Geeking Out at Mana Bar, Brisbane

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Long before I turned my eye to travel and travel blogging, my first passion was considerably less ‘cool’. Hell, even in a time where shows like Big Bang Theory are making it ok to be just a little bit geeky – I was flying the nerd flag and letting the world know that I had no intention of ever touching a woman.

Thank God that changed…


Before Aussie on the Road there was ‘The Known World’, a painful to look at shrine to all things nerdy. I’m loathe to share this with you lest you duct-tape me to a power pole and draw penises on my forehead in magic marker, but you can see this monument over here.

I won’t lie and say my D&Ding and video gaming are in my past. Hell, right before I headed off to Queensland I received a new D&D manual in the same mail order that brought the underwater video camera I didn’t get a chance to use.

Mana potions at Mana Bar in Brisbane
The iconic 'Mana Potion' being prepared

To Mana Bar!

When I first told my cousin David and his wife that I would be in Brisbane for a few nights as part of my Queensland Odyssey, Vanessa was quick to suggest we hit up Mana Bar together. A quick Google was all it took to convince me. Fruity cocktails, nerdy collectibles, and video games?

Be still my beating heart.


Mana Bar, located in Brisbane’s trendy Fortitude Valley, won my heart almost as soon as I walked through the door. Set up in a tiny shop front – the bar boasts six big screen televisions with consoles connected, a wall of nerd relics, and a cocktail menu which draws its inspiration from classic video game motifs and memes.

Our first port of call upon arrival was the amusingly named Come at me Bro, a passionfruit infused cocktail that wore a tempting $10 price tag that made it our go to drink for the evening.

Cocktails at the venue are typically priced – with the majority sitting around $14.


With ice cold drinks in hand we made a bee line towards the sole free console. It just so happened to be playing Mario Kart Wii, so David and I took it upon ourselves to school poor Vanessa in the fine art of power sliding, banana hurling, and Bob-omb dodging.

I’d love to give a blow by blow review of each of the cocktails we tried, but my evening (as you would expected) degenerated into something of a haze as more cocktails were consumed. A brief run-down is below:

  • Come at me Bro – Great tasting, passion-fruit based drink. Highly recommended.
  • Ocarina of Lime – Mojito. Delicious.
  • Mana Potion – One of the bar’s signature drinks. Vodka, white wine, Curacao, and apple puree make it quite sweet.
  • Cerebral Bore – We totally ordered that because it listed ‘acid’ amongst its ingredients. Inoffensive taste. Nothing to write home about.
  • Elixir of Fortitude – Apple and cinnamon based. I didn’t much like the after taste.
We also had an extra deuce of the Come at me Bro in amongst the list above, so you can probably gather that it was our favorite drink on the menu.
A mana potion and a Wii controller
Being a bit artsy and posing a cocktail glass alongside a Wii controller
It wasn’t just drinks though. We also tried our hands at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Tekken, and the very awesome (and locally made) Raskulls. This last game was a personal favorite of mine. It’s available on xBox Live Arcade and well worth a look.
Some patrons at Mana Bar playing Call of Duty
Some patrons at Mana Bar playing Call of Duty

The drinks and the games weren’t the venue’s sole selling point for me. There was a delightfully geeky crowd in attendance. I guess that can be expected when the dress code bans shorts but allows and encourages cosplay.

I know Vanessa was particularly happy about being the best looking girl in attendance. I personally enjoyed the random geekette coming up to me to compliment my glasses as part of her flirtations.

As a starting point for an evening in Fortitude Valley, Mana Bar is a pretty good option. The cost of drinks might mean it won’t make a great watering hole for an extended period of time, but high school or college Chris can think of few ways to get your pre-drink on that are better than colorful cocktails and video games.


Mana Bar is located at 420 Brunswick Street in Fortitude Valley. It’s just a short walk from popular Brisbane night spots such as Cloudland Bar and perilously close to the very awesome New York Slice chain. Why isn’t this in New South Wales yet?



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