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. Twig and Berry
In a town like ours where everyone knows everyone, secret Brisbane bars don’t stay secret for long. If you still haven’t heard of the Twig & Berry, move the rock.
2. The Bearded Lady
At The Bearded Lady the acts are local, the drinks are mint, and you can order delivery from nearby Chop Chop Changs.
3. Archive Bar
The perfect place for dirt-poor students, the Archive Bar is done up like a licensed bookstore. Furnished with armchairs, couches and tomes the Archive is a mainstay of mid-semester anguish.
One of Brisbane's coolest dive bars, Padre’s been watering the populace, cementing Woolloongabba as a designated destination for lovers of cocktails, whiskey, and late night cheese platters.
5. The Jungle
As Brisbane’s only exclusively tiki bar, the Jungle in West End is a unique alcoholic wilderness of myriad flavours, intricate bowls, and tropical garnishes you can wear as a hat. One of the best bars in Brisbane for a night out you won't remember.
6. Sixes and Sevens
If you’re after comfort and a little sympathy, the vibes and delights at this Brisbane bar will cure whatever ails you. If you want to feel better, be at Sixes and Sevens.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Limes Bar
What is it they say about the original? Serving champagne at altitude since before the cool kids got wind of it, Limes Bar is one of the best and most time-honoured rooftop bars in Brisbane. The drinks are smashing and they’ve even got a cinema and a hot tub because…well, just because.
The décor can be confusing but rest assured, Kerbside is not the living room of a 45-person sharehouse. The tip-off? How many sharehouses have you been to that have two working fridges? Exactly.
11. Dutch Courage Officer’s Mess
Messy is exactly what you’ll be getting. The hip lads at Dutch Courage are proper sergeants of the bottle, put your trust in them and they’ll reward you with steely tumblers of gin-centric blessings.
12. Dandy’s Rooftop
The Fox Hotel got itself a new hat a little while ago and we think it’s just tops. A technicoloured, free-flowing playground in the breeze, Dandy’s Rooftop bar is like icing on a beer-flavoured cake.
Shaking up a drinkable feast are the masterhands behind the bar at Canvas. You’ll paint yourself blind at this Brisbane bar and turn your pockets out getting high off their woozy elixirs and mixers.
14. Junk Bar
Ashgrove’s Junk Bar is one of our favourite suburban Brisbane bars and not just because their drinks are brewed by the prophets of sensationalism. This joint is flypaper for cool cats, keen to rub their hip off on ye.
15. The Alliance Hotel
Spring Hill temple to brews and pub fare, The Alliance Hotel shines like a beacon on Boundary Road. You'll leave full and tipsy, spouting praise for this iconic Brisbane bar.
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.
17. 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.
18. John Mills Himself
Another cheeky day-to-night, John Mills Himself is a wee nook of laneway love providing us with caffeine hits in the morning and liquor love in the evening.
19. Ric’s Bar
If you’ve lived in Brisbane for more than a year and you haven’t been to Ric’s, you are either abstinent or really rich. The OG of dingy dives, the temple of sick beat worship, the stalwart survivor of Brisbane’s best bars, is Ric.
20. Black Bear Lodge
With dead cool live music acts and all kinds of delectable drinkthings brewing up the stairs, Black Bear Lodge is Brisbane’s best argument against basement bars.
21. Walrus Club
Nestled in the catacombs of the Regatta Hotel, the Walrus Club is like the Vatican City of Brisbane’s best bars: antiquated, clandestine, and girt* by the debauched.
22. The Bowery
Smokey jazz and cocktails that sing, The Bowery is that dark and mysterious stranger you can’t help but follow. For a smooth and scintillating step back in time, this speakeasy is a jewel of a Brisbane bar.
23. Green Beacon
If you’ve tasted their brews at other Brisbane bars, you’ll know just how good the grog at Green Beacon is. Come to the place where it all began and watch the magic happen.
24. The Mill on Constance
Meshing the combined powers of Australian beers with the charm and character of Irish and Scottish drinking halls, the Mill on Constance has struck upon a divine combination.
25. The End
A fitting final entry for this list, The End is ironically the best place to start. Their tenders manage an extensive list of lovelies to suit your mood, and the sick beats are mostly there to keep up with the sick vibe.
*see Advance Australia Fair
Want more of the best bars in Brisbane? Search 'bars' in our Directory!
Image credit: Daniel Maddock