Enjoy the nightlife in James St at New Farm during James Street Up Late on March 30.
Enjoy the nightlife in James St at New Farm during James Street Up Late on March 30.

Brisbane has an avenue to rival the world's most glamorous

THERE are streets around the world famous just for being streets of glamour: Champs-Elysees in Paris, La Rambla in Barcelona, Orchard Rd in Singapore.

Now, I'd like to add another. James St in Brisbane.

While James St in New Farm does not enjoy global recognition (yet), I reckon it's up there with some of the world's most enjoyable streets to explore and immerse yourself in.

James St has everything: more high-end shops than you could possibly give your attention to, trendy bars, stylish restaurants, cutting-edge art galleries and fairy lights aplenty to let you know this place is about celebrating the good life.

With the opening of the boutique hotel Sage in the very heart of things, you have a charming base to explore this world-class street. Just step outside Sage's doors (after admiring the green living garden wall) and you are in the middle of everything.

Food and drink call to most people first-up and with cafes and coffee shops at every few steps you could become confused.

Take your time, poke your nose into a few and then get to Gerard's Bar hidden down a cute laneway for a breakfast of Baghdad eggs or spanner crab omelette with Persian sauce. Going back for a pre-dinner drink over a plate of charcuterie is something to think about as you leave with contented belly to carry on your mission to explore.

At the eclectic bookstore Scrumptious Reads it's not just books that draw you in. A Matcha tea ceremony where you brew your own gives a little insight into the gracious tea ceremonies of Japan, and adds to the international vibe of the street.

At Camilla the floaty, beaded kaftans are being scrutinised and bought by a crowd of discerning women. Across the road at Sass and Bide it's the same story: beautiful clothes with exquisite detail and big price tags drawing in the crowds.

The Bollinger goes down a treat from 11am onwards at Cru Bar, and judging by the number of bottoms plonked on the window seats it is perfectly acceptable to imbibe at this hour.

You could go stir-crazy afterwards next door at Wheel and Barrow where something from their homewares display demands to be purchased - your inner domestic goddess says so.

Dinosaur Designs with its hand-crafted resin accessories and products has opened its flagship store in James St, not bad considering it already has stores in New York, London and Sydney.

At TWFINEART down yet another hidden lane, the space is contemporary and the art leading-edge - a Marcus Boelen exhibition during our visit.

Next Thursday between 6pm and 8pm the street will be even more alive for James Street Up Late, an evening of VIP shopping where some of Australia's best designers visit their respective stores to meet and mingle and offer super specials.

Presented by Marie Claire, the big names attending include Adrian Norris and Edwina Robinson of Aje, Lucy Folk at Camargue, Louise Olsen of Dinosaur Designs, Daniel Oliver at Assembly Label and Brisbane-based fashion stars Gail Sorronda and Natasha Chipman ... and that's just a little fashion name-dropping.

If exploring this seductive street tires you, just a couple of steps up from Sage hotel is the fragrant and tranquil Waterlilly spa where a rebalancing youth elixir facial will solve all the world's problems.

The writer was a guest of Sage. Find out more about Brisbane school holiday activities and accommodation in next week's edition of Weekend.



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