Want to know what’s going on in the Valley this month? Our Events Guide has everything from weekly happenings to monthly exhibitions and one-off special occasions.
While we’ve listed what’s currently happening in the Valley here, it’s a good idea to check directly with the individual operators, official websites and social media for the most up-to-date trading hours and info.
Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to stay connected to our Valley community.
Arts and culture
Discover what’s on in the Valley’s galleries and art spaces as well as cultural events and workshops. Don’t miss the chance to get interactive with art at the Brunswick Street Art Party on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 May.
At Outer Space, within the Judith Wright Arts Centre, view the curated collection of works, All my friends are (leaving) returning to Brisbane, on display until 16 May.
Also within Judith Wright Arts Centre, visit the Institute of Modern Art where Hazara artist Khadim Ali’s Invisible Border show, his largest Australian solo exhibition, and the LINK exhibition of new object-based works from Tay Haggarty are on show until 5 June. You can also sign up for Tay’s Embodied Dance Workshops at IMA on 1 and 15 May for an insight into the process behind the LINK exhibition.
At Mitchell Fine Art Gallery, get lost in the lush paintings of Bernard Ollis through The Artist’s Garden exhibition of works from 12 May. Over at Philip Bacon Galleries, The Figure exhibition wraps on 8 May and is followed by a selection of works by Brisbane expressionist painter William Robinson, on display from 11 May.
Jan Murphy Gallery welcomes two new exhibitions this month – Australian sculptor Linde Ivimey’s Bonafides show and Petrichor, a collection of works by visual artist Lara Merrett – from 4 May.
For hands-on craft, book into Alice Nightingale’s regular Wednesday night and Saturday morning Social Sewing Classes. Helena Rose also hosts three-hour Flower Crown Making Workshops from Wednesday to Sunday.
There’s also acrylic free-flow pouring classes to get your paint and sip on at Montana Art Project’s Wickham Street studio on Friday and Saturday nights. Want to learn how to make embroidery miniatures? Enquire about textures embroidery workshops with Danni at Shadowplay House.
You can also get physical with Collectively Connected classes held at Australasian Dance Collection Studio within Judith Wright Arts Centre. With Pilates, yoga and contemporary dance classes geared for beginners to pros, there’s something for everyone. Also at Judith Wright Centre is Circa’s classes for kids, youth and adults to learn circus skills such as acrobatics, aerials and trapeze.
More into tactical moves than movement? Join Brisbane Valley Chess’ social chess sessions at Empire Hotel every Saturday to learn the game or compete against other players.
Explore more art here
Music and comedy
Get along to a host of live music and DJs plus festivals in the Valley this month. Kicking off the month, Big Gay Day takes over The Wickham on 2 May. Brisbane’s biggest rainbow festival promises a sparkly street party and main stage of musical acts, drag extravaganzas and much more, featuring Confidence Man, Alice Ivy, Samantha Jade and Karen from Finance.
There’s more dancing ahead at the Barney Cools Endless Summer Tour at XCargo on 2–3 May with a host of fashionable DJ sets. The always-popular Sneaky Sound System hits La La Land with special guest Paluma on 14 May, plus for a retro night out, don’t miss the Harry K Presents Dance Disco Daddy event on 21 May.
The Fortitude Music Hall also has a stellar interstate lineup in May, including Dune Rats on 2 May, Dom Dolla on 8 May and The Smith Street Band with the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra as part of the Strings Attached series on 21 and 22 May. Over at The Brightside, the musos on stage include The Lazy Eyes, Wraith, Death by Denim and much more.
Black Bear Lodge will showcase Lost Goat Found on 15 May and The Grogans on 22 May, while the Woolly Mammoth Mane Stage has Haiku Hands on 7 May, Andy Martin and Jacob Fitzgerald on 8 May and Teddy Rizzo on 16 May. Over at The Zoo, turn up for a jam-packed schedule kicking off on 1 May with A Tribute to the Music of Bon Jovi, followed by an evening of words and music with Jeff Lang on 2 May, plus Johnny Smokes, Jeff Martin (The Tea Party), White Light Station and more throughout the month.
You can also catch local live music every Friday at The Wickham, Wednesdays at Greaser Bar and on Fridays and Saturdays at The Sound Garden, as well as the free Live and Local sessions on Fridays from 5–7pm, rotating through Bakery, California and Beirne lanes and Brunswick Street Mall. Check out the Events Guide to see which up-and-coming local musos are on throughout May. Oche Fortitude Valley also hosts an Acoustic Open Mic Night every Thursday to soundtrack your darts session.
Soul’sa, Brisbane’s biggest celebration of salsa, features live performances, music and dance lessons every Thursday at Cloudland, and then dance right into The Sound Garden for Salsa Sundays. Press Club hosts Brisbane RnB Jam every Tuesday night for smooth grooves from a live band, while a new Singer-Songwriter comp is on at The Sound Garden on Sundays. In a band? Sign up now for The Sound Garden’s Battle of the Bands comp slated for August.
Love a laugh? Don’t miss The Anti Expert’s Guide to Everything presented by The Chaser’s Charles Firth and James Schloeffel from The Shovel at The Fortitude Music Hall on 20 May. Birdees hosts the Mixed Bag of LOLs stand-up comedy show on Friday nights featuring Brisbane’s best comedians. Or book ahead to pick up the mic at Comedy & Karaoke @ Greaser Bar on Thursday nights with Don’t Choke Comedy Club’s Open Mic Night followed by karaoke.
For DIY entertainment, Blute’s Bar has karaoke on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and don’t miss Trivia Thursdays, Live!@The Wickham and Social Sundays at The Wickham for trivia fun and live tunes weekly. There’s also the weekly Trivia @ The Prince Consort on Tuesday nights in the Garden Bar, Weekly Wednesday Trivia at XCargo and Big Head Trivia at The Sound Garden every Thursday.
Find more music and clubs here
Food and wine
Find out what’s new on the dining, cafe and bar scene this month. After the exciting opening of French fine diner Bisou Bisou in February, the new 5-star Hotel X welcomed Mediterranean-inspired rooftop bar and restaurant Iris to its dining offering in late April. With private dining, poolside bungalows and a DJ-driven dancefloor, we’ll be dining out on the views and gourmet menu that draws inspo from Beirut to Barcelona.
We’re also eagerly anticipating the opening of Rosmarino Ristorante & Wine Bar within the revamped Stewart & Hemmant heritage building on Marshall Street. The casual Italian fine diner will offer a curated menu of authentic flavours with contemporary flair such as culurgiones (Sardinian stuffed pasta). Head chef Dario Manca is an avid baker so expect fresh sourdough focaccias and bread when the site opens next month.
For a caffeine fix or an adult slushie, depending on the time of day, visit Bs Cafe & Bar. The newish neon-lit venue is open late for hearty snacks, after-work bevvies, sweets and more. We’re also digging the plant-based fare (think a croissant-waffle hybrid) at the newly opened Little Digs Cafe on Little Street. The sweet and cosy spot rocks a green aesthetic in its interior and menu.
Tarantino-inspired Bar Kiddo in California Lane has reopened as a sequel: Beatrix. The hidden Tokyo-meets-El Paso late-night bar and kitchen offers a Japanese-inspired menu of tasty dishes such as Schultz Shroom Bao and Dine Like A Wagyu Samarai alongside original cocktail concoctions.
Fancy a long weekend lunch or a brunch date? Cloudland hosts the Saturday Graze Lunch from noon and Brunch with Bite – a weekly brunch and drag show series on Sundays. Also at Cloudland, book your spot for A Taste of Italy, a culinary journey through Italy’s regional cuisines every Thursday and Friday. For ale aficionados, register for the Sighted: Beer Fest event on 8 May at The Sound Garden, a beer hunt featuring local breweries and live music.
Read about the Valley’s newest restaurants here
Markets, style and shopping
To market, to market – here’s what’s popping in shopping this month. We’re excited for pop-up shop Readore Vintage, here for a good time (not a long time) in California Lane until 4 May. The vintage concept store is a purveyor of pre-loved jewellery, footwear and fashion curated by Nhu Chau.
Valley Laneway Markets is on the first and third Saturday of every month, taking over California, Winn and Bakery lanes and extending into the Brunswick Street Mall. Look out for the Artisan & Design markets on the first Saturday and the Plant, Pantry & Providore markets on the third Saturday of the month as part of the Valley Laneway Markets.
Browse more local fashion retailers here
– May 2021