Brisbane's 30 best winter hideaway bars

‘Tis the season to layer on your winter woollies (a.k.a that one light jacket you own) and seek refuge from the elements in a dimly lit and enclosed watering hole or basement hideaway. Have no fear, as the temperature drops, your social life does not need to suffer. We've rounded up the cosiest bars in Brisbane to snuggle up with your favourite winter tipple and get toasty warm.

The Apo, Fortitude Valley

Housed in a heritage-listed medicine dispensary, The Apo overlooks Bakery Lane and is the place to go for an incredible cocktail (think Bloody Mary with a twist) with a side of soul-warming fried chicken and char-grilled lamb ribs.

Barbara, Fortitude Valley

Barbara

Away from the madness that is Brunswick Street on a Saturday night, come as you are to Barbara bar and sip on beer, wine or cocktail or two and take in the live music performed there most nights.

Bean, Brisbane City

Bean

Hidden down a graffiti-clad laneway on George St, Bean is the epitome of hidey holes. Bean do a mean $10 Espresso Martini all week long as well as variations on it, such as the Crooked Kilt and the Peg Leg. Take our $10 please.

Black Bear Lodge, Fortitude Valley

Black Bear Lodge

Up-and-coming acts and DJs spinning vinyl have found a home at Black Bear. Join them for a chilled out drink and enjoy live music in this cosy bar above busy Brunswick Street Mall. Occasionally there is a small cover charge.

Blind Tiger, Bulimba

Cosy bar Blind Tiger's name derives from the Prohibition-era custom of placing stuffed tigers in windows to notify patrons of the availability of alcohol. You can select from a wide variety of single-release and independent whiskies, as well as brews including the Blind Tiger Lager which has been brewed especially for the bar.

Bloodhound, Fortitude Valley

Bloodhound Corner Bar and Kitchen

Bloodhound makes the most of the building's original interiors with exposed brick, high ceilings and fireplaces to keep everyone toasty warm. Latin-American share plates and local craft beers are best of friends at Bloodhound Bar. The rustic corner venue serves incredible tacos and has a few sneaky backrooms and an upstairs area to hide in.

Brew, Brisbane City

Brew Cafe and Wine Bar

Brew is one of Brisbane City's best-kept secrets. Hidden down Burnett Lane, it is open from 7am weekdays and 8am on Saturday, and till late Monday to Saturday. It offers great coffee and food by day and brews of a different kind by night – wine, beer and cocktails, with delicious tapas.

Bowery, Fortitude Valley

This intimate, New York-style bar is one of the few places where the music doesn't overpower and you can still hear yourself think. You will find live jazz being played Tuesday to Thursday and DJs spinning at the weekend. Cuddle up in one of the cosy booths and let the staff create the incredible concoctions for which they've become so highly regarded. Try a classic such as the Southside – made famous at the 21 Club, New York – or Mesha, specially created for The Bowery.

Brooklyn Standard, Brisbane City

Brooklyn Standard

Enjoy a slice of NYC cool at speakeasy live music venue Brooklyn Standard. Located underground on Eagle Lane, Brooklyn Standard hosts live music six nights a week specialising in jazz, funk and blues – all accompanied by a well-stocked bar of whiskeys and classic cocktails.

Canvas, Woolloongabba

Canvas, Woollongabba

Canvas Cocktail and Wine Bar is a vintage-inspired treasure in the heart of Gabba Village, serving delectable cocktails, boutique wine, craft beer and rustic food. The front has couches and soft lighting for a moody night out.

Cobbler, West End

Cobbler

Like whiskey? You'll like Cobbler. This small West End bar boasts an astounding 400+ whiskeys from all over the world (Scottish, American, Canadian, Irish, Japanese and Australian varietals). Cobbler doesn't have a kitchen, so feel free to BYO food and settle inf or a cocktail or three.

Coyotito, Brisbane City

Who doesn't love the sound of a side of Mexican street food with their imported Mexican beers and spirits (namely, tequila)? Tucked away down Eagle Lane, the tacos are the ultimate comfort food, with seven fillings to choose from. Don't leave without trying the Elote en Vaso.

Electric Avenue, Woolloongabba

Old world glam meets contemporary fine dining, so step back in time to a prominent era of Brisbane's history. Used-to-be hotspot for antiques, this Woolloongabba area is now roaring with nightlife so Electric Avenue wanted to bring back a little of that antique vibe. Fantastic bistro fare can be combined with over 75 wines, beers or cocktails - this venue has really outdone itself.

