Pull up a chair at Brisbane's 30 best cocktail bars

It used to be a case of vodka, gin, bourbon, whisky, tequila and rum meeting their friends prosecco, mezcal, Campari – with a dash of fruity liqueur, wedge of citrus and sprig of mint to finish it off. 

Nowadays our bartenders are playing with kaffir lime-infused vodka, orange-soaked wine, urban rooftop honey, local lilli pilli gin and jalapeno agave.

We won’t say forget the classics (since they’re also having a resurgence) but give something new a whirl at one (or three) of Brisbane’s best cocktail bars. We were going to keep the list short, but why keep all the good ones a secret. Cheers to that!

Click the links below to jump to a precinct.

Brisbane City

The Gresham

The Gresham

This heritage-listed bar has taken out a swagger of awards and is best known for its wide selection of whisky. Drink along that path with a warm "Sunny Disposition" of whisky, citrus, Echinacea, ginger and bitters.

Super Whatnot 

Dance down the laneway and into this petite bar for the "Border Control" with Buffalo Trace, Herradura Blanco, agave, Maraschino and Prosecco.

Red Hook 

Did someone say cheeseburger martini? Taking a classic and making it dirty – real dirty – Red Hook’s martini comes with a mustard-dipped rim and bacon accoutrement.

Bar Pacino

The riverside bar’s incredible views clearly call for Nutella shots. Okay, so maybe you will want something more – try the highly recommended Figa, a gin and elderflower drink with fresh lemon and mint leaves.

John Mills Himself 

Choose your poison based on its "drink miles". JMH stocks only craft Australian spirits and local mixers – ingredients such as pink grapefruit and rosemary syrup and lilli pilli gin can make things interesting.


The doctor orders you to drop into this opulent riverside bar for a "Prescription Julep". Cure woes with the cognac, whiskey, mint and sugar concoction, finished with a Wray and Nephew mist and mint crown.

Mr & Mrs G 

Mr & Mrs G's

This glass bubble of a bar is perched on the edge of Eagle Street Pier with sweeping views of the river and Story Bridge. Dive right into the "Submerged Sombrero" – a tequila cocktail with Maraschino, basil, red grapes and agave nectar.


If there’s one thing that Public does right, it is keeping things interesting. Try the "Cold Toddy" – rye, pear and black tea with lemon sherbet, Orinoco bitters and nutmeg. There is also a menu of low or no-alcohol cocktails for the drivers.


Image credit: Savannah Van Der Neit

Now Botero is a cafe first, tapas bar second and its coffee is divine. Keeping that in mind, order the "Brass Martini" – Brass being one of its coffee blends – the doppio, vodka and Kahlua mix will certainly keep you awake.

Brooklyn Standard

Brooklyn Standard

Unwind in Brisbane City's iconic speakeasy to the tune of crooning live music and the delicious taste of a cocktail menu fit for all tastes. 

Fortitude Valley

Gerard’s Bar 

Negroni lovers step up and choose from four creative variations here – the classic, a vodka lavender concoction, a salty hickory smoked rum negroni, or a sweet gin strawberry and peach one. 

The Press Club 

Press Club

"Take the Thyme" to get acquainted with The Press Club’s epic creative list of signature cocktails. This one includes Woodford Reserve, pomeganate syrup, chai-infused sweet Vermouth and lemon bitters. Oh also, convince your boss to enrol your office in the "cocktail teambuilding challenge". Consider it personal development. 

Eleven Rooftop

Eleven Rooftop Bar

The sky-high rooftop bar’s menu helps you out with illustrative pictures of each cocktail. Those who like it martini-style and simple can opt for the East India Gimlet (hello gin, housemade grapefruit cordial and lemon bitters).

The Bowery

Think cocktails, think Bowery. This bar was established in 2003 to recreate exceptional classics from around the world, and even holds the title of The Australian Bartender "Best Cocktail Bar State Award". Each drink names its creator and year, opt for a 1930s classic or perhaps try the Sriracha Highball (rum, sriracha, lime and ginger beer).

