Saccharomyces Beer Café – A Fish Lane Bar with Style

Fish Lane is a fun little place to explore just south of Brisbane’s CBD. It’s home to excellent street art, a decent selection of restaurants, cafes and it’s a pretty lane for a wander at night. It’s also home to an inconspicuous haven with a boutique selection of beer called Saccharomyces Beer Café. As I found out just the other night, this little Fish Lane bar is worthy of more than just a quick beer stop.

Saccharomyces Beer Cafe

I’ve popped into Saccharomyces Beer Café a few times in the past, had a beer and nicked off. I did the same the other night and when I didn’t love the place I left it for, I decided I’d return and make a night of it. So, I organised for five of us (including me) to explore the beer, food, and take a closer look.

What Does Saccharomyces mean?

Being quite an unusual name for a bar, I had to ask the barman several times how to pronounce it and I still got it wrong (see my video at the end). Anyway, saccharomyces is a Greek word referring to a species of yeast that relates to sugar. Of course, this is crucial in the creation of alcohol!

The front of Saccharomyces Beer Cafe – Fish Lane

Saccharomyces’ website states that this seemingly insignificant fungus has the power to turn something ordinary into the extraordinary, which is what they’re modelling themselves on. I like that, and while it might not be the catchiest, most memorable name for a bar, this Fish Lane bar entices you to say SBC for short (written on a plaque out the front), or, you could just learn the name. The pronunciation (I found out later) is sacro-my-sees.

The Atmosphere

Saccharomyces Beer Cafe seems unassuming upon entry. It’s a comfy place, being non-pretentious, with a warmth that pervades friendliness and simplicity. There’s basic furniture, a pinball machine, pot plants hanging about, loads of beer stickers or coasters (I’m not sure which) on the rafters, and the place has a brick shell that’s fairly exposed to the atmosphere of Fish Lane.

More importantly, this Fish Lane bar has an impressive beer selection (as you would expect) and tap range down the far end, with current specials on two blackboards – one behind the bar and one just to the left. Back down the other end of the bunker-like building, the tiny kitchen is hidden away and it’s a novelty to see the staff and the cook occasionally appear from this hidden recess to remind you that there’s a kitchen in there, somewhere.

Our crew on a quieter Thursday night

In all, Saccharomyces offers punters a beer adventure with a casual setting, which is surprisingly close to the action of the city.  

The Beer (& Other Bevvies)

This Fish Lane Bar was created by beer lovers, so you’d expect the beer to be good. Those two blackboards at the bar I mentioned earlier are filled with options. One thing I noticed upon entry is that Saccharomyces only sells pots and schooners. No pints! I’m typically a pint drinker but I think having several schooners saved me a bit in the end. Some of the beer is pretty strong!

Some decent beers on offer!

After a chat with the barman I had a taste of a porter, which was a tad chocolatey and a bit lighter for a stout. It was tasty but not what I felt like. So I started the innings with a Seven Mile West Coast IPA, which clocks in at 7.5%. Probably a good thing they weren’t serving up pints! This went down smoothly. It was full of flavour with hints of malt and for a strong beer, it wasn’t too bitter.

Seven Mile West Coast IPA

Stewy, one of our party, was enjoying a Philter Hazy IPA, and as he wholeheartedly recommended that, I dived in for round two at this Fish Lane Bar. This one was a tad weaker at 6%, but more to my liking. Still, a pretty strong drop, although more full-bodied with the fruity, mandarin sediment floating amidst the haze.

Philter Hazy IPA

The Philter Hazy IPA was also carbonated to perfection and after one of these, I felt a tad tipsy. Check out my video at the end to see just that! I enjoyed this one so much that I paid it another visit before the night was out. As Saccharomyces is a specialty beer café, I’ll certainly have to return several times and sample more options to get a full appreciation for this beer-loving café!

Other Tap Drinks at this Fish Lane Bar

Saccharomyces Beer Café has other tap drinks available for you non-beer lovers, such as alcoholic ginger beer, cider, and seltzer. I haven’t tried any of these, so let me know if you have. While this place is predominantly for beer lovers, patrons can flavour a decent selection of wine and spirits. Check out Saccharomyces’ website for more details.

