeaway, is a special affair not to be missed, is prepared in view at the onsite kitchens and can be ordered at any of the bars.
Available up until midnight any day are Tonkatsu Dogs (filled with crumbed pork, apple cider slaw and sesame mayo), Miso-Infused Eggplant Skewers, Sushi Rolls, Sashimi, Sticky Pork Ribs, Karaage Pop Corn Chicken and Heya Special Dirty Fried Rice.
Diners who drop in after midnight can get their fill of Duck and Hoisin Rice paper Rolls, Kung Pao Chicken Wings, Cheeseburger Spring Rolls, Mushroom and Bacon Gyoza, Pre-shaken Fries with dashi and vinegar or srirachi and cheese or Crab and Corn Chiko Rolls.
Need to know – Heya Bar opening times vary from 5-6pm. Check their Facebook page before visiting.
367 Brunswick St