Bars & Pubs

Keep Your Cool At Brisbane’s Air-Conditioned Sweet Spots

By Ashton Rigg
31st Jan 2015

Baby, it's hot outside. We may only have one month of summer left to sweat through, but it feels like a marathon, not a sprint, until we can finally get our beauty sleep on a night below 20 degrees. 

In between pretending we understand synoptic charts and watching steamy conditions of a different kind at the tennis (kudos Mr Kyrgios), we're seeking reprieve at Brisbane's coolest cafes and bars. And we mean that literally. 

Gerard's Bar

New Farm

Gerard’s Bistro’s younger sibling is by no means living in any shadows. Plonk yourself down at the bar and settle in for an evening admiring shelves of pickled appetisers and enjoying a crash-course in charcuterie. 

Beyond mere recirculated air, Gerard’s Bar oozes with cool—the soft tunes, the amber glow, the devilishly charming bar staff, the $14 cocktails. A Spanish Cooler would go down a treat right about now. 

Ltd Espresso

Fortitude Valley

This Brunswick Street caffeine peddler is fond of a good A-Frame sign, but when they’re not busy scrawling hilarity onto their sandwich board, they like to keep Brisbanites cool under their collars.

Air-conditioned coffee nook Ltd Espresso has a well-stocked refrigerator of cold brews, going for five bucks a pop or $20 for a six-pack. Shut up and take our money!   

Gramercy Espresso & Eats

Brisbane CBD

Speaking of cafes that pump our circulatory systems with coffee goodness, pulling up a table at Gramercy is a failsafe way to beat the heat.

In addition to a sweet green juice that doesn't taste anything like liquefied salad, Gramercy peddle freshly baked tarts, banoffee shakes, filter coffee, stacked bagels, and other goodies worthy of their New Yorker moniker.  

Their soft-serve machine has us hightailing it to the Wintergarden for affogatos and caramel-slathered sundaes. 

The Alliance Hotel

Spring Hill

Shining like a white beacon, The Alliance Hotel is an oasis of cool in a cement desert. Whether you stay for a meal (they do have one of the best pub menus in town) or simply enjoy the momentary respite a frothy can deliver in this airconditioned bar, you're in for a treat.

Kiss the Berry

Brisbane CBD & South Bank

Such is the sway of the fitspo crowd who enjoy downing purple slushies for breakfast, that Kiss the Berry have gone from modest market stall to opening two permanent set-ups in the blink of an eye.

You can get your acai superfood fix at not one but two slick establishments: one on Creek Street in the CBD and the other below the ABC studios in South Bank. Grab a big bowl of purple and cool things down from the inside out. 

Dutch Courage Officers' Mess

Fortitude Valley

What's better than in ice-cold gin? An ice-cold gin in Colonial-chic Brisbane bar, Dutch Courage, that's what. They also have a beer and board games night on a Tuesday, should you need an excuse to hang out in the air con a while longer.



Cold-pressed is the name of the game this summer in Brisbane, and Press'd is leading the charge. After outgrowing their Antique Centre digs, Press'd have flung open the doors to their new and improved wholefoods cafe on the corner of Commercial Road and Arthur Street. Brisbane cafes with air con don’t come much fresher.

Don't confuse it with Pressed, however—another juicery which has two CBD locations on Adelaide Street and Elizabeth Street. They too are excellent. Basically, we're never going to run out of juice.

Sonny’s House of Blues

Brisbane CBD

Blues artists have cool woven into their DNA, so when we’re talking a whole HOUSE of blues, you know we mean serious freshness.

Sonny’s House of Blues—squirrelled away in Rowes Lane behind Jamie’s Italian—is the hip younger brother of Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall and the hottest spot to cool down in Brisbane this summer, what with their rummy slushies and frozen cocktails. 

Until Sonny came to town, we didn’t think speakeasies came cooler than Lefty’s but now, well, we just can’t play favourites.  

Nantucket Kitchen & Bar


Embracing the maritime values of New England, Nantucket is like the light-washed holiday home you've always dreamed of, except with more crab cakes and nicoise salads.

Is there a more perfect summer treat than an ice cream sandwich with raspberry jam? Don't forget NKB Express near the Indooro train station if you're fangin' for an old-school malt milkshake!

Lamberts Restaurant

Kangaroo Point

Lamberts boasts a deliciously airconditioned cocktail bar and lounge area, making this Brisbane restaurant and bar an easy bet on a sweltering summer's afternoon when the only thing to soothe you is a cold beverage and a cooler average temp'.

Woolly Mammoth

Fortitude Valley

If things are getting hairy out in the heat, duck into Fortitude Valley bar and restaurant, The Woolly Mammoth. Home to an impressive craft beer selection, The Mammoth has a bevvy of different rooms to play in.

Port Office Hotel

Brisbane CBD

There's no denying the Brisbane CBD can get a bit steamy, so if you need an airconditioned bar to hang out in until the temp' drops, make Port Office your go. The Marble Bar is a winner for drinks and a bite after work, minus the sweat.

Image credit: Hannah McCawley

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