The 40 best bars in Brisbane - Visit Brisbane

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The 40 best bars in Brisbane

Updated: 19 July 2021

The good news is, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to bars in Brisbane. 

The even better news is we have done our due diligence (you’re welcome) and put together a list of the best.

Whether you’re fresh to Brisbane or are a local looking for a new hang-out – this list of Brisbane’s award-winning bars, bars we love and those that are well-tried and tested is designed to give you the best options to suit your tastes and guarantee a good time.

Brisbane City  |  South Bank  |  Fortitude Valley  |  Paddington, Caxton + Milton  | South Brisbane, West End + Woolloongabba | Everywhere Else

BRISBANE CITY

The Gresham

Brisbane’s favourite whisky saloon took out the National Australian Bar of the Year at the 2019 Australian Bartender Magazine Awards and Australian Industry Awards. Sink into a chesterfield lounge, rest your whisky on a table made of rich mahogany and take in the old-world charm of the heritage-listed building it’s housed in.

Location: Brisbane City

Good for: Sophisticated catch-ups and tasting whiskies stocked nowhere else in Australia

What to drink: Whisky, Whisky, Whisky

The Boom Boom Room

Beneath the Sichuan flavours of Donna Chang, The Boom Boom Room is serving opulent cocktails within the heritage-listed buildings' old bank vaults. No need to lift a finger (except to tap along to the jazz, soul and blues tunes filling the air) as the venue offers bottle service and feeds the hungry.

Location: Brisbane City

Good for: Groups of two-to-four at most

What to drink: Bespoke cocktails

Arcadium Adventures

Want to show off your sleuthing skills? Arcadium Adventures brings immersive escape room experiences into their speakeasy-style bar. Your team has 50 minutes to work together to solve the puzzles and unravel the mysteries. While you're at it, discover a special range of cocktails inspired by their adventures.

Location: Brisbane City

Good for: You and your equally curious friends

What to drink: Cocktails inspired by adventures

Mr Percival's

This hexagonal-shaped over-water bar sits under the iconic Story Bridge with incredible skyline views back to the Brisbane CBD. Drop in for a lazy day on the deck, aperitif's at sunset and live music to ease you into the night.

Location: Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane City

Good for: Friendly catch ups with a view

What to drink: Any one of the several Spritz variants

Felons Brewing Co.

Tucked in an old warehouse under the Story Bridge, Felons is the Brisbane CBD's very own microbrewery. Sitting on the riverbank in the Howard Smith Wharves precinct, drop in for a locally brewed ale and pizza.

Location: Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane City

Good for: Brews and views

What to drink: Craft beer

Coppa Spuntino

Feel like it’s all been there, done that when it comes to Italian dining? Coppa serves modern Italian tapas and a wine list of primarily Italian drops with river and Story Bridge views. Grab a seat at the bar for two, order a plate of freshly sliced prosciutto and pick a vino, or a cocktail, we recommend the negroni – now that’s the perfect aperitivo hour.

Location: Brisbane City

Good for: Drinks with your special human or small groups of friends to drink and dine

What to drink: Negroni or Italian wine

The Wet Deck

Sip on a #sunshinestateofmind cocktail and make a splash poolside at the WET Deck at the W Brisbane. This bar offers epic riverside views and luxury sun lounges to make you feel like it's summer-time all the time. The bar menu has something for every appetite, making it the perfect place to sip your afternoon away.

Location: Brisbane City

Good for: Bar eats and drinks with friends

What to drink: Nothing but cocktails (or perhaps a little wine as well)

Blackbird

Blackbird brings the Gatsbyesque glitz and the glam to the river’s edge. Located at Eagle Street Pier, this opulent space has elevated and uninterrupted views of the Story Bridge and Brisbane River. Each prohibition era inspired cocktail is a work of art served with theatrical flair.

Location: Brisbane City, Eagle Street Pier

Good for: Dressing up for a night out in The City

What to drink: Blackbird Zombie or Roaring 20's

Jade Buddha

Head to Jade Buddha for spectacular river views and a menu to match. A fusion of East meets West will satisfy any cravings, while the extensive cocktail and wine list will leave you wanting to soak up those views for hours on end.

Location: Brisbane City, Eagle Street Pier

Good for: Casual eats & drinks with stunning river views

What to drink: A glass of wine or a cocktail

Mr & Mrs G

This glass bubble of a bar is perched on the edge of Eagle Street Pier with sweeping views of the river and Story Bridge. Settle into the comfortable lounges and watch the sun go down as you wet your whistle with classic and inventive cocktails. 

