Bars & Pubs

Brisbane’s Best Bars For First Dates

By Joanna Fraser
19th Aug 2015

Best Bars Brisbane for First Dates

Image credit: Ariana Gillrie | Sonny's House of Blues 

When choosing a Brisbane bar for the perfect first date, follow these simple rules and you’ll be sliding into third base before last call.

Definitely Open. Unless you’re Joseph Gordon Levitt, you’re not cute and quirky enough to make a first date at the closest McDonalds work. None of these Brisbane bars have the kind of helter-skelter opening hours that leave you banging your fists upon a closed door.

Atmosphere matters. Too busy and you risk losing your date (and your sanity) in the crowd. Too empty and a play-by-play of your date is going to end up on Twitter, courtesy of a bemused bartender.

Chat friendly. No adult has ever fallen in love whilst trying to scream at their date over the top of a badly remixed Justin Bieber song.

Is that the time? Dating is like opening a Kinder Surprise; sometimes you get a cool robot toy, and sometimes you get a piece of a puzzle. Which is to say, a bar with a quick escape route is key.

Nearby food options. Your date laughs at your dad jokes, is successfully pretending to like superhero movies, and thus the thought of saying goodnight after a couple of drinks makes you take on the properties of velcro. Extend people, extend!

Good lighting. Let’s save harsh lighting for the second date shall we?

So, with this fail-safe criteria in mind, here are twelve Brisbane bars that are perfect for a first date.

The End

West End

This little bar tucked away in West End might just be the perfect first date spot. The decor is video store inspired (remnants from a previous tenant), the lighting is dim, and the drinks list impressive. Free tip: buy your lady friend the Forget Me Not cocktail from The End's selection. It’s the alcoholic equivalent to a bunch of flowers with a delightful mix of lavender, blueberry, violet, vanilla, and lemon.

Junk Bar


If you suggest a first date that involves traipsing through the woods with visions of pine needles underfoot and fresh forest air filling your lungs, your date is going to think you are trying to murder her. A date at the Junk Bar however, with its woodsy interior and comfy couches, is a little less creep, and a little more chic.

The New Inchcolm Hotel 

Spring Hill

For the classy first date option, The New Inchcolm Hotel lives to serve. Both Thomson's Reserve and Socialite Bar are the perfect spot for a date no matter how long you've been together. We're particular fans of Socialite Bar's small plates and cocktail menu; ideal for an intro to a potential new lover.  

The Bearded Lady

West End

Unless you fancy shouting at your date over the cacophony of a crowd of rowdy hipsters, then leave this West End Bar for the weeknights. The Bearded Lady serves up a stellar selection of beer, and pipes through the kind of music you wouldn't be ashamed to have as ‘your’ song.

Eleven Rooftop Bar

Fortitude Valley

There is a reason that a significant amount of romantic movies have a rooftop scene. That’s because rooftops are just so damn romantic. Inspired by the cocktail culture of Ibiza and New York, Eleven Rooftop Bar showcases a stunning panorama of Brisbane city. High above the traffic, and the rambling drunks, this rooftop bar is perfect for a first date.

At Sixes and Sevens

New Farm

Imagine yourself in sixty years, your lover's wrinkly hand in yours as you cruise down James St to lay your eyes on the Brisbane venue where everything began. Now, do you want to be showing your grandkids a yellowing Chinese restaurant, or the super slick facade of At Sixes and Sevens. With a gorgeous interior and a menu of tasty share plates, this place is a first date winner.

Papa Jack's

Fortitude Valley

If your date orders the fried chicken and waffles and washes it down with a shrub, then you have found a good egg. Papa Jack's is a Brisbane bar that’s captured the heart and soul of its muse, the city of New Orleans, and it does it well. For gorgeous cocktails, and that mighty fine fried chicken, take your date to Papa Jack's.

Madame Wu

Brisbane CBD

If you can resist the urge to do a walrus face with your chopsticks, Madame Wu is a first date option that is equal parts sexy and cool. Serving up amazing modern Asian food, cocktails, an impressive selection of wine from the cellar, and one of the best river views in town, wooing your date at Madame Wu is a cinch (you saw that one coming, didn't you?).


West End

Just like the actual jungle, dating can be a prickly and terrifying business—it can really only end it two ways: death or heartbreak. Two things that will be far, far away from your mind at Brisbane’s only tiki bar! Emanating a happy yellow glow that makes you think of pineapples and sunshine, Jungle might be the happiest first date destination in Brisbane.

Dutch Courage

Fortitude Valley

There is never a more appropriate time to knock back a little Dutch courage than on a first date. Vaguely reminiscent of the raucous bar in Top Gun, with palm fronds and an officers’ mess vibe. So, if you’ve lost that loving feeling, take your honey to Dutch Courage.

Sonny’s House of Blues

Brisbane CBD

If a friendly dive bar is your jam, it’s hard to beat Sonny’s, a Brisbane bar and food joint that takes up residence in Rowes Lane. Colourful lights and cozy booths create a casual but fun vibe that is perfect for sneaky weeknight tequila shots with your new amore.

Brooklyn Standard

Brisbane CBD

Occupy those fidgety hands with a bowlful of pretzels and a Blue Moon witbier at this Brooklyn inspired bar. This free-spirited underground hangout has regular live music, a decent drinks list, and a cosy vibe that will have you and your date approaching second base in no time.

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