It’s Tuesday evening in a Highgate Hill apartment and three girls, three housemates, are looking for a little spot for a mid-week cocktail-drizzled rendezvous. We want somewhere new, somewhere different. We often stay very local, opting for Boundary Street and its abundance of great food and great value. But tonight we’re keen for a little adventuring a bit further from home.  It’s finally not raining, and the lure of somewhere a little closer to the water is attractive to us tonight.

And see the thing is… I’ve been hearing whispers.

Whispers, snippets and street talk about a new spot on Little Stanley St in South Bank … somewhere a little high-end, a little exclusive and somewhere where special passwords can be uttered for VIP access. I am intrigued, I can’t help it. I want in and I want to know if the rumours are true. …‘There’s a new speakeasy in town and it’s worth checking out….’

So I’m pulled in the direction of Next Door Kitchen and Bar by some desire to be a part of this world.

It’s around 7pm and the rain has returned… but South Bank is buzzing regardless (not that I am surprised, more impressed) as it kind of confirms that it’s the place to be on a Tuesday night – so many choices of amazing cuisines from around the globe. In one night you can go to Turkey, to Spain and now, to New York.

We sit inside; Next Door Kitchen is warm and dimly lit. We choose a leather booth and I feel like I could quite comfortably sink into my surroundings. My girlfriends and I travelled to New York last year and we cant help but remark how much we feel Next Door Kitchen reminds us of being there again. This is a great feeling!

We order a bottle of Grillo (which soon becomes two) and our conversation and our giggles get louder until I’m quite sure we become the most raucous table in the 70-seater establishment by far.

But no one bothers us, in fact, I think our waitress is quite amused, and as we reminisce about our New York adventures from 7 months ago, it’s almost like for a brief time, we are back there…

Next Door Kitchen and Bar opened in December and offers something I believe, that nowhere else in Brisbane does. Inspired by the speakeasy culture of the 1920s, the cocktail menu is divided into three prohibition categories – Moonshine and Marketplace, Bootleggers and Baptists and Housemade Hooch. There is a big emphasis on sharing, which makes for the perfect spot for group dining. Our dishes are delicious and different – Gangster Wings are a dish worth mentioning!

And as the night wears on we find ourselves wishing we could stay in the 1920s. But a glance at our watches tells us its time to hang up our heels, at least for tonight.

We leave Next Door Kitchen vowing to be back, perhaps regularly, perhaps with a bigger group, perhaps for a special occasion.  Or maybe just to feel like we are back in a Manhattan Bar for a night…

Because it’s amazing what you can find just around a corner, just next door.