When Tippler’s Tap opened in 2012, it was a hidden gem, a destination for the initiated. While everyone else was dancing to Gangnam Style and learning how to use Snapchat, the craft beer cognoscenti were huddled in dim corners, eating baskets of chicken wings and drinking tulips of imperial stout from Denmark.
It’s not 2012 anymore. Good beer is no longer a niche thing, and neither is Tippler’s Tap.
Tippler’s has come into the light, both literally and figuratively. While the original venue had a dark, hidden feel to it, the sunny South Bank venue is a central location for both locals and visitors to our fair city. Just as all roads used to lead to Rome, now all trains, buses, and City Cats lead to Tippler’s Tap. (There’s also a second Tippler’s Tap on James Street in Fortitude Valley, but that’s another story – one told here.)
But some things never change: the wooden booths and the wall covered with decals of beers past all carry a touch of Tippler’s history into the present.
Step off the footpath and be welcomed by the big screen over the bar listing 13 taps of goodness, ranging from a cider through a few session beers (including Tippler’s Pilsner, an ongoing collaboration with Newstead Brewing), a couple of sours that bring the funk to your face, all the way up to those dark, dank and dangerous drops.
In the early days, Tippler’s had to rely on imports to fill their tap list with good beer. Nowadays, they take advantage of the stellar quality in the Australian industry – international brews are mostly relegated to the can and bottle fridge to make more room for fresh, local, independent beers on the taps. (Not that there’s anything wrong with the can and bottle fridge; it’s constantly rotating through an impressive range of beers from around Australia and across the globe, with pretty much every style represented. Drink them at the bar. Take them away. Whatever. Just drink them.)
The food at Tippler’s has also stayed the course. The Chicago-inspired menu is a feast for the senses. (And by “senses”, we mean “taste”.) Wings and hot dogs, sliders and sandwiches, chilli and chilli fries and fried pickles and panko-crumbed onion rings are there to make you cry with joy while you stuff your face. A full page of vegan and vego options ensures no one has to miss out on fried delights.
The tipples and vittles are outstanding, but the vibe is as unpretentious and laid-back as venues come, even as Tippler's continues to evolve. The wall that once featured a mural of the American wilderness is now used to promote breweries and events, for example, with live art an increasingly regular feature.
If you haven’t hit up this Brisbane institution yet, you must be living under a rock. Come on. It’s not 2012 anymore.
(Oh, and if you’re wondering about the origin of the Tippler’s mascot, Vlad the Pigeon, we got the following response when we asked two senior staff members: “A Tippler is a species of pigeon. I don’t know why he’s named Vlad though.” “Nope. I never figured that one out.”)