Brisbane's historic event venues

18 JANUARY 2023

Take a little step back in time by adding a dash of charm and a whole lot of character to your next event in Brisbane. These iconic Brisbane venues have stood the test of time, earning their place on the city’s landscape and offering spaces from cocktail receptions to boardroom meetings, to conference spaces to private dinners.  While each one undoubtedly has a story or two to tell, some may be a little more scandalous than others. 

Baedeker, Fortitude Valley 

It all feels very illicit as you step inside Baedeker, a champagne, wine and whiskey bar along Constance Street. While the heritage-listed building was built in 1909, Baedeker’s interior makes it feel like you’re in an underground bar in the 1920s.  

The standout space is the mysterious Cellar, which is only able to be entered via a mysterious private door. The intimate space’s warm furnishings and interiors, combined with an extensive, exclusive wine list plus high-end whiskeys, make it feel all very Godfather-like, and whoever is lucky enough to sit at the head of the table will undoubtedly feel like they’re Don Corleone.  

Function spaces: 5  
Capacity: up to 220  

Brisbane City Hall, Brisbane City  

Brisbane City Hall has stood proudly in the heart of the CBD since opening in 1930. Lounges, rooms and suites are tucked away in this giant venue, from The Brisbane Room with its high ceilings, grand chandeliers and private courtyard, to The Sandgate Room, where the adjoining Enoggera Courtyard is made up of 443 cobblestones from a 19th century paved street that were discovered during recent restorations.  

The classic and elegant features of Brisbane City Hall make for a glamorous and classy affair, and the venue’s history creates some excellent talking points (see here). Take in the surrounds as you make your way through the grand foyer with its marble staircases, before entering the main auditorium and taking in the 4391-pipe organ and the copper dome above.  

Function spaces: 11  
Capacity: up to 2000  

Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm 

Industrial vibes abound at the Brisbane Powerhouse, with exposed bricks and pipes winding their way through the building. Formerly a 1920s power station that powered Brisbane’s trams, and later a shelter for squatters after the power station was decommissioned in the 1960s, the building has served many a purpose throughout the years. The legacy of this building can be seen throughout the venue’s interesting and cool event spaces, from the interior steel beams and gantry to the heritage-listed aerosol art.  

Today Brisbane Powerhouse is an iconic cultural and arts hub with New Farm Park as its backyard, offering a forward-thinking, exciting venue for both business events and after-parties.  

Function spaces: 10  
Capacity: up to 525  

Brisbane Racing Club, Ascot 

The function spaces at Brisbane Racing Club are steeped in history and feature event spaces across both the Eagle Farm and Doomben locations. If race day action is your pace, pack your binoculars and head upstairs to the Chief de Beers Room at Doomben, where the floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the racecourse, with an excellent view of the finishing post.  

Over at Eagle Farm, racing began in 1865, and its history has been well preserved. Hidden within Eagle Farm’s oldest grandstand you’ll find the beautiful function space The Society (formerly known as The Lab), built in 1889 and – as its name suggests – a former scientific testing lab. Across the way, The Tote Room was the life of race day, housing the mechanical racecourse totalisator. Built in 1913, it is now a stunning event space with 18-foot ceilings, exposed brick walls and the original tote windows still in place.  

Function spaces: 42  
Capacity: up to 1000  

Customs House, Brisbane City  

The glorious Customs House has proudly stood overlooking the Brisbane River since it was built in the late 1880s, and is today a city icon in its own right. Behind the grand Corinthian columns you will discover function spaces with history and charm, all catered for by the award-winning Customs House Restaurant.  

For the more intimate event, experience the grandeur of days long past in the Sylvia Jones Boardroom, complete with a crystal chandelier and a marble fireplace that is mostly decorative (this is Brisbane after all). What once was the Queen’s Warehouse, The River Room is an elegant recent addition to the venue that offers direct access to the waterfront terrace and offers a stunning, classic space for larger cocktail and banquet-style events. Once inside, look up and you’ll spot the piece de resistance – the dazzling geometric ceiling made of triangular bronze panels.  

Function Spaces: 5  
Capacity: up to 300  

Hillstone, St Lucia 

Fifteen minutes from Brisbane CBD, Hillstone St Lucia overlooks the greens of the St Lucia Golf Links. Mingle over cocktails under the fairy-lit tree on the Mango Tree Terrace, or settle into a banquet-style function in the Grandview Room. The colonial-style spaces at Hillstone St Lucia offer natural light, fresh air and expansive views that evoke an image of what the scenery was like in 1896 when the original Hillstone homestead was built.  

Function spaces: 6  
Capacity: up to 1500  

Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane City  

Originally a wharf in the 1880s, the Howard Smith Wharves revitalisation is breathing new life into one of Brisbane’s most historic sites. Tucked away beneath the Story Bridge along the face of the cliffs, the site will span 3.4 hectares upon its completion. Function spaces will cater for events from the intimate to the sprawling across venues that have been restored with their original detail in mind.  

