I wish I could say that I wasn’t on first-name terms with the bartenders in every one of these Brisbane bars, or that they have all cut me off at some point. But I am, and they have.
All of our copious quaffing has turned the Brisbane bar scene into a rollicking wonderland. We’ve singled out a mere sample of 25 of the best Brisbane bars that feature high on the rotation for casual, formal or after-work drinks. You really should have been to all of these Brisbane bars. Twice. And if you haven’t it might be time to ask the question: what are you doing with your life?
1. The Bearded Lady
For live music and up-and-coming acts you can't pass up a night at The Bearded Lady. The scattered decor makes for a homey vibe so the whole joint feels like a licensed house party, and just like a house party feel free to get snacks from Chop Chop Chang's across the road and bring them in.
2. Brooklyn Standard
Featuring live music every night, Brooklyn Standard's funky rhythm section goes down a goddamn treat with some of their all-American snacks and scintillating sips.
3. Gerard’s Bar
The little brother of the incomparable Gerard’s Bistro, Gerard’s Bar provides us a tasty shard of the former’s brilliance in the form of Aperol spritzers and some of Australia’s best burgers. One of the best bars in Brisbane, no doubt.
4. Savile Row
Freshly landed on the drinking scene, Savile Row might just be the first bar to be better dressed than you. Taking a Brummelly cue from the street of sartorial splendour, this bar is a dimly-lit fantasy of leather booths, mahogany bartops and really, really spectacular cocktails.
5. Snack Man
Situated right next door to Happy Boy on East St, Fortitude Valley, Snack Man is one of only a handful of fresh wine bars popping up in the city pouring some rare local drops and pairing them with freshly made dumplings.
6. Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall
The titillating taxidermy isn’t the only enticement at Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall. Upstairs they’ve got mermaids and hooch, downstairs live music and whiskey. Soak it up with some of Lefty’s feasties and you’ll agree that it’s one of Brisbane’s best bars.
7. Jack Rabbits Whiskey Lounge
This coy little lapin knows how to keep a secret. Head upstairs from Electric Avenue and climb inside the wardobe at the top of the stairs. Step through to find this bar within a bar, pouring whisky and playing jazz until the wee hours.
Finely crafted glasses of euphoria don't get much better than at Maker. Every drop of one of their mindboggling concoctions is a goddamn delight, and their recent foray into toasties and charcuterie has been nothing but a godsend for late-night drinkers.
BYO food and leave the whiskey to Cobbler. With over 300 different whiskies from around the planet and a veritable font of knowledge spouting from the tenders on each, Cobbler is the only bar in Brisbane to get your fill of firewater.
Sick beats, cold drinks, and tinnie roulette makes this Valley bar a good times epicentre. The vibes are mellow and be assured their tagline speaks the truth: Barbara will take care of you.
11. The Gresham Bar
Carved out of the heritage sandstone on Queen St, the Gresham Bar has taken over the Brisbane bar scene with an array of seriously impressive cocktails, whisky and wingback chairs.
12. Bloodhound Corner Bar
Rotating taps, tacos, and a badass mural on exposed brick; these are the ingredients that make Bloodhound Corner Bar the gold-hearted larrikin of Brunswick Street. Their craft beers are all carefully chosen, but you'll find no snobbery or stuffiness here, just a whole lot of good times and a whole lot of suds.
13. The Lobby Bar
As the official tipple station of the Calile Hotel, the Lobby Bar is the hub of the hub of James Street. Done up in brass and muted pinks, the Lobby Bar is a continuation of the soft lines and arches of the hotel and the perfect place to unwind with your usual.
14. Cloakroom Bar
If you’re after a new signature drink, Cloakroom Bar is the only place to go. A sister scheme of local Brisbane tailors, the Cloakroom Bar is a dark and brooding secret clubhouse where cocktails are custom made with unparalleled skill.
As Honto’s resident bar, ÔÔ is an all black cocktail lounge designed to kickstart your evening with a glass of something spectacular, lovingly crafted by one of their master mixologists. Come by before dinner, after dinner, or for a nightcap to round out your night.
Want more of the best bars in Brisbane? Search 'bars' in our Directory!
Image credit: Grace Elizabeth Images for Urban List