The Food

Saccharomyces pumps out some surprisingly decent options from its kitchen. I say surprisingly, as the kitchen is tiny. I’ve been a pescetarian for over 25 years, so I went with the vegan-ball baguette, which had mini vegan-balls with slaw, red onion, sundried tomato, gravy and wedges. As you can see from the pic, this was substantial and therefore pretty filling. It was also uber-tasty, not too wet or dry and the wedges were the crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle kind.

My vegan-ball baguette
Wedges with Chipotle mayo and some kind of green (but tasty) dressing!

While this Fish Lane bar is not focused on food, it accommodates nicely for a night out. Food our party ordered included a meatball baguette, lamb and chips, fried chicken, and meatballs and salad. One friend Amanda said the meatballs were amazing. Stewy said his lamb was lip-smackingly good, although fatty, and Nessy loved her fried chicken, which I admit looked pretty appetising! Saccharomyces allegedly gets its food inspiration from the beer cafes in Europe.

Stew about to enjoy his lamb & chips
Nessy’s fried chicken & wedges

The Service

We encountered no problems with the service. In all, the people here were friendly and relaxed, yet competent. The food came out timely and was delivered with a grin. However, where the service particularly shined, was at the bar, where the boys were more than happy to impart their knowledge and give you a taste of what’s currently on offer. I asked a few questions and they asked me what I typically like to drink and made some recommendations.

Casual, friendly service at Saccharomyces Beer Cafe bar

I also loved how the guys here didn’t make a fuss over you too much, but just enough. This is a relaxed beer café and it’s nice you’re given space to digest your surroundings, and your beer.


Saccharomyces Beer Café holds regular trivia nights every Wednesday at 7pm. I’ve seen it pretty packed here, so if this is your thing, get in for a slightly earlier session. This Fish Lane bar has loads of other events too, such as Scandinavian weekends, where they partner with Mikkeller and Copehagen’s WarPigs Brewpub to serve Scandinavian beers.

The Saccharomyces Beer Cafe pinball machine

Saccharomyces also hosts a ‘Belgian Beer Week’ – their biggest annual event –  and there’s a ‘Sunday Sour Sesh’ coming up, as well as a Hottest 100 Tunes & Brews event, and much more. Check out Saccharomyces events calendar here to find out what’s currently on. As I’ve mentioned, there’s also a pinball machine tucked away out back for some mild-mannered retro entertainment.

A Bit of History

With a passion for European beer, Simon Booy hatched his dream in 2015 and opened up Saccharomyces Beer Cafe in Fish Lane, which was inspired by the beer halls he’d visited in Germany. While initially plagued with a few setbacks, Simon managed to make it happen by getting one of the city’s first small hotel licences. He’s since grown Saccharomyces from a Fish Lane bar that served 10 beers on tap, to 17, while adding increasingly more local flavours to his arsenal, along with a larger range of spirits and cocktails.

Final Thoughts

If you like laid-back, friendly, European-style bars with an excellent variety of beer, then definitely pay Saccharomyces Beer Café a visit. As you can probably tell by this point (unless you’ve just skipped to this part), we loved it! The food is decent enough that you can make a night of it here with dinner, friends and even tack on some trivia for a fun night out in the city. You’ll probably also learn something about beer while you’re here. And while it’s predominantly a beer lovers haven, try out the cider, ginger beer and seltzer on tap, which my crew reports are pretty darn good!

A Few Fast Facts

  • Saccharomyces Beer Café is located in South Brisbane, in Fish Lane, near the corner of Merivale Street.
  • This Fish Lane bar is open from 3pm – 10pm Monday to Thursday, 4pm – 9:30 on Friday, 12am – 12pm on Saturday, and 12pm – 8pm on Sunday.
  • Unfortunately, there are not a lot of gluten-free food options at Saccharomyces.
  • Saccharomyces also has a takeaway bottle shop here and in Taringa. However, if this is inconvenient, you can also order your booze online!

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