If there was ever a venue that leaned into a sense of cheeky fun, it’s Welcome to Bowen Hills. Sister venue to Melbourne’s Welcome to Thornbury, the eclectic and sprawling Brisbane venue embraces the sunny and ridiculous fun that comes on the weekend.
This isn’t a moody and dimly-lit den for hushed conversation – rather, this is a bar for chowing down on burgers, catching up with mates, and enjoying the sunshine with four-legged friends.
For those not in the know (or for those without an internet connection to the rock they live under), Welcome to Bowen Hills is an indoor/outdoor mix of food truck park, bar, beer garden, diner, and function space.
The collection of bars and fun-time zones is found in the heritage-listed Dairy Hall and Sugar Building at EKKA, so one can expect nods to the space’s past by way of exposed bricks, rustic paint finishes, and surface treatments.
The location of Welcome to Bowen Hills is actually one of the venue’s best features, in the eyes of event manager Casey Hurst. “King St is becoming a foodie destination unto itself, which is great. It’s close to Fortitude Valley and within walking distance to some great spots, with new exciting retailers popping up regularly.”
The rotating roster of food trucks mean that the food offerings at Welcome to Bowen Hills are constantly changing. And that in turns means scope for some delightfully specific curated afternoons of themed food ‘festivals’.
Similar to Welcome to Thornbury, the events calendar at Welcome to Bowen Hills ranges from garlic bread festivals to vegan events, from mulled wine + hot cheese festivals to burger invitationals. AND trivia nights, and even a tiny dog festival. It’s all there.
According to Casey, the two ‘Welcome to’ venues share ideas for their rotating calendar of events. “We put a Queensland spin to the festivals, with the help of our amazing Melbourne team.”
Recently? Welcome to Bowen Hills saw food trucks slinging chicken nuggets of all shapes and sizes for the first Brisbane Chicken Nugget Festival – complete with ‘Nugfarer’ beer by Green Beacon, and a Cointreau Garden.
And – listen up, lovers of floofers and doggos – the recent tiny dog festival was especially huge. Think tiny dog race, ‘tiniest adult dog’ competition, and a dress-up showdown.
“Oh my god, there were so many tiny dogs!” Casey laughs. “We had heaps of people asking us, ‘what about the big dogs?’, so we actually ended up having a big dog festival the next day. It was insane!”
With such an eclectic collection of events, and an eclectic range of event spaces, it goes without saying that Welcome to Bowen Hills is well-suited to host events of hugely varying size and scope.
Casey’s hot tips: “Our Carousel area is a fun space, that’s great if you have kids attending an event. The games keep them amused, so it’s a great spot for a baby shower.”
“And the Lovers Lane is a private space that’s still casual, so it’s perfect for after-work drinks.”
Casual groups (who aren’t in need of an exclusive space) will find plenty of sections of the venue to use, including a laneway area with heaps of flexible furniture and easy access to the bar. Which, obviously, is vital.
Those planning milestone birthdays, engagement parties or Christmas parties will find use of the Swill Bar as their best bet. Comfortably fitting up to 150 guests, this one’s just launched a new beverage package offering – plus, it’s a stylish, open and airy space.
“It’s great for Christmas parties that are in need of something a little different. All of our catering comes from the food vans, which adds a touch of fun to any event. We also offer ‘Truck Bucks’, which is essentially fake money that allows guests to pick and choose from any of our rotating food traders.”
Used exclusively, the multi-space, indoor/outdoor venue is able to accommodate up to 1000 guests, something of a rarity in Brisbane – especially if the event requires a venue that isn’t a hotel ballroom.
The team have seen some pretty next-level creative events so far, but there’s still plenty of scope for what the venue can do “I’d LOVE to see a wedding at Bowen Hills! The food truck craze for weddings is huge at the moment, so this would be the perfect spot to tie the knot if you’re into something unique and casual.”
For now, it’s that mulled wine and hot cheese festival coming up, a gin club, along with regular BYO dog nights. And of course, the many, many Christmas parties and and of year office celebrations hurtling towards us on the horizon.
Welcome to Bowen Hills is available for events large and small, via Venuemob. Send ‘em an enquiry today and lock in that event you’re pondering >>