Dutch Courage Officers' Mess | Be Courageous
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The Dutch Courage Story

Hold on to your pith helmets, comrades, and be transported back to a period in history when explorers of new frontiers would face adventure with a sense of humour, where military formality during the day gave way to carefree partying and socialising at night, and campaign tents and mess halls were the place to be.

Welcome to Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess, a place where good food, good drinks and good times are celebrated.

Set over two storeys, DC’s lower level is kitted out with vintage campaign furniture, hessian curtains and authentic safari touches. Here, the Main Bar offers a comprehensive and innovative cocktail menu and boasts an impressive 240+ strong spirit collection, including over 100 gins, craft beer on tap, wine & champagne.

Upstairs is a unique plantation-style mezzanine, complete with its own dedicated bar and ideal for dining, larger groups and function bookings.

Open until the early hours on Fridays and Saturdays and midnight mid-week, DC is also the ultimate late-night hot spot for nocturnal explorers who love live music and resident DJs spinning house, funk & disco.

Discover Dutch Courage, dine in relaxed colonial style, enjoy an original cocktail creation from our experienced bartenders, listen to good music, let your hair down and party with friends.


Dining at DC is about fresh flavours delivered with passion, and a genuine desire to connect with diners through the food on their plate.

Embark on a culinary journey of discovery, with Dutch’s original menu drawing on the spices and cooking methods from the length of the continent. Explore your adventurous side and feast on house-made confit duck empanadas, beetroot & gin-cured gravlax or for something more substantial, peri-peri king prawns with Mozambique hot sauce or wild boar pappardelle ragout.

Savour your DC dining experience upstairs on our colonial-inspired mezzanine, overlooking the main bar. This unique dining environment offers a dedicated bar and provides an ideal space for  larger groups and function bookings.



When it comes to good drinks, DC is all about adventure, exploration, experimentation and fun!

Our DC bartenders have a strong pedigree of delivering quality drinks minus the arrogance. We love that and so will you. Whether it be a dry gin martini, old-fashioned or something custom-made just the way you like it, we always say YES!

In addition to our original cocktails, our 120-strong list of gins is sure to turn heads and get tongues wagging. Gone are the days of the stuffy London Dry bottle collecting dust behind the bar. We’re turning old-hat notions of Gin on its head by showcasing top-of-the-range tipples from distillers in Australia, US and Europe. Get ready to embark on a journey of discovery with our exciting range of contemporary gins across the flavour spectrum!

Be Courageous and experience one of these daring DC Gins…

  • Hoxton (grapefruit, coconut)
  • Brockmans (blueberry, blackberry)
  • Ophir (cumin, chilli)
  • Gin Mare (olive, basil, rosemary)
  • Audemus Pink Pepper (honey, vanilla, pepper)

Mix with one of seven tonic waters including Fever Tree, Fentimans & Quina Fina.




Matthew Hilan, Managing Director of Dutch Courage

So Who’s in Charge Here?

Get to know our Managing Director extraordinaire, Matthew Hilan!

The driving force behind Dutch Courage is our owner and Managing Director, Matthew Hilan. Leading the charge when it comes to all things Gin in Brisbane, and no doubt inspired by his time in the air force, Matthew opened Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess. Influenced by British-colonial outposts and exploring the big wide world, Matthew’s vision was for a ‘let your hair down’ haven with a vintage, classy feel.

“Dutch Courage is about socialising and celebrating good times with your comrades over a cocktail, gin and a delicious meal,” he says. “When it comes to décor, we’re all about unwinding in a unique, stylish and pretty eccentric space. Dutch’s two storey setting is inspired by the campaign tents and mess halls of 19th century colonial Asia and Africa.” Cue hessian curtains, vintage maps, spinning globes and the odd ceramic tiger!

Choosing is always hard, but if he had to pick favourites out of all our offerings, Matthew’s a sucker for every single one of our 120 gins, loves the variety of our Admiral’s tasting board and is always ready for one of our bathtub cocktails! He’s also pretty excited about Dutch Courage’s position in the ever transforming Fortitude Valley. “I love how the area’s changing from the Valley of old and becoming more diverse,” he says, “with a range of potential experiences across food and beverage, entertainment, day and night, grunge and class.”

