As a medium-to-large city, Brisbane can have the problem of having too many date night options. Where to start? Which places are good? Well, having just been on such a night myself, I can recommend the date night Brisbane combo of The Fat Crab Seafood Restaurant, followed by a show at The Princess Theatre in Woolloongabba. Of course, you need to line this up with a good event, but the seafood won’t disappoint!
Luckily, I had tickets to see Polish piano player and composer Hania Rani, which I was super excited about. As we were kid free for the night, we decided to get a meal before the show. Date night! So why The Fat Crab Seafood Restaurant? Well, it’s within walking distance of The Princess Theatre, the food is reputedly good and it’s seafood!
The Redbrick Hotel – Stage One of Date Night Brisbane
We arrived pretty early for us, around 5:30pm on a Sunday, as our concert was starting around 7. We parked just across the street from the Redbrick Hotel, which is the home of The Fat Crab Seafood Restaurant. The Redbrick Hotel has a bit of history, as the building dates back to 1890. While the hotel is made of red bricks, it was allegedly named after the red 10-pound notes called ‘bricks’ the bookies used when betting at the bar.
The Fat Crab Seafood Restaurant
Arriving at the door, it appeared the date night Brisbane was giving us was going to be a good one. We sat where we wanted, as it was quiet. The place was open-planned with high ceilings, a rustic brick interior, low hanging lights and large wooden tables.
I ordered a Spanish wine, the tempranillo, while my partner Nikki ordered a Charlie Chaplin. I’m not much of a cocktail person but this was smooth, with a hint of sour citrus and a subtle bite. Nice!
We ordered the fried calamari as an entrée, which was tender and appetising. I had another wine, we chatted and basked in our kid/puppy-free freedom and shortly after came our mains. I ordered the fish of the day – grilled John Dory – and my partner ordered the Tassie mussels in tomato & basil. As the fish comes by itself and you order sides, I ordered the charred broccolini with almonds and fetta.
My fish was succulent and accompanied by homemade tartare sauce. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The broccoli was al dente and I enjoyed the almonds and fetta which gave it a hint of adventure. It just wasn’t boring, and after a couple of drinks, we became less boring ourselves and were joking with the waitress, who took it all in good stride. Definitely a fine start to the night, so put the Redbrick Hotel and its Fat Crab Seafood Restaurant on your date night list!
The Princess Theatre – Stage Two of Date Night Brisbane
When we arrived at The Princess Theatre there was a line out the front which moved fairly quickly and after about 15 minutes, we were in. Our ticket stated the concert was starting at 7, but upon entry, we found out the show started at 8. We had an hour to explore The Princess Theatre, which wasn’t a bad thing at all. I didn’t know much about The Princess Theatre prior to coming, but it’s a stylish, interesting place that’s perfect for a date night Brisbane adventure.
A little history
The building itself is 133 years old, making it Queensland’s oldest theatre in operation. It’s previously been home to a picture theatre, an engineering firm, a secondhand store, a paper wholesaler, a rag merchant and most recently, according to The Princess Theatre’s website, a church. Recently restored, The Princess Theatre opened to the public again in 2021 and now has a capacity for 900 standing and 500 seating. There are also allegedly four bars on site, although we only found one.
That’s okay, we only needed one bar and a fine bar it is too, with an adjacent lounging area and an outdoor courtyard/balcony. Called Fables Bar, it also functions as a café and this would be a great spot to have dinner and drinks before seeing a show. I switch-hitted and ordered a beer before Nikki and I went onto the balcony to inhale the cool night air.
Here we had a chat with a cool old guy who came by himself. He got into Hania Rani only recently too, like many of us who came tonight. It appears this little Polish piano sorceress is on the rise around the world. After chatting for a while, it was time to go in and we had seats in the mezzanine section. I highly recommend this area for a good view and of course, get the front if you can! We were in the middle but it was still a good spot.
I won’t talk about this too much as this is not what you’re here for, but I’ll just say if you get the chance to see Hania Rani in Australia, take it! This lady is mesmerising in her delivery and Nikki and I found it to be a holistic art piece – with the lighting, her voice and piano/electronics. A complete experience and it was an interesting, beautiful and passionate performance.
In all, I loved my first night at The Princess Theatre and I’m keen to return. It’s a perfect venue for a date night Brisbane experience. I haven’t tried Fables’ food but if you’re keen for some succulent seafood, try The Fat Crab, then you can wander over to The Princess Theatre and have a drink or two at Fables before your show. We loved it and I highly recommend it.
Enjoy your date night!