Where to go for The City's Best Cocktails
From timeless classics and revered favourites to modern twists and bespoke creations, pull up a barstool and sample the best cocktails shaking and stirring up Brisbane City’s bar scene. Whether you're chasing a classic negroni of a frozen one, The City is home to some of the best cocktail bars in all of Brisbane.
Sure, its wall of whisky and old-world vibe make this heritage bar one of the most Instagrammed in Brisbane City, but switch your gaze to its cocktail list and prepare to be dazzled. The award-winning Gresham’s original cocktail creations change regularly, so if you're lucky the list will include the 'Tip of the Hat' with Maker’s Mark whisky, pandan, cherry heering, Port wine and chocolate bitters.
Tucked down one of Brisbane City’s oldest laneways is one of its cosiest cocktail bars. Slide your seat up to the bar or glide into a leather booth and pore over the illustrated menu of signature pours. Battle The White Tiger’s blend of Japanese gin, pear, roquette, chestnut and soda, do a tango with the Irish whiskey, cognac and vermouth in The Dancing Thief or succumb to The Trickster’s smooth rum notes.
Image source: Death & Taxes
This overwater venue makes the most of Brisbane's long, winding river with a big deck to soak in the morning sun or enjoy a kick-on after work with cocktails and colleagues. Get your mitts around a blood orange and cranberry cosmopolitan or a lime and lemongrass margarita and enjoy the views with wood-fired pizzas and freshly shucked oysters.
Influenced by the pintxo bars of San Sebastian, Alba pairs its signature cocktails with Basque-inspired eats and hip hop for a cool laneway vibe. Its cocktail list changes with the seasons to keep everything fresh and local. Toast the warmer weather with Professor Unreasonble’s blend of sherry, strawberry, finger lime and tonic or take a walk on the wild side with the Arrogant Ambassador’s whiskey, fennel, ginger and soda. The bar team love a mystery box challenge and are more than happy to whip up something unique.
Take a trip to the coastline of Italy when you drop into Coppa at Eagle Street Pier. Sip your way through a frozen negroni, or pair your Aperol spritz with snacks inspired by the charming Italian coast. After a few drinks, you'll be enticed to stay and dive into a plate of pasta or the crowd favourite gnocchi.
Elevate your cocktail game with one of the best views across Brisbane CBD. Sixteen Antlers’ impressive rooftop space is matched only by a drinks list that spans signature cocktails, classic mixes and refreshing mocktails. Recline on a luxurious lounge or gaze out across King George Square with a citrus-heavy, alcohol-free Sourdive, an elegant gin-based Elderflower Southside or a tart and terrific Cherry Martini.
Image source: Sixteen Antlers
Take a tour of Ireland, Scotland, Australia and Japan thanks to more than 150 bottles of whisky sitting behind the bar at Fatcow. if you're mad for the amber liquor, you can join the VIP Club and buy a rare bottle of whiskey to leave behind the bar. Then you can just pop in for a cheeky dram whenever you feel like it.
It’s always warm enough in Brisbane City to enjoy the cooling river breezes and icy cocktails at Riverbar. Beat the heat with a seasonal slushie or try the espresso martini made on 42 Below Vodka. Get the gang together and spill the gossip as you split a jug of lychee mojito or rose garden sangria.
Image source: Riverbar & Kitchen
Share plates of arancini, calamari, zucchini fritters and chargrilled octopus are just calling out for an aperol spritz. Voted Queensland's best Italian restaurant in 2020, Massimo brings the best of the Mediterranean to Brisbane CBD. If cocktails aren't your favourite, drop in for aperitivo hour instead where every afternoon between 3-5pm, the house wines, beer and spirits are just $6.
Pair your Rico Maria cocktail of gin, tomato juice, lemon and spices with half a dozen fresh oysters from this chic riverside spot. Pull up a chair beneath one of the mint-and-white striped umbrellas, or watch your oysters get shucked at the bar where you can choose from six different flavours. Best of all, there's oyster happy hour Monday to Thursday from 3-5pm.
This riverside bar is so confident it has The City’s best cocktails, it’s even named them so. Sample a Best I Ever Had and judge for yourself whether the gin, elderflower, lychee, lemon, cucumber and mint concoction is worthy of the title. In addition to classic cocktails, house specials and aperitivos, Bar Pacino also serves up a monthly cocktail special.
Image source: Bar Pacino
Shift your gaze from the gorgeous Brisbane River and witness Mr & Mrs G’s talented bar team mixing exotic new cocktails and firm favourites. Enjoy a Rendezvous with shiraz-steeped gin, maraschino, coconut, lemon and orange marmalade or stay cool with a Coolcumber, blending gin with lemon, cucumber and grapefruit bitters. If the inventive cocktail list fails to tempt, ask one of the bar team to whip you up a custom creation.
Image source: Mr & Mrs G
Get Hook-ed on dude food and cocktails at this Gresham Lane burger joint. Wolf down a cheeky cheeseburger or load up on loaded fries while you wet your whistle with a matching cocktail. If you've never tried a Pickleback, this is your chance. The intriguing pairing of whiskey and pickle juice grabs as much attention as the brilliantly named Nothing Good Happens After 2:00 – a blend of vodka, tabasco, lime and ginger beer – or the I’m George Constanza with bourbon, blackberry liquor, lemon, mint and blueberries.
Image source: Red Hook