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The Best Bars To Get A Drink At In Brisbane Right Now

Despite multiple lockdowns, ever-changing restrictions, and new ways of working and serving—Brisbane’s bar scene continues to flourish. You just can’t keep a good thing down. A plethora of European-style wine bars, late-night music dives, and laneway cocktail rooms have all recently entered Brisbane’s bar scene, giving locals an unbelievable amount of choice when it comes to deciding where new to try first. 

Brisbane’s best bars come in all shapes, sizes, and guises. Unsure where to bend an elbow at? Here are the best bars in Brisbane right now worth your hard-earned cash.

Bar Brutus

South Brisbane

Residing in the newly opened Town Square in South Brisbane’s burgeoning Fish Lane, Bar Brutus is the brainchild of Julius Pizzeria co-owner Aleks Dzajkovski and Julius barman Stefan Angelovski. Similar in feel to traditional Italian espresso bars of old, the tiny space is designed for drop-ins; in this case pre-dinner Spritzs or aperitivi with snacks. Five spritzes, five classic and five modern cocktails make up the bulk of the drink menu, with spuntini dishes of salted potato chips, olives, and small antipasti plates.

Its huge floor-to-ceiling windows open out onto Fish Lane, making the space feel anything but pokey while feeling connected to the bustling foot traffic down the laneway. The perfect pre-dinner kick-starter.

Susie Wong’s Good Time Bar

Fortitude Valley

Taking over the famous digs of The Bowery Bar on Ann Street, Suzie Wong’s Good Time Bar is exactly that: a good time. Described as a Hawaiian dive bar, Suzie Wong’s aesthetic is gritty, lived-in, with a scattering of neon signs, photos, old posters, and paintings adding to her character. 

Drinks adhere to the Pacific theme, too, with Suzie coladas rolling out thick and fast, but expertly made classics also get a run—in case a Fizzy Bubbly Boi doesn’t do it for you. A cocktail bar with a decided penchant for live music you can also expect gig nights and live performances dotted throughout the week and into the early hours on weekends. 

Tetto

Everton Park

Brisbane’s northern suburbs is the last place you’d expect to find an Amalfi Coast-style rooftop bar, but stranger things have happened. The crown in the newly opened Everton Plaza Park Lane precinct, Tetto has been welcomed with open arms by locals looking for a Spritz fix. 

White-wash walls, curved arches, paper lanterns, and striped umbrellas serve a decidedly Mediterranean aesthetic, while the drinks—including four spritz iterations and a dozen cocktails—make the perfect sundowners. Charcuterie boards, calamari, a few pasta dishes, and mains make for the perfect Sunday session or sundowner.

Kiki

South Brisbane

Natural wines and cocktails served in a corner of a verdant laneway, Kiki’s already in punters good books. Tucked under the train tracks in a beautiful Richards and Spence-designed urban space, Kiki slings coffee, artisanal pastries, and banh mi by day, before switching to hard liquor by night. 

An elegant circular kiosk, Kiki’s bar is largely alfresco, taking full advantage of Brisbane’s temperate climes and plays into the subtle Vietnamese undertone; crisp Asian lagers—Singha, 333 and Bia Hanoi—and refreshing, grown-up cocktails of mojitos and margaritas, each with Asian influences and ingredients.

La Valle

Fortitude Valley

Showcasing a few dozen Australian and European drops (plus a handful of beers to satisfy the masses), La Valle is a classy little wine bar-come-bottle shop with a big attitude. Offering wines by the glass and the bottle, you might savour a bold Montepulciano from Abruzzo, an aromatic Riesling from WA, or perhaps dabble in a couple of skin-contact oranges. 

La Valle does a mean selection of cheese and charcuterie boards, and four Italian-style focaccias, all stuffed with goodies the likes of heirloom tomatoes, prosciutto, and mortadella.

LOS Bar

Fortitude Valley

LOS (or Land of Smiles) may be located along one of Brisbane’s most sought-after dining precincts, Ada Lane, but it isn’t strictly visible from street level. To access Same Same’s ‘secret’ second-floor cocktail bar, you’ll have to sneak up the stone stairway, where you’re welcomed by a green-hued watering hole overlooking the street below.

