Bars & Pubs

Don Draper Approved Brisbane Bars to Suit Up For

By Daniel Colasimone
10th May 2014

As the most handsome functioning alcoholic in the world at the time, Don Draper knows how to look stylish while propping up a bar in the Mad Men series.

Being the most dapper gentleman of the 1960s, he doesn't just plant himself at any bar, either. Upscale establishments are a popular choice for Don, probably because he knows that elegant surroundings only serve to enhance his man-beauty. But he isn't averse to hitting up more unassuming joints as well, as long as they met certain requirements. 

If you're a brooding advertising genius, you're not looking to drink at a place that prides itself on cheap wings and $7 jugs of Tooheys New. You don't want to be surrounded by a bunch of rowdy students drinking snakebite and doing tequila shots — a common scene at some Brisbane bars. No, no. 

Don needs a serene environment. So he can, you know, brood. He needs a proper bar to sit at because, as an alcoholic, he is often to be found drinking alone. His position at the bar also allows random gorgeous women to throw themselves at him. Aside from that, a wide selection of quality spirits and a bartender with flawless cocktail-making skills are all that is needed.

Which brings us to the big question: If Don Draper were transplanted to the Brisbane of today, which bars would he find himself drawn to? Or to ask a question more pertinent to real life, if you're a good-looking rooster in a suit, which bars in Brisbane should you be buying your drinks at?

Here are our suggestions:

The Gresham

You could walk into The Gresham and see Don Draper smouldering in the corner, 1960s suit and hat and all, and not be all that taken aback, such is the old-school refinement and rich character of the locale. With a wide variety of select spirits, along with highly-trained bar staff, this place ticks all the boxes.


Moody lighting, smooth timber surfaces, dark leather couches, superb martinis; Don would love the executive allure of this place. It's the kind of joint he could bring a potential new account to in order to charm them, especially considering the superb food they offer. Public is a Brisbane bar sure to help seal the deal.

The Walrus Club

Dark and difficult to find, this Toowong venue would be the perfect place to get cosy with someone you shouldn't necessarily be getting cosy with. The Walrus Club bartenders are also artists when it comes to making cocktails, so it won't be hard to get through enough Old Fashioneds to make those feelings of guilt go away.


Every ad man (and ad woman, sorry Peggy) loves quaffing whiskey like it's Pepsi Cola, so West End hideaway Cobbler would be heaven to Don, with its warm ambiance, grand wooden bar and entire wall of whiskeys. We like to think he would stray from the product-placed Canadian Club he glugs in the show so as to sample some of the outstanding whiskeys on offer from all over the world. An outstanding Brisbane bar, worthy of Don himself.


It is easy to imagine Don Draper and Roger Sterling resting their hats on the long Cabiria bartop, ordering a couple of after-work scotches, then deciding to stick around into the evening to partake in a few more scotches, a bite to eat, some witty banter with the barkeep, a couple of martinis and some regrettable decisions. This Brisbane bar is casual and chic at the same time, and that's something these gents would appreciate.

TUL Note: Hailing from the 'Paris of the South,' Bundaberg, Dan Colasimone is back in Brisbane after spending the better part of a decade living overseas. He also writes about sport. He once completed an Arts degree. Twitter: @ArgentinaFW 

Image credit: Pinterest

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