Tipple: Fringe Bar
Remember when you were
23 18, and you used to down just whatever drink was the cheapest? When the local pub stopping 2-4-1s was the hot topic of conversation among your friends for months? (Yes, Royal Exchange, I am looking at you) Those days were fun, weren’t they.
Now, my tastebuds prefer to take their time over a tipple. I’m happy to spend a bit more money for a decent glass of wine or a tasty cocktail. Of course, when I fork over my hard earned cash for a cocktail that reminds me of the same quality associated with Red Bear or jugs of Bundy draft, I get a little grumpy.
I know why cocktails are so expensive; they take a while to make, there’s expensive liqueurs and spirits in them, and technically they take some skill to make. So, Fringe Bar: please explain. On my previous visit to Fringe, I enjoyed several cocktails. They were inventive, used quality ingredients, and were whipped up without a problem (although took a little while).
On a recent visit, however, something was awry. I ordered a pina colada, and knew something was up when I was told they didn’t have any coconut cream. This is not the first time this has happened: Brisbane bars, I beg you, STOCK YOUR BARS WITH COCONUT CREAM. It’s like, 90 cents a can from Woolworths. Just do the damn thang.
So, perhaps encouraged by my sad pout, the bartender at Frindge eventually found some coconut cream somewhere, and made me a pina colada (pictured above). I don’t know what the hell I was drinking for 12 days on a recent vacation in Mexico, but it sure wasn’t this. Yes, it was sweet and tasty, but was nothing like a pina colada. I was prepared to forgive and forget, and ordered a Toblerone (pictured below).
Again, it was sweet, but tasted like no Toblerone I’ve ever had. Now, you might be thinking that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and that a unique twist can be good. But this Toblerone was just…weird. Something about the flavour ratios was off. I was missing those gorgeous caramel and chocolate hints that can only come with a crapload of Baileys and sugar.
I persevered and waddled back to the bar one more time. This time, the guy actually knew what he was doing, and produced a tasty ‘Blonde Passion’ (‘summer fruits with fresh cream’. Vague much?). He didn’t just chuck ingredients into a glass and hope for the best; he took his time and put in carefully eyed quantities. This drink was delicious, bitey, and not too rich (can I confess: I was hoping for something richer. My name is A-dawg and I am a cream-based-drink-aholic).
It’s good to know that there is at least one bartender at Fringe who can make a good drink. But this problem happens a lot in Brisbane. Bars need to either put on more staff who can make cocktails, or train all of their staff in the craft. When you’re forking out close to $20 for a drink, I think that’s a good investment.
^Because one day I will be that crazy cat lady.
I’ll jump off my cocktail high horse and commend the rest of Fringe. It’s a really nice bar with lots of comfy seating and heaps of cool private areas. The beer on tap is very reasonably priced, and there’s a distinct lack of the other dickheads who seem to frequent the Valley. And let’s talk snacks – the munchies are GOOD, and not just I’ve-had-several-beers good.
Fringe Bar, I like you a lot. I’ve stepped it up and have stopped going for whatever’s cheap. Maybe you can do likewise and step it up with your cocktails.
UPDATE: I went to Fringe last night (28 May) and had the BEST Pina Colada I’ve ever had outside of Mexico. Later in the night I had a Toblerone that was also fantastic – both made by two different people. Brilliant! Massive improvement on my last visit!
Corner of Ann & Constance Streets, Fortitude Valley
07 3252 9833