Based on the fringes of Brisbane’s inner city, the Gambaro Hotel provides access to some of the city’s most charming areas. Take your pick from any one of several restaurants in the Barracks entertainment precinct, centred around a grand old 1860’s building that once housed the city’s police barracks. Enjoy Mediterranean fare at Moda, French Vietnamese at the gorgeous Libertine, and rustic Spanish dishes at Peasant.
Diagonally opposite the hotel in the other direction is Suncorp stadium where, if you’ve timed it well, you might be able to catch a sporting match or concert. Just behind Suncorp Stadium, Newstead Brewing Company serves its craft beers and pizzas, burgers and other casual fare in a spacious and relaxed brewpub.
A few minutes’ drive or a good walk west from the Gambaro Hotel brings you to Paddington where you’ll find some of the best things to do in Brisbane. The hilly, leafy streets are lined with boutiques, homewares stores, cafés and restaurants in a motley assortment of quintessentially Queensland buildings, many of them timber with corrugated iron roofs.
The cool vibe at Darling & Co makes it the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail, but it’s a versatile space that caters for everything from a casual breakfast or lunch to a sophisticated dinner. Further along Given Terrace, Nota offers produce-driven dishes with a level of finesse belying the restaurant’s casual ambience. Nearby Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers prides itself on its house-made gnocchi, and it never fails to impress.
At Fundies Wholefood Café, another daytime venue, enjoy wholesome, organic, ethically sourced food and fair-trade coffee. Other favourite coffee spots are Arrosto, which serves Toby’s Estate Coffee, Reuben’s Deli & Bar, which serves locally roasted Wolff coffee, and Atticus Finch, in a cute little weatherboard cottage.
Fed and watered, it’s time to fossick in the antique, collectables and vintage clothing stores Paddington is renowned for. You could easily spend a few hours in Empire Revival, a wonderful antique emporium in the former Plaza Theatre. One of Australia’s only remaining atmospheric theatres, the 1929 art deco building was elaborately decorated to create the feeling of being outdoors, with clouds suspended from a bright blue ceiling.
Retro Metro and Ra Ra Superstar are great for vintage clothing, while designer labels can often be found in the Endeavour Foundation charity store on Given Terrace. Continue the treasure hunting in Vinnies, located in a gorgeous old building with creaky stairs and loads of Paddington character.
Hip and quirky clothing stores, local Brisbane designers and upscale boutiques can all be found in Paddington, with shops like Maiocchi, Sacha Drake, Living Silk and Petrol enticing you to reach for the wallet. Allow yourself some pampering at In Therapy, while blokes can get a trim at the Moustachery barber shop with its suitably retro feel.
The Gambaro Hotel may be nestled within some of Brisbane's most unique precincts, but it certainly offers a quirky slice of history of its own. Loved for its monumental seafood platters, Gambaro Seafood Restaurant is one of Brisbane’s most esteemed historic restaurants, allowing guests of the hotel to enjoy one of the city’s staple restaurants without leaving the hotel. For hard-core carnivores, heaven is right across the road at Black Hide Steakhouse by Gambaro, which specialises in a variety of delectable steak.