Grape Therapy, Brisbane City

Grape Therapy

Grape Therapy is an underground bespoke wine bar and bottle shop that oozes the effortless class of an old-fashioned gentlemen’s club. The brainchild of wine merchant Darren Davis, this drinking den is a sanctuary for admirers of the grape, with an extensive wine list allowing you to sample wines from new boutique drops to rare vintage bottles of red. Sink into a Chesterfield lounge with your wine of choice while Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra play in the background.

Greaser, Fortitude Valley

Greaser

Greaser takes its patrons deep beneath the streets of Fortitude Valley to a bluesy rock ’n’ roll basement bar, serving up American-inspired pub nosh. Make your way down one of Brunswick St’s back alleys and you will find an ominous red door – the gateway to this grungy underground-bar destination.

Heya Bar, Fortitude Valley

Heya Bar Fortitude Valley

Heya Bar, the late-night Valley hangout, is inspired by the street markets of South East Asia and the alleyways and bars of the Golden Gai in Shinjuku. It is anything and everything you want it to be – hidden bars, live music, pool tables and dark, intimate corners. Grungy, cool and full of character, you will discover an Asian-infused street food menu featuring sushi rolls, mushroom and bacon gyoza, Kung Pao chicken wings and duck and hoisin rice paper rolls.

Hope & Anchor, Paddington

English pub food screams cosy to us, and Hope & Anchor's homemade pie of the day with a pint sounds just grand. Be transported to the English seaside and enjoy the pub-dining atmosphere from the comfort of one of the plush booths.

Junk Bar, Ashgrove

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. Junk Bar's main focus is its creative drinks menu, with intimate table service provided, and fresh cocktail concoctions among the offerings.

Lefty's Old Time Music Hall, Caxton St

Leftys

Velvet drapes, dimly lit chandeliers, bear and deer heads covered in bras and a distinctly country soundtrack set the scene in this whisky saloon. With live music most nights, a dirty American-inspired menu and debaucherous vibe of the deep south – order a whisky apple and get on the d-floor stat.

Longtime, Fortitude Valley

LongTime

Part-restaurant, part-bar this laneway gem is the perfect winter escape. Just past Chinatown Mall head down a leafy alleyway to the bar where a cocktail menu will greet you while you wait for a table.

Maker, South Brisbane

A 7.5m long oxidised brass bar defines the space inside this bar that seats only about a dozen patrons. The cocktail menu is ever-changing with a focus on boutique liqueurs, native ingredients and creativity.

Netherworld, Fortitude Valley

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. Not convinced? This may help.

PILLAR Bar, Fortitude Valley

Escape from the bustling antics of the Fortitude Valley for tantalising drinks in an intimate setting. The bar has an ever-changing concise cocktail list, and if nothing takes your fancy, the bar team will ask you a few simple questions and produce a custom drink to suit your taste. 

Sonny’s House of Blues, Brisbane City

Sonny's House of Blues

Sonny’s House of Blues in Brisbane City's Rowes Arcade is a "dive bar" named after American bluesman Sonny Terry. The bar has the appeal of an American retro speakeasy, hosting live music and serving up '80s themed cocktails, more than 40 kinds of craft beer and frozen margaritas as well as offering Mexican eats such as tacos, burritos and quesadillas.

Super Whatnot, Brisbane City

Super Whatnot

Still one of the city's best kept secrets, this split-level bar has the focus on craft beers, good cocktails, boutique wines and American-inspired snacks. Find the 100-seater venue down Burnett Lane.

The End, West End

The End is a small-town hideout and hangout in West End, tucked nicely off the main drag. The drinks menu is a toast to the local and unique. And to hand-picked flavours and refined libations. 

The Gresham, Brisbane City

The Gresham

Tucked away on the edge of Gresham Lane branching off Queen St, The Gresham Bar is a whisky and bourbon saloon oozing old-world charm with an eccentric touch. Walking through the large cedar doors you will feel like you've stepped back in time thanks to the soaring 7m-high pressed-metal ceiling, dark timber floorboards, Chesterfield couches and an antique Victorian fireplace. The upmarket drinks list will satisfy even the most avid whisky drinkers, with an extensive range of bourbons and whiskies, many of which you won't find anywhere else in Australia.

The Stables, Ascot

The Stables' rustic interior fills the old butcher shop, decked out with exposed brick, a timber and concrete bar, stained wooden benches and black metal chairs and tables. Take your pick from eight taps or bottled brews, plus top Japanese whisky, boutique wines and a menu of light bites, bigger bites and lunch options.

Twig & Berry, Newstead

Ankle-level signage will help direct your to this bar. Partially underground, Twig & Berry is a nifty cocktail den and garden bar in Newstead. Keep an eye out for its hot cocktails come the winter months.

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