One of my favourite places to drink in Brisbane is a bar called The Lark. It seems to be well known by the afficiandos of fine beverages and I found it set a "Melbourne standard" when it came to quality, service and atmosphere. It was one of the few highlights in Brisbane and I was sullen after I found it as it took me around a year to get out to Paddington to try it out. It wasn't long after making the discovery of this fine drinking establishment that I moved back to Sydney.
The reason for the aforementioned preface is that when I entered Black Pearl, it reminded me of The Lark. It had a number of customers but it did not feel packed. People were enjoying themselves but it was not loud. Barflies languished at the bar however there was still room to place an order after having a chat with the barman. The bar remains a focal point on the ground floor and it doesn't matter if you are relaxing in the lounge area or watching the sketchy characters wander past through the window, the bar never seems far away. It is well stocked and the menu has some unique concoctions and an excellent cocktail list.
I found the barman to both know and have drank at The Lark in Brisbane as he lived near the boozer at one point. When I told him that I thought the Black Pearl resembled The Lark, he took that as a compliment and a bond was formed. The other barflies overheard our conversation and I got to chatting with other strangers of the night and found everyone to be very pleasant and interesting. The "vibe" is much different here compared to places in the CBD like the Gin Palace as there is no feeling of pretension, which really doesn't exist in Melbourne as it does in Sydney anyway, but I just had a more relaxed feeling and experience here.
The service was extremely professional and when we were not discussing the best parts of Brisbane or Adelaide, some very potent and refreshing drinks were prepared. I enjoyed a perfect Winston Churchill Martini using gin that was sourced in Western Australia. I thought it was great and on par with what you would get at the Gin Palace. The cocktails also did not disappoint and found a certain amount of bliss drinking the "Condelezza" which should not be confused with the former US Secretary of State.
Follow the stairs up one level and you will find the toilets and another drinking area aptly called "The Attic" which allows you to enjoy a more intimate setting. Both levels though were indeed quite a find; a diamond in the rough so to speak in an area where I did not expect to find a place of such superior quality and service mixed with a fun vibe. It proves that expectations will only lead to ambiguity and disappointment if you do experience anything new without an open mind.
Link to review
304 Brunswick Street Fitzroy VIC 3065
no web site
My Rating: 17/20
Value For Money: 4/5
Comment: Excellent cocktail list
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com
When I made this post originally, 89% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also liked Black Pearl. I think you will too.