So, if you see Matthew around (we can guarantee you will), stop for a chat, quiz him about those 120 gins or offer a bite of your Admiral’s Board!

The Perfect Martini

By John Little

Let’s start with the basics, if you want a passable, totally acceptable dry martini, it’s actually very easy. However, like most simple things, it’s very easy to do it right but even easier to do it wrong.

Start with pouring 60ml of quality London dry gin (I like Tanqueray) and 10ml of quality dry vermouth (again Noilly Prat for choice) into an appropriate mixing vessel. Stir for ten seconds over reasonably sized ice (any direction) and strain into preferred glass. Garnish with whatever you desire; olives or a citrus twist traditionally. There will be no coating of the ice and straining, rimming the glass with the vermouth or other ‘techniques’ employed by ‘bartenders’. The vermouth needs to remain in the drink unless specifically asked for by Winston Churchill himself. Simple, easy, and literally the perfect drink… can’t go wrong with that!

However, the “Perfect Martini”, and not perfect in the terms of sweet to dry vermouth ratio (little bartender joke there), but perfect in the common vernacular, is obviously a subjective measure. The martini is a little bit like art, music and lingerie: we all know what we like (or at least we should). My “Perfect Martini” is as follows. It’s a bit left of centre, a bit of fun, more Paris than London, more de Sade than Churchill and absolutely delicious.

We’ll start with the gin. In this case, it’s one of the best distilled gins we’ve ever encountered, the Audemus Pink Pepper.  From the Cognac region of France, it’s an absolutely astonishing drop, produced using ultra-modern distillation and infusion techniques. With the piquant notes of its eponymous pink pepper up front, smoothed out by the seductive back notes of tonka and vanilla beans, it maintains an incredible freshness and lightness on the weight of the palate.

Having found this almost perfect gin, we move onto the vermouth. Taking some beautiful Alsatian pinot gris, we then reduce it over a low heat with various complimentary aromatics (in this case vanilla and coffee beans, lemon peel, coriander seeds and strawberries). Once the aromatised wine has reduced sufficiently (by about half), we fortify it with a light cognac and some mathematics to achieve an ABV of 18%. Then, when the first stage of the vermouth is finished, we utilise nitrous oxide pressure vessels (cream guns) with bagged chips of aged American oak to finalise the vermouth with a toasted coconut finish (rather than ageing for twelve months or more in actual barrels).

Once the vermouth is completed, we combine, at a ratio of six to two to one. We combine 60mL Audemus gin, 20mL distilled water and 10mL of our customised vermouth respectively in a sealed container and leave to rest and chill to exactly three degrees Celsius. At this point our perfect martini is almost complete. All that remains is to briefly agitate the container and then pour 90ml into an appropriate glass, garnishing with dehydrated strawberry crisps.



Dutch Courage Martini


Situated in the sought after Alfred St precinct, Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess offers a unique and exciting venue for your next private event.

With its dedicated mezzanine level designed for your privacy and including your own, exclusive bar, Dutch Courage offers a function destination like no other. Soak up the DC atmosphere all in the comfort of your private, designated event space.

DC can cater to small groups of 15, up to larger groups of 130.

Function packages including drinks, canapés/platters, cocktail or sit-down arrangements are available. (Conditions may apply depending on date and time of your event.)

The DC Mezzanine is an ideal space to host the following events:

  • Product launches
  • Corporate functions
  • Private events
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Christmas parties
  • Birthdays
  • Engagements

Let us tailor a DC experience for you. Talk to us!



G/F 51 Alfred St
Fortitude Valley
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Email: info@dutchcourage.com.au
Phone: +61 (07) 3852 4838

Opening Hours
Tue Thu: 4:00 pm  12:00 am
Fri Sat: 4:00 pm  3:00 am
Sun: 4:00 pm  12:00 am

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