Lady Lex | 13 January 2016

Australia has certainly been enjoying a craft cocktail renaissance, particularly Brisbane with its uniquely quirky bar scene where crafting cocktails are an expected art form. Bars – even specialty bars – just seem to have that much more of a masculine appeal with an inclination towards a bit of debauchery and hedonism. The cocktail lounge on the other hand is most definitely the ladies domain for elegant reclining and subtly predisposed towards genteel behaviour while enjoying an expertly crafted cocktail.

Bars have been sprouting up every which way across the last year, and indeed, new places are all very exciting. But just like a fine wine or whisky, a bar requires ageing to come into its own and develop its own culture. From Constance Street in the Valley, Sway Cocktail Bar & Lounge looks to its second year in trade, having established its own sense of style across three floors and a courtyard. Previously the loading dock for the 1929 No 1 Tramway Electrical Substation and Control, the building and laneway clings to a mixed sense of history and informality. Sway neatly captures the accord of Brisbane’s past and present then ups the ante by incorporating a cosmopolitan edge. Sway brings the avant-garde clubs of the Meatpacking District of Manhattan to the Valley, where urban warehouse fuses with comfort. It’s a mellow sophistication where industrial interiors of undressed brick deftly blend with gold and neutral tones, woods, opulent metal light fittings and vintage-inspired furnishings.

Sway Cocktail Lounge & Bar Entrance
From the entrance level, chesterfields, settees, armchair thrones and velvet chaise lounges are artfully arranged into VIP spaces for commanding views of Constance Street on one way and the dancefloor on the other. With bottle service a-la Miami-Vegas style and complete with a dedicated waitress, the booths are perfect for intimate celebrations - or just to feel special. With traffic flowing consistently up and down the stairs where brick, glass and metal detail enhances that warehouse feel, the mezzanine level is the linchpin for private partying and functions as Sway turns comfort up a notch. With velvet chaise lounges focused towards the fully kitted out bar, all the excitement for larger-scale parties and celebrations are contained. The outside courtyard is the epitome of Queensland lifestyle where the alfresco atmosphere brings the outside in, blending concrete with wood and brick for an upscale neighbourhood hang. 

The Bar from Sway Cocktail Bar & Lounge
But it’s on the second floor where all the mixing action happens. The modish gold-tiled DJ booth and alabaster marble bar adorned by metal light fittings are simultaneously Sway’s centrepiece and heartland. From the bibliotèque of liquor in every hue and colour, every palate is taken care of. A premium selection of champagnes and top shelf spirits are available for refined drinkers with plenty of Australian and local wines and beers on tap for drinking palates more casually inclined. As the mainstay of the bar, an abundance of crafted cocktails are available – from the menu or simply upon request. These bar boys love to show off their skills. 

Sway Cocktail Lounge & Bar DJ Booth
Mixing skills of another dimension are available from the DJ booth, keeping spirits comfortably flowing. DJs spin the ultimate Sway deep house soundtrack of temptation and seduction where Derrick May’s ‘Strings Of Life’ feature in the same set as Jamie Jones’ ‘Summertime’ or Robin Shulz’ ‘Headlights’. From the DJ booth, it’s the perfect set up where UK dance brand Hedkandi and Chicago-born, Swedish based DJ-Producer Amir Alexander anointed the dancefloor last year with resident locals featuring on weekly rotation.

It’s a chilled extravagance that has come to Constance Street with Sway Cocktail Lounge & Bar; one that offers an array of adventures for private event and corporate functions from engagements to birthdays, celebrations and product launches as well as VIP booths for birthdays or for hens and bucks – or even simply ‘just because’. Soft lighting and great music for great atmosphere with attentive service and strong drinks are the all foundations for a great cocktail bar. It’s just all in the details that elevates that bar to a premium space.

Sway Cocktail Lounge & Bar
22 Constance Street, Fortitude Valley
07 3252 8491
Booth bookings available on
Opening hours: Thu 7pm-late, Fri 5pm-3am, Sat 7pm-3am


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