Where to go for after-work drinks in Brisbane CBD

From drinking cocktails on rooftop bars to sinking beers and billiards in underground music dens – Brisbane City offers no shortage of variety in its nightlife.

During the week, knock off for aperritivo, on Fridays kick on with co-workers and on weekends come in with a date for riverside drinks.

Raise your glass to the 5.01pm club!

Riverside bars

Bar Pacino Outdoor Terrace
Bar Pacino

There’s nothing better than being by the river for sunset. Join big crowds down near Eagle Street Pier for after-work drinks at ever-popular Riverbar or at Friday’s, which offers (you guessed it) Friday happy-hour specials. Nearby Bar Pacino has uninterrupted views of the Story Bridge and Nutella shots, Pony can quickly turn after-work drinks into dinner, Mr & Mrs G's is a glass bubble on the riverfront with great views, and BlackBird puts the opulence back in riverside drinking.

Customs House Sunset Spritz pop-up bar

Until Christmas, Customs House has a pop-up Aperol Spritz bar on the leafy terrace with views to the Story Bridge. Expect live music some nights, and from 5-6pm on Wednesdays canapes are free.

Laneway vibes 

Couple enjoying a drink outside The Gresham
The Gresham

Brisbane’s Burnett Lane is heaving with small bars, cafes and street art. Drop into Brew for drinks in the original laneway dive bar, stop into split-level Super Whatnot, and drink local at Felix. Nearby in Gresham Lane, Red Hook is the spot for cheeky cocktails or American brews and a burger; and next door The Gresham is the ultimate whisky bar.

Brooklyn Standard
Brooklyn Standard

At Eagle Lane down near Eagle Street Pier, Brooklyn Standard is the spot for a boogie, with neighbour Chingon serving authentic tacos and tequila. Other hidden spots include John Mills Himself, which operates as a bar by night; Corbett & Claude is all about pizza and espresso martinis; and down Spencer Lane The Laneway is the creatively named bar tucked at the end.

Music and karaoke bars

Sonny's House of Blues

With live music seven nights a week, Brooklyn Standard is pretty hard to beat in terms of a rollicking good time. With Brooklyn Lager on tap, free table pretzels and music that gets you on your feet dancing – drag your co-workers in for a boogie. If it’s the blues (and beyond) that get you in the mood, head to Sonny’s House of Blues. Little sibling to Lefty’s, the underground laneway bar features a live music bill five nights a week and serves an American-inspired fast food menu. There is no cover charge.

Put your vocal chords to good use with your best rendition of Queen, Beyonce and John Farnham at Fat Louie’s private karaoke rooms. The drinks are cheap and they also have pool tables.

Rooftop bars

Next Hotel
Lennons Rooftop at Next Hotel

Do bubbly drinks taste better the higher up you sip them? Only one way to find out that doesn’t involve asking Dr Karl – to the rooftop! Take your drinking 30 storeys high at Sazerac, the classy cocktail bar above the Four Points by Sheraton building. Just off Queen Street Mall, Lennons Rooftop Terrace overlooks the shopping strip with plenty of resort-style seating by the pool for quiet conversations.


Stock Exchange Rooftop

An oldie but a goodie, the Stock Exchange Rooftop Bar is a large, fairy-light lit terrace with drink specials on Fridays. Newbie to the city, Sixteen Antlers is – you guessed it – on the 16th floor of the Pullman and Mecure Hotel near King George Square and will be the hip place to be seen this summer.

Top pubs and brewhouses

Buffalo Bar
Buffalo Bar

Does your hard-earned thirst call for a classic pub experience? The Port Office, Transcontinental Hotel, Embassy, Stock Exchange and Grand Central all fall into this category, with many undergoing renovations in the past few years. Also try the Pig ‘n’ Whistle in the middle of Queen Street Mall (it’s open 24/7) or the one down at Eagle St. 

Nearby Eagle St, the Bavarian Bier Café will sort you out with a stein and piping-hot pretzel, Mr Edwards Alehouse with Coopers brews, and the Buffalo Bar with wings and whiskey.

Whisky bars

Nant Whisky Bar
Nant

Whisky or whiskey? More like which bar will you hit next? Tasmanian whisky distiller Nant has a specialty bar on Edward St, while The Gresham specialises in the golden drop and took out top bar in the country at the Australian Bartender Awards in both 2015 and 2016.

Within Buffalo Bar head to Hank’s Whiskey Bar to find barrel-aged and infused spirits, and within restaurant Malt you’ll find a glowing wall of whisky.

Irish bars

Irish Murphy's
Irish Murphys

Brisbane CBD is home to the most Irish pubs in the whole city. Bar hop between them or make friends with a schooner of Guinness at Gilhooleys, Irish Murphys or Mick O’Malleys. You’ll be dancing a jig in no time at all.

Wine bars

thecrofthouse
Croft House

Don’t make friends with salad, but do make friends with fruit salad … that has been fermented … and is made entirely of grapes. Get your glass of vino at Italian tapas joint Coppa Spuntino (pair a red with a plate of prosciutto for a winning combo); Grape Therapy has the wine library you want and need; Strauss is a cafe by day, wine bar by night; and Croft House does epic cheese and chacuterie boards that are best eaten with wine.

On the fourth floor of 480 Queen St, OTTO Bar offers a thoroughly Italian-influenced wine novel and casual dining on the terrace. 

Food and booze

Chignon
Chingon

If you didn’t cave in to a 3pm sweet treat (Noosa Chocolate, I Heart Brownies and Dello Mano have our hearts) you might be hungry come 5pm. Pair after-work drinks with food at Miss Kay’s burger bar, a margarita with tacos at Chingon, chicken wings at Buffalo Bar and loaded fries at Santa Monica.

Already mentioned, Red Hook, Coppa Spuntino, Riverbar, Pony, Sonny’s and Brew also boast a solid menu of eats.

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