Location: Brisbane City

Good for: Cocktails with sweeping views of the Story Bridge

What to drink: A G original cocktail

Super Whatnot

Tucked away in Burnett Lane off the bustling Queen Street Mall, Super Whatnot is a small bar with a big personality. On its well-travelled drinks menu there is a rotating range of craft beer, boutique wines and impressive cocktail list of classics.

Location: Brisbane City

Good for: Small groups of friends

What to drink: Top-shelf brews

John Mills Himself

Tucked down a laneway in a historic printing building, John Mills Himself puts the focus on local produce. The menu reads like a drive itinerary, letting you know how many kilometres away each wine was fermented, beer was bottled and spirit distilled.

Location: Brisbane City

Good for: Intimate drinks

What to drink: Something local

Brooklyn Standard 

Love live music? Want to listen to it six days a week? You’re in luck. This all-American themed underground laneway bar is every bit as cool as it sounds. With free table pretzels, Brooklyn lager on tap and a dance floor that gets more use than most nightclubs – it’s no wonder Brooklyn Standard took out Best Live Music Venue at the 2015 Australian Bartender Magazine Awards.

Location: Brisbane City

Good for: Dancing to live music, hiding in a booth eating pretzels, late nights with friends

What to drink: Brooklyn lager

Riverbar Kitchen

This fresh, nautical-themed bar and kitchen will whisk you from the centre of the business district to a distant holiday place. Find a spot under the yellow and white striped umbrellas and order a cocktail jug to share. 

Location: Brisbane City

Good for: After-work drinks with a relaxed vibe

What to drink: Pimms jug

Bean

Down a graffiti-clad laneway on George St, Bean is a hidey hole in The City for the caffeine lovers and the 5.01pm clubbers. Sheltered in the bunker you can listen to killer tunes on vinyl, while enjoying unique small batch wine, a craft beer from their wide selection or a sexy cocktail.

Location: Brisbane City

Good for: Happy Hour cocktails and picking up a new piece of art at the monthly art exhibitions

What to drink: Espresso martini or Pavlova sour

Walter's Bar

With dark wood panelling and rich mahogany (but no leather bound books), the warm and welcoming Walter’s boasts an extensive list of rare and unique wines. Featuring drinks of yesteryear, they’re known for their classic cocktails using modern techniques. Think quality, simplicity and experience – oh my.

Location: Overlooking Botanic Gardens, Brisbane City

Good for: Intimate catch up with an old friend.

What to drink: Southside or 1855

Bar Pacino

Overlooking the stunning Brisbane River and Story Bridge, Bar Pacino offers a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere – perfect for the Friday after-work wind down or catching up with friends on weekends. 

Location: Brisbane City, Eagle Street Pier

Good for: Epic antipasti platters, and sweeping views from the deck

What to drink: Be creative with your cocktail ordering – the bartenders love to use a lighter for some wow factor

Fat Angel

Hey batter batter swing- into this American-style sports bar that doesn’t strike out. Baseball, basketball, NRL, boxing, and AFL are just a few of the sporting events shown on the big screens. Study the sporting memorabilia littering the walls as you wait for your all American bar food to accompany your tipple. 

Location: Brisbane City

Good for: A Budd with a Buddy

What to drink: Pink Power or Cherry Old Fashioned

SOUTH BANK

The Terrace

Ride to the top of the Emporium Hotel South Bank for an all-class drinking experience. Emporium, quite clearly, specialises in cocktails and it puts the focus on local. Try one featuring local liqueurs from Tamborine Mountain Distillery, whose flavours include Lemon Myrtle and Lavender liqueurs, and Wild Citrus Vodka. 

Location: South Bank

Good for: Rooftop vibes with epic views of Brisbane City

What to drink: Cocktails with exotic local liqueurs

FORTITUDE VALLEY

Maya Mexican

Ride the elevator to the 11th floor and you've arrived at Maya. Brought to you by Eleven Rooftop Bar, this little patch of Mexico in the sky is where the local produce-inspired menu channels Mexican influences. Enjoy lashings of tequila, mezcal and sotol and peruse the impressive cocktail list.