Function spaces: 10  
Capacity: up to 2100  

Old Government House, Brisbane City  

Old Government House was built in the 1860s and is historically the official residence of the Governor of Queensland. The building has since been restored to its former glory and offers an elegant venue overlooking the City Botanic Gardens. The Hall, complete with soaring ceilings, a sweeping staircase and hand-crafted crystal chandelier, creates the feeling of being at a high-society ball.  

For an extra touch of VIP treatment, The Billiard Room offers a private entrance. The original wood paneling in the room has recently been restored, where guests will dine on a piece of history – the dining room table is the original from when Old Government House was built.  

Function spaces: 6  
Capacity: up to 300  

Ovolo Inchcolm Brisbane, Brisbane City 

Housed inside a heritage-listed former 1920s doctor's surgery, the interiors of Ovolo Inchcolm Brisbane take their inspiration from a Parisian salon in the 1920s. The heart of the venue is the original lift, shipped from New York in 1928 and lovingly restored to preserve the building's history. The Foxtrot Room was awarded Best Meeting Room in Australia at the Qantas Business Awards, and the venue is rich in charm and high in quality.  

Function spaces: 4  
Capacity: up to 140  

Queensland Cricketer's Club, Woolloongabba

Beautiful by day and spectacular by night. That’s the only way to describe the Queensland Cricketers' Club, offering panoramic views of the iconic greens of the Gabba. The Cricketers' Club was established nearly 60 years ago to give like-minded cricket-lovers a place to come together, and in 2017 unveiled a stunning renovation that takes advantage full advantage of the space.  

Function spaces: 4  
Capacity: up to 900  

Royal International Convention Centre, Bowen Hills 

Home to the Ekka since 1876, a field hospital during World War II, and the home of Donald Bradman’s test debut in 1928, the Brisbane Showgrounds are indisputably a part of the city’s heritage. As Brisbane has grown and evolved around it, so too have the Showgrounds. Today, the Royal International Convention Centre offers 26 event spaces that blend the showgrounds’ heritage with modern facilities, able to host anything from the intimate 25-guest gathering to a thousand-head mega function.  

Function spaces: 26  
Capacity: 3200  

Story Bridge Hotel, Kangaroo Point

Built in 1886, the former Kangaroo Point Hotel took on its current name in 1940 to coincide with the opening of the Story Bridge. The hotel was taken over by the Deery family in the 1970s, who worked to return the hotel to its former glory, using a photograph taken of the building in 1912 as the guide. Today the Story Bridge Hotel is a Brisbane institution in its own right and was announced as Australia's Hotel of the Year at the Australian Liquor Industry Awards in 2007.  

Function spaces: 5  
Capacity: up to 250  

Tattersall's Function Centre, Brisbane City  

It doesn’t get more elegant – or exclusive – than Tattersall’s Function Centre. The venue can accommodate up to 400 in the Grand Ballroom for the larger events, and offers a number of spaces for more intimate events, including the old-world style Chandelier Room and the Needham Room complete with a Waterford chandelier and silk wallpaper. This beautiful, historic venue offers elegant and classic spaces in Brisbane’s CBD.  

Function spaces: 14  
Capacity: up to 320  

Tivoli, Fortitude Valley  

Over 100 years of history features in this beautiful performance venue, the host to iconic artists over the years such as Bob Dylan, Silverchair and Taylor Swift (just to name a few).  

Exclusively available for hire, create a truly legendary event with features such as integrated lighting, purpose-built performance stage and a commercial kitchen with expertly crafted food by an award-winning culinary team.  

Function spaces: 2  
Capacity: 1560  

The Fortitude Music Hall, Fortitude Valley

Inspired by some of the world’s most loved live music venues – from classic art deco theatres to larger clubs, The Fortitude Music Hall pays homage to the iconic venues of Brisbane’s past. Located in the heart of Brisbane’s entertainment centre and featuring state-of-the-art production, The Fortitude Music Hall is the largest ballroom / theatre style venue in Australia with a 3000 standing capacity and 1100 seated.  

Function spaces: 1  
Capacity: 3000  

The Princess Theatre, Woolloongabba  

Queensland’s oldest-standing theatre is home to live music and performing arts. The heritage listed building, which opened in 1888 has over the years housed a picture theatre, a rag merchant, a paper wholesaler, an engineering firm and most recently, a church.  

Reopening after meticulous renovations in 2021, the venue boasts a performance auditorium for a standing capacity of 900 and seated theatre capacity of 500. Imbued with majesty, the venue offers five unique, designated spaces for large gatherings to intimate celebrations.  

