Byron has always had that extra dollop of urban hip, so what better way to cruise around the beachside mecca than to bar hop from one end of town to the other (drinking and walking responsibly of course).
With a surge of new kids on the Byron block, you’re spoilt for choice on where to gather when the sun goes down.
Here’s our list of top eight bars (oldies and newbies) to explore after dark in the bay…
Speaking of newbies this bio-dynamic gem has popped up in Bay Lane and it’s a little beauty, inspired by the wine bars of France and tapas bars of Spain. From a team who know their wine and food (it’s part owed by Hunter Valley winemaker Peter Windrim) they pride themselves on offering an array of natural wines from around the globe all served in traditional clay soul cups. There’s tasty, finger food on offer, like fresh sardines draped in olive oil, garlic and tomatoes. A no cutlery policy means a serviette is thrown on the ground as a nod of respect to the cook’s European style.
This funky pastel pink wonder popped up in an arcade off Bay Lane a couple of years ago, with the tagline ‘Eat, Drink, Vietnamese’. Light Years is a modern Asian bar, come diner, come super chilled place to hang out. The Vietnamese inspired décor, cocktail menu and uplifting staff add to the relaxed style. Expect cheeky named cocktails like the ‘Netflix & Chill’, a blend of local favourites like Brookies macadamia liqueur, popcorn infused spiced rum, passionfruit, lemon and aquafaba. You’ll also want to check out their hot pho and cold beer mid-week special.
The Bolt Hole
Coined as a craft cocktail, whisky and gin bar with over 300 fine spirits to choose from, The Bolt Hole has been a Byron Bay staple since it popped up in late 2015. The atmospheric watering hole offers a sophisticated cocktail and wine list, set amongst dark trimming and warm lighting. They’ve got happy hour specials, with prices that actually make you happy too, think tinnies, whisky sours and prosecco. There’s an array of local distillers on the menu and with a 2am license, it’s the place to be after midnight.
Balcony Bar & Oyster Co
The Balcony has long been known as the stalwart of the bay and like a good wine, it gets better with age. Perched high above the bustling shopping strip, it’s got one of the best views in town. More recently morphing into the Balcony Bar & Oyster Co, it now offers fresh oysters, a creative cocktail list and casual couches or high bar dining to top off the coastal vibe. Match weekend of bottomless bellinis with their popular oyster hour or try a delicious espresso martini with a candied orange twist, either way you can’t go wrong. If you're looking for one of Byron Bay's best bars, you've found it.
The Mez Club
The Mez Club is a Mediterranean cantina and bar with an exquisite cocktail list and food menu that takes you on a journey from Greece to the flavours of Turkey in the east. The neutral tones are inspired by the beach with open plan dining, island bar feature and a spiral staircase that leads to an upper level, perfect for a private shindig. Offering comfy corners, a cosy open fire and two happy hours a day (think Brookies, Ink Gin, Stone & Wood). Team a ‘Mez Maragita’ with delicious local fried halloumi, pickled onion and mint for the ultimate mid-week treat.
One of Byron’s newest late-night bars features Latin American bites (from the good folk at Three Blue Ducks) and a classy cocktail and wine list. Locura literally translates to madness in Spanish so there’s plenty of colour and character at this funky upstairs venue. Opening with a bang late last year, it’s the incarnation of the old La La land site, with a mash of DJs and music the dance floor heats up after 9pm. Quirky offerings like happy hours (plural) and a regular Cinco De Mayo Sunday fiesta plus live Latin tunes make Locura a must do.
St Elmos Dining Room & Bar
St Elmos is a modern-day wine and Spanish tapas bar and it’s been one of the most popular Byron venues for nearly a decade. The food and drink offerings are inspired by the flavours of Spain and created using locally sourced ingredients. Think mouth-watering eats like tasty steamed mussels and clams paired with tempranillo, or order a fresh lemon spritz from the crafted cocktail menu. The contemporary space transforms with the seasons, from light and airy in summer, to warm and inviting in winter, so it’s a goodie all year round.
The Sticky Wicket Bar
Every town needs a sports bar, right? The Sticky Wicket is Byron’s answer to a boisterous bar with a funky twist. Nestled in between retail shops opposite the Northern Hotel, there’s an old school black and white 50s theatre sign that rotates the sports of the day. The bar is a hive of activity, with an inviting open plan design, a slew of craft beers and did we mention their famous supersized jam jar cocktails and all-day sliders for just shy of fifteen bucks? Yep, you’ll want to make a beeline for this joint.
Image Credit: Johann Trasch/Unsplash, Light Years, The Mez