Location: Fortitude Valley

Good for: The views

What to drink: Tequila of course

Bar Kazba

Brought to you by the team behind Za Za Ta, Brisbane’s popular Middle Eastern eatery, Bar Kazba is a treat for all the senses. The Tel-Aviv inspired cocktail bar serves up delicious Turkish coffee martinis and chilli halloumi doughnuts, to name just two menu highlights. L'Chaim.

Location: Fortitude Valley

Good for: Delicious bespoke cocktails and bar snacks

What to drink: Turkish coffee martini or the fig rum old fashioned

Elixir 

One of Brisbane’s first rooftop bars, Elixir is an intimate garden oasis in the sky. On the roof you’ll find a bar stocked with a fine selection of spirits, impressive cocktail list and great local beers (including Matsos mango beer).

Location: Fortitude Valley

Good for: Small groups of friends, date night

What to drink: Cocktails

Savile Row

Lose yourself behind the orange door and step into a speakeasy that feels like it's paused time - other than the DJ tucked just by the entrance. An amazing drinks wall behind the bar gives you all the options you need, but their bespoke menu will scintillate your tastebuds. Try to score a seat upstairs and settle in. No need to go elsewhere.

Location: Fortitude Valley

Good for: A Saturday night escape from the bustle of Brunswick Street

What to drink: Any of their cocktails, or try a whisky neat

X Cargo

Covering two huge blocks on McLachlan Street, X Cargo is your party playground. Made up of shipping containers and spanning over three levels, there's plenty of room for everyone to enjoy the American-orientated flavours coming from the kitchen and lush libations flowing from the three separate bars.

Location: Fortitude Valley

Good for: A late night meeting new people

What to drink: Spritz

Netherworld

An old-school arcade games bar and diner, Netherworld is home to gaming relics from the past that will transport you back in time. There's pinball machines, arcade machines, classic consoles and countless board games from the 70s to present day.

Location: Fortitude Valley

Good for: Pinball machines and plant-based bar food

What to drink: Craft beer

Gerard’s Bar

Here chefs have turned the humble cheeseburger into a theatrical production – a blow torch is used to flame grill this bar snack to perfection in front of your eyes. While here, indulge in a selection of charcuterie – including artisan meats, house-made salamis and even vegetarian and vegan charcuterie items.

Location: Fortitude Valley

Good for: Small groups or for date night

What to drink: Anything that pairs with charcuterie

The Osbourne

Beer lovers, rejoice. Having poured beers since 1864 The Osborne is the real OG of Brisbane. With an impressive 31 flavours of beer on tap - housed in two bespoke copper bulkheads - the only ones of their kind in Australia - it is truly a marvel and spectacle to behold. Lounge in the indoor-outdoor spaces with a beer in hand, while poring over their comprehensive menu including pizza, burgers, steaks, oysters and more. 

Location: Fortitude Valley

Good for: Balmy evenings best spent in a beer garden

What to drink: Beer – of course

PADDINGTON, CAXTON + MILTON

Newstead Brewing Co.

Local micro brewery Newstead Brewing Co is so much more than a few barrels of beer. This gastropub features an affordable gourmet menu to pair with its award-winning brews, and the bar stocks a full range of spirits. 

Location: Newstead & Milton

Good for: Catch-ups with mates

What to drink: Beer (best paired with chicken wings)

Hope and Anchor

This no-fuss watering hole keeps the food deliciously classic and the drinks constantly flowing. Transport yourself to England with Young Henry's on tap and a hearty homemade pie of the day or attempt to choose from the never-ending wine list - we dare you.

Location: Paddington

Good for: English pub food and a pint of brew for the locals

What to drink: Wine

The Malecón Rum Bar

Have you always wanted to visit exotic Havana or perhaps become a pirate #CaptainJackSparrow? The Malecón Rum Bar is the place to go if you are wanting to learn and benefit from rum aficionados. With over 100 rums to choose from, settle back into an antique leather chair, luxuriate in the warm comforting atmosphere and listen to the strains of live jazz music - yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

Location: Milton

Good for: A comfy catch up with friends

What to drink: One of the house classic cocktails with a Malecon twist  

Darling & Co

This darling of Paddington is indisputably a local favourite. With its Hamptons-style glamour and a menu that showcases sustainable and seasonal produce, finding an excuse to leave can be difficult. Choose a more luxe experience in the communal dining area upstairs or enjoy a more casual affair at the bar, while sipping on a sensational selection of cocktails, beers or wine.