Emporium Hotel Cocktail Bar

Emporium Cocktail bar

Hotel bars can be a little … drab. But not here. At this opulent space order the Pavlova Martini – there’s a reason this one never leaves the menu. 



This Thai-inspired restaurant throws tradition to the wind. Head down the lane and sip on a "Bangcobber" – banana-infused red wine, "creme de everything", mint and orange bitters.

The Apo

This mysterious and heritage diner is known for its conceptual gourmet food, and the cocktails closely follow. Take the "Apothecary Bloody Mary" as an example – a bottled cocktail of unfiltered vodka, porcini and wild mushrooms, herbs, spice and tomato. 


Elixir Rooftop Bar

It feels almost rude to drink anything but a cocktail while in this rooftop oasis. Try "The Old Timer" – Havana 7yr with a dash of Penfolds Grandfather port, stout syrup and whisky bitters all stirred down.

Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess 

Dutch Courage Officer's Mess

At Brisbane’s gin bar it seems appropriate to order … gin. Try the Hendricks Tea Pot for two with Lillet Blanc, lemon, apple and T2 sweet-spiced tea.

South Bank & West End


Blink and you’ll miss this 10-seater bar off Fish Lane. A 7.5m-long oxidised brass bar commands the space where mixologists offer a refined menu plus bespoke orders using local ingredients and handmade liqueurs.


Photo: Nat Hoo, Table Brisbane

The petite bar stocks 400+ types of whisky and lets you BYO food. Try the "Now I know what a TV dinner feels like", Hans’ cocktail with tequila, Laphroaig 10 Smokey Whisky, apple tarragon syrup, cold-pressed pea juice, lemon juice and mint.

Lychee Lounge 

This Boundary Street mainstay serves up a great drink in its eclectic surrounds. Try the Vicious Circle – whisky and sage + bay leaf vermouth with pineapple and maple.

The End 

The drinks menu has a contents page – and it needs it. Flick straight to bartender's choice for "When Life Gives You Lemons" – where vanilla vodka meets local Tamborine Mountain lemoncello and elderflower Liqueur, orgeat, lemon, egg white and a dash of lemon bitters, served straight with a lemoncello and creme brulee foam. 

Stoke Bar 

It doesn’t get more riverside than this. Stoke Bar’s menu at River Quay is short and changes seasonally, jump in now for a Gin Fix, with chartreuse, lime and pineapple.

Soleil Pool Bar 

Soleil Bar

Drop by the pool bar at Rydges for a Sunday session and share a cocktail for two, or six. "It’s All In The Hips" (vodka, peach puree and orange juice topped with Prosecco) will have you shakin’ it across the floor in no time.



Dessert lovers unite over sweets and booze at Brisbane’s quirky dessert cocktail bar. Don’t mess around with "Monkey Business" – Bailey’s, milk, salted caramel and peanut oil with chocolate flake.

Bourbon Street

Dive headfirst into the southern-inspired cocktails of this Louisiana creole restaurant. The classics are all there, plus a list of Absinthe cocktails – let the "Nuclear Potion" add hairs to your chest (gin, absinthe, chartreuse and line)

The Manhattan Line 

This NYC street food bar will have you saying good morning after 5pm with its Breakfast Martini (gin, contreau, marmalade and lemon).

Beyond the inner-city



This small bar has a speakeasy vibe, street-art courtyard and cocktail list to rival any. Don’t hesitate to order the Fresh Prince of Bombay – Cynar, apple brandy, cognac and cinnamon syrup with a chai ice cube.


Sundays are the day to come with cheaper cocktails, live music and a big crowd by the river at Portside. Keep it local with the "Royal Australian Yacht Club" – Bundaberg Small Batch, Tamborine Mountain Bells of Saint Clements citrus liqueur, native davidson plum and house-made Australian falernum.

Thirsty for more ideas?