Function spaces: 5  
Capacity: 500  

The Osbourne Hotel, Fortitude Valley  

Oh, if these walls could talk. Established in 1864, The Osbourne Hotel was the second hotel to open in Fortitude Valley. Having worn some interesting names (The Dead Rat, The Rat and Parrot) and welcomed some colourful characters over the years, The Osbourne may be best known for a man infamously shot in the public bar.  

These days, The Osbourne is light, bright and adorned with greenery in the downstairs spaces, with former hotel rooms converted into more intimate spaces upstairs for private events.  

Function spaces: 12  
Capacity: up to 150  

Treasury Hotel and Casino, Brisbane City  

It’s almost impossible to ignore the grandeur of the sandstone facade of the Treasury when passing by. The Treasury was built in three stages between 1886 and 1928, and over the years has been occupied by the Premier, registrars, auditors and police. Today the Treasury is a casino and luxury hotel and has welcomed its fair share of high-profile guests throughout the years.  

The elegant Ryan’s Private Dining Room provides a charming private dining option or take in a real slice of the State’s history in the Cabinet Room which – as the name suggests – is the former meeting place of State Cabinet.  

Function spaces: 5  
Capacity: up to 120  

United Service Club Queensland, Spring Hill 

There’s a story behind the name of each function room at the United Service Club Queensland, some of which date back to the mid 1800s. Stained-glass windows, sparkling chandeliers and pressed-metal ceilings offer the elegance and grandeur of the past in the function rooms here, which can accommodate from nine to 190 guests.  

Function spaces: 6  
Capacity: up to 190  

XXXX Alehouse Bar & Restaurant, MILTON  

It doesn’t get much more Queenslander than the home of XXXX. The legend dates back to 1878, when the Fitzgerald brothers headed north from Victoria to establish the Castlemaine Perkins brewery with one goal in mind: to create the finest ales known to man. Meet, dine or celebrate among Queensland history in the spaces on offer here, including The Tap Room and the Alehouse’s main venue.  

Function spaces: 4  
Capacity: up to 380  

Breakfast Creek Hotel, Breakfast Creek 

Fondly known by locals as the Brekky Creek Hotel, this Brisbane icon opened its French Renaissance-style doors in 1890 and has seen some interesting events over more than 120 years. Rumour has it that former Lord Mayor of Brisbane, William McNaughton Galloway, haunts the halls of the Breakfast Creek Hotel after he fell to his death from an upstairs window in 1895, and what is today the car park was home to two brothels frequented by American soldiers during World War II, until community uproar forced their closure. The Brekky Creek claims to have introduced beer garden-style dining to the city in the late 1940s and the first drive-through bottle shop in Brisbane in the 1960s.  

Today, the Brekky Creek is famous for its steaks that are sourced predominantly from South East Queensland and has six bars each with its own heritage in culture, including the Rum Bar that pours more than 500 varieties of rum.  

Function spaces: 7  
Capacity: up to 120  

Malt Dining, Brisbane City  

The heritage-listed Wenley House was built in 1863 and was Queensland’s first municipal marketplace, but today is home to Malt Dining. Inside, it’s pretty special. Malt has restored the building to its grand architectural origins, with the soaring ceiling and original 19th century red brick and timber in The Attic flooded with natural light by an entire wall of windows. Downstairs in the Malt Bar, the original timber floorboards remain, and The Cellar can seat up to 20 around its custom-made long timber table inlaid with engraved stone.  

Function spaces: 3  
Capacity: up to 150  

Port Office Hotel, Brisbane City  

The Port Office Hotel has been a Brisbane institution since 1909 but has been a meeting place since 1864 when it was the Shamrock Hotel. Today, it is a heritage-listed venue and renovations have maintained and highlighted a typically-Queensland theme – light, warm and welcoming.  

Function spaces: 12  
Capacity: up to 350  

The Alliance Hotel, Spring Hill  

The Alliance Hotel has been serving Brisbane since its establishment in 1864 and has been housed in its current grand building since 1888. Try a cocktail party in the European ski resort-themed cellar Chalet Bar or dine on a French-provincial table beneath a dazzling chandelier in the Headquarters private dining room.  

Function spaces: 4  
Capacity: up to 120  

The Regatta, Toowong  

The Regatta has withstood fire and flood since first opening in 1874, and today is a Brisbane institution in its own right. The Regatta’s main restaurant, The Boatshed, took out Best Restaurant - Hotels at the QHA 2017 Awards for Excellence, while the clandestine Walrus Club downstairs is reminiscent of the prohibition era. The Winterford, Thornton, Gailey and Gazzard Rooms are filled with natural light, and offer access to the wrap-around verandahs that are shaded by a sea of purple jacarandas during springtime.  

Function spaces: 11  
Capacity: up to 300  

Planning an event in Brisbane? Check out the Brisbane Event Planner for more information on Brisbane venues, accommodation and services, all in one place.  

Landscape image of corporate people having drinks at the Emporium Hotel South Bank rooftop bar