Location: Paddington

Good for: Enjoying a drink in casual fashion

What to drink: Saison – seasonal French farmhouse ale

SOUTH BRISBANE, WEST END + WOOLLOONGABBA 

Cobbler

Like whisky? You'll like Cobbler. This small, West End bar boasts an astounding 400+ whiskys from all over the world (Scottish, American, Canadian, Irish, Japanese and Australian varieties).

Location: West End

Good for:  A nightcap

What to drink: Why whisky of course

Maker

This bar is probably too cool for you and everyone you know – that’s all the more reason to visit. Located down Fish Lane, it seats just 10 people and the bartenders are masters of their art, artisans of mixology, cocktail heroes… should we go on? 

Location: South Brisbane

Good for: Groups of two-to-four at most

What to drink: Bespoke cocktails

Saccharomyces Beer Cafe

Like beer? If the answer is yes, then this beer hall is for you. If the answer is no, then this beer hall is still for you. Tucked away along Fish Lane, Saccharomyces have a huge selection of drinks pouring, plus board games and pinball machines to keep you occupied while you drink. Their rotating seasonal drink and food menu will make every visit just that little bit different and special.

Location: South Brisbane

Good for: Sinking a few beers with friends

What to drink: Local Brews, Belgian Beers or Norways Nogne O

The End

This is The End my friend – a small galley of a bar popular with West End locals. The bar plays ‘90s films on the back wall (a tribute to Trash Video, the store it replaced), often has live music or a DJ spinning vinyl, and boasts an impressive cocktail list and craft beer offering.

Location: West End

Good for: Mingling with local hipsters

What to drink: Anything alcoholic

Canvas

These cocktail kings put twists on the classics and offer up new surprises. Each cocktail gets a name, a quote and a hashtag. Canvas also realises the power of an espresso martini – and serves them for breakfast on weekends.

Location: Woolloongabba

Good for: Cheese boards and drinks with friends, late-night desserts, pushing your limits and learning about spirits

What to drink: Cocktail of your choice or flight of spirits

Electric Avenue

Step back in time to a prominent era of Brisbane's history. Once a hotspot for antiques, the Gabba welcomes this tribute to the area's history. Drop into the bistro for a bite, kick on in the bar with 75 wines before heading upstairs for jazzy tunes in the secret bar... you have to find it for yourself.

Location: Woolloongabba

Good for: Nightcap and toe tap

What to drink: Wine downstairs, whisky upstairs

EVERYWHERE ELSE

Fitz & Potts

Pull up a cane bar stool on the deck of the retro-styled dive bar in Nundah. Sporting the perfect amount of kitsch, Fitz & Potts is the spot to take friends and whittle away an afternoon with small batch liquors, craft beers and wines and simple bar food.

Location: Nundah

Good for: Neighbourhood catch-ups

What to drink: Something local

The Walrus Club

Often the best bars are hidden away, and you’ll find this to be the case with this speakeasy underground. Beneath the iconic Regatta Hotel lies The Walrus Club – a raw brick, chesterfield couch-laden rum den. The large rabbit warren of a space is great for groups and you can catch the CityCat straight to its door – which would be fitting as it draws its name from the SS Walrus, a Brisbane ship that was briefly a floating rum distillery.

Location: Toowong

Good for: Groups of friends to find a private corner or set of lounges to hang out in

What to drink: Rum

Byblos

Well known for a fine-dining experience, Byblos should not be overlooked as a quality drinking venue with the menu consisting of a variety of national and international wines, four pages of cocktails depending on your nightly desire and all the spirits you could ever ask for. We wish you all the best in your decision-making. 

Location: Portside Wharf, Hamilton

Good for: Sunday sesh on the river

What to drink: Cocktails, wine, spirits - really anything alcoholic

Junk Bar

Located inconspicuously behind an ageing shop front, Junk Bar features quirky decor including deer antlers, forest wallpaper, small palm trees, old couches, dim lamps, and vinyls played on an old record player. 

Location: Ashgrove

Good for: Discovering undiscovered musicians 

What to drink: Cocktails, cocktails, cocktails

Cardigan Bar

Cardigan Bar is Sandgate's neighbourhood laneway watering hole that provides a great place for people to meet and sip delicious drinks. The boho atmosphere is complemented with folk, jazz, and blues music nightly from Thursday to Sunday. There's often food trucks on-site or you can BYO food. 

Location: Seymour St, Sandgate (across the road from Sandgate train station)

Good for: The local vibe of Brisbane's bayside and Stitched Up - stand up comedy every Thursday night

What to drink: Mulled wine in winter

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