Hospitality is an industry that has felt the full effects of COVID restrictions, so we’ve decided to make this year all about supporting our local watering holes, when and where possible. We want to make sure our favourite venues continue to thrive, and let’s be honest, it’s hardly a chore! With so much variety in the bar scene – from pubs to wine and whiskey bars, through to cocktail spots or roof top bars – we’ve honed our focus on cocktail bars and diligently researched the must visit spots across our fair cities. Here are our faves…
Renowned for its hidden laneways and rooftop bars sprawled across the city; Melbourne is a real hot spot when it comes to the hottest spots! While narrowing it down to just two proved quite the task, here we have it:
The Everleigh – for a splash of style and class with your glass, head to The Everleigh. Nestled amongst the eclectic streets of Fitzroy, this intimate cocktail bar has been mixing some of Melbourne’s finest beverages for ten years now.
Nick and Nora’s – a relative newbie on the scene, this opulent cocktail, champagne, cognac, and caviar bar that channels the glamour and opulence of post prohibition soirees is a venue to behold. Set above bustling Collins Street in the CBD, you can even hone your martini making skills at one of their masterclasses.
While the lure of popular harbour and beach-side bars is strong in Sydney, we’ve taken you away from the tourist hot spots to the unsuspecting scene to be seen:
Henry Deane – touted as the crown jewel of Hotel Palisade, Henry Deane boasts a spectacular rooftop lounge bar with 360 views across Sydney Harbour and beyond. With a chic fit out, delish sharing plates and cocktails to match, it’s a hard one to beat!
The Baxter Inn – tucked away in an old loading dock in the city, this underground whiskey cellar is home to some of the best bartenders in Sydney. With a list of accolades to match the vast whiskey collection, don’t overlook their expertly made classic cocktails.
With its near perfect year-round climate, the Brissie bar scene isn’t one to take a back seat. Here are our top riverside picks:
Black Bird – bringing opulent décor and Gatsbyesque glamour to the iconic Eagle Street Pier, the expertly crafted cocktails provide the perfect pairing for uninterrupted river views.
The Terrace – taking advantage of the subtropical climate with a retractable ceiling (just like your favourite luxe sports car), The Terrace is just the place for lingering a little longer over afternoon cocktails. The focus here is on local, with local artists performing on the weekends and local liqueurs featuring prominently. The delectable selection from Tamborine Mountain Distillery will keep you busy well into the night.
Source: Concrete Playground
While most of us think of Parliament House visits when we hear Canberra, Lonely Planet has described our humble capital as “criminally overlooked” and “packing a big punch for such a small city”, and the nightlife is no exception.
Hippo Co – if you like your cocktails served with a sophisticated side of live jazz, Hippo Co is the place for you. With a vast whiskey offering (we’re talking hundreds of bottles), Hippo Co also offers tasting sessions complete with a cheese platter.
Lucky’s Speakeasy – appropriately tucked away with a secret entrance at the back of QT Hotel’s Barber Shop, Lucky’s mixes classic cocktails with cool music and sumptuous surroundings. It’s the perfect nook to hide away at the end of the day and discuss matters of the world.
Source: Australian National University
Jam packed with incredible natural wonders; you’ll want to check out these man-made wonders while you’re here:
Charlie’s of Darwin – hidden in the back alleys of Darwin’s city centre, this newbie on the scene houses its very own gin distillery alongside an insta-worthy fit out and cocktails to match. Diversifying into hand sanitizer production during the pandemic, Charlie’s of Darwin is a local favorite worthy of our support.
The Trader Bar – a contemporary cocktail bar hidden amongst a lush botanical backdrop, The Trader Bar has its focus deeply rooted in small distillery gins, quality cocktails and a seasonal wine list, all accompanied with a relaxed vibe and an impressive DJ line-up.
Source: The Fork
Dripping in art, culture, events and festivals, Hobart has a lot on offer. Here are our favourite venues to wind down after a day exploring Tassie’s thriving capital:
Evolve Spirits Bar – for the spirited amongst us, this luxury lounge bar nestled on Hobart’s historic waterfront has an extensive selection of whiskey and gin, among other spirits. Showcasing award-winning local distilleries, Evolve houses these amongst an impressive collection of unique fossils. A sure-fire way to keep the conversation flowing!
Gold Bar – hidden in an old flour mill on Hobart’s waterfront, Gold Bar is a cosy and romantic den adorned with plush red seating and pressed tin décor. Without a cocktail menu in sight, simply discuss your tastes with the expert bartenders and let them work their magic.
Source: Tailored Tasmania
Soak up the sunshine and silky sandy beaches by day; explore the thriving metropolis by night. Here’s where to head for Perth’s finest sundowners:
Foxtrot Unicorn – commanding an underground 130-year-old ex-bank vault space, Foxtrot Unicorn is a place where some of Perth’s best bartenders have united. With the goal of creating an unpretentious watering hole that is “comfortable and fun”— according to owner and award-winning barman Dimitri Rtshiladze – the focus is on vintage and irreplaceable gins and whiskeys alongside an ever-changing cocktail list that’s sure to please.
Strange Company – a reliable local haunt to accompany the setting sun, Strange Company has been shaking and stirring some of Perth’s favourite cocktails for a while now. While the secret’s well and truly out (having been voted Travellers’ Choice of 2020 on Trip Advisor), this sleek bar with tasty tapas won’t disappoint.
Source: WA Good Food Guide
While it may be known for its world-class wineries, Adelaide’s nightlife game is also strong. Here are two gems worthy of a visit:
Hains & Co – with an exterior resembling a classic London pub, the interior transports you to the cabin of a ship. With a cheeky nautical theme, Hains & Co is all about ‘lifting spirits’ through comfort food and cigars to match your stiff drink. Drop anchor at this Gilbert Place establishment and let the captain (bartender) guide you through their extensive gin, rum and whiskey offering.
Maybe Mae – while you might not find it on a typical ‘hottest bar’ list, this jewel is worth a mention. A cocktail bar sourcing ingredients and garnishes from within South Australia, this basement lounge will have you swirling your drink with the likes of local eucalypt, anise myrtle and holy basil as a garnish.
Always remember to drink responsibly while supporting our world-class local haunts.