Specialising in tequila and boasting over 140 bottles on the back bar, the cocktails lean toward the Thai-inspired: the ‘Thaijito’—gin, house liqueur, lychee, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaf, ‘one night in Bangkok—rum, charred pineapple, condensed coconut milk and lime, and ‘Thai-Tanic’—galangal tequila, peach aperitif, bergamot, and suze. Keep hunger at bay with light snacks, courtesy of the bar menu at Same Same 

Death and Taxes

Brisbane city

An award-winning whisky bar down a CBD laneway, Death and Taxes is reminiscent of the classic speakeasies of old – an incredibly rare thing in Brisbane. The vision of Brisbane bar industry hall of famers responsible for Savile Row and Cobbler, this is a very grownup space – such is their instantly recognisable aesthetic. Lured in by dimly lit chandeliers and well-worn leather chesterfields, this is the place to nestle in dark corners, nursing a whisky neat and solve the world’s problems.

An impeccable drinks list, cocktails vary from stalwarts like an old fashion to modern classics like the ‘bone chapel’ – Bladnoch 10 scotch whisky, oloroso, fernet branca, strawberry and sherry vinegar. The back bar boasts a 600-strong selection of the best whisky, scotch, and gin, and is so tall it brushes the ceiling (the bar staff nimbly climbing the dedicated ladder to access the rarest drops).

Alba Bar & Deli

Brisbane CBD

A small 50-seater Basque-style tapas bar in one of Brisbane’s famous city laneways, Alba Bar & Deli pairs the tantalising tapas of northern Spain’s San Sebastian with fortified wines and cocktails. Oh, and iconic hip-hop beats overhead. Go figure. But it works.

Wine, particularly of the Spanish varietals, take prime position, Alba pouring several red, white and ranges by the glass, while the neat cocktail list changes semi-regularly and has that unexpected nod to hip-hop classics; ‘Ante Up’—woodfired reserve, zucca, lemon, orange marmalade, and ‘Sure Shot’—illegal joven (mezcal), tequila tromba, mango and pineapple. Serving until midnight six nights a week, Alba’s actitud relajada really rubs off on you after a couple of sherries…

Will & Flow

Brisbane CBD

Floating on the river’s edge between the QUT Gardens Point ferry terminal and Goodwill Bridge, Will & Flow has busted onto the Brisbane bar scene as a glittering riverside cocktail bar. With surprisingly few bars taking full advantage of the water’s edge, Will & Flow has a monopoly on views overlooking South Bank’s art precinct.

Take your pick from classic negronis, cosmos, and margaritas, wine, champagnes, and local beers, before heading out onto the deck for what might be the best sunset going. Hungry? The woodfired pizza oven perched on the edge of the deck keeps itself busy, slinging fresh pies to accompany a glass of bubbly.

Lobby Bar

Fortitude Valley

Spilling out onto Fortitude Valley’s Ada Lane, the aptly named Lobby Bar is the Calile Hotel’s achingly chic bar in the ground floor lobby area. Decked out in lashings of rose-hued marble, soft sphere lighting, and gold furnishings the space all but glows from within.

Take a seat at the bar, beside the pulled-back bi-fold windows, or outside on the lane’s cobbled path.

Kick back in sumptuous surrounds with an ‘una aventura’—reposado tequila, grapefruit, agave, lime, and egg whites, ‘lobby loco’—run, pineapple, mint, coconut, and lime served straight up, or house favourite ‘Calile spritz’—gin, Aperol, crème de peche, lime and soda.

Boom Boom Room Izakaya

Brisbane CBD

A subterranean Japanese izakaya-come-cocktail lounge, Boom Boom Room has reimagined the basement of the iconic heritage-listed bank on the corner of Elizabeth and George Street. A space that feels equal parts opulent bar and dining destination, executive chef Jake Nicolson and beverage director Aaron Clark nails the Japanese izakaya-style dining brief. 

Come for dinner, stay for drinks, or vice versa, Boom Boom Room’s mixture of sunken bar seating and dining areas make it work. The cocktails pack a punch, tapping into meticulous Japanese artistry and Australian produce, while the bar stocks a superb selection of Japanese whiskies, sake, beers, and wine. For the whiskey connoisseur, however, you’ll want to spend some time in the vault, where 27 rare and limited release Japanese drops await your tastebuds (and your wallet).

Maker

South Brisbane

The thing about Maker is it just continues to challenge the new kids on the block, consistently serving up the best cocktails and small-batch wines in the game. The tiny 18-seater may have more competitors now than ever before but this laneway lovely still features in the best bars lists country-wide, quietly winning multiple awards as it goes.

Intimate, approachable, you won’t find frilly cocktail names, just a list of ingredients describing the final product. Emphasising the seasonal nature of the neat drinks list, small-batch wines are ordered in by the dozen, and there’s a tiny space for small bites to be assembled in the back corner. You’ll never have a repeat experience at Maker, