Wait, is this Ipswich… or Melbourne?

There's a great vibe emerging on the heritage city's dining and coffee scene these days.
Mike Hilburger, Photographer

The stately red-brick façade of 88 Limestone belies the spirited goings-on behind when we arrive on a Friday afternoon.

Pumpyard Bar & Brewery, Ipswich, Queensland

Once we take a few steps from the footpath and head down the laneway, a whole new world reveals itself in the heart of the heritage precinct. Sitting at one of the alfresco tables outside Pumpyard Bar & Brewery – the home of 4 Hearts Brewing – you could easily be forgiven for thinking you’ve teleported right into a hip Melbourne dining precinct.

Pumpyard Bar & Brewery, Ipswich, Queensland

This Friday night, the place is pumping with great beer flowing and live music setting the scene for the night ahead. The upbeat crowd spills from indoor tables to those outside.

Pumpyard Bar & Brewery, Ipswich, Queensland

Pumpyard is so named for the pumpyard that once operated on this site, distributing water to the city. The buildings themselves came later, early in the 1900s, when the Ipswich Technical College opened.

A growler from 4Hearts Brewing

After sampling a whole bunch of tasty brews (and picking up a growler of their finest for later) we make our way next door to Dovetails Restaurant restaurant. The big welcoming dining deck wrapping around a huge old tree, had our name all over it.

Dovetails Restaurant, Ipswich, Queensland

The great ambience was topped off by terrific service and a delightful menu.

Oysters at Dovetails, Ipswich, Queensland

The next day we visit Rafter & Rose and are again blown away by the contemporary ambience in another historic space.

Rafter & Rose, Ipswich, Queensland

Rafter and Rose was recently voted in Queensland’s top 50 cafes and it’s easy to see why. The cabinet is heaving with good things and there are supplies of homemade preserves and organic produce for sale, adding to the wholesome vibe.

The laneway at Rafter & Rose, Ipswich, Queensland

Great coffee and a hearty breakfast sets us up for another day of exploring the heritage city. Ipswich, that is, not Melbourne.

Pumpkins for sale at Rafter & Rose, Ipswich.

Hungry for more on the Ipswich food scene? Check out this list of Ipswich restaurants and cafes.

Mike Hilburger Photographer
Mikey Hilburger has had a few jobs – including camel breaker, trawlerman and gold miner but it is his 30 odd years behind a camera that have really shaped his life. He has shot for metropolitan newspapers as well as national and international publications, and worked extensively in film and TV – on camera and behind it. He’s also a founding member of the infamous Shank Brothers BBQ team and the mad genius behind Picklehead Pickles. Never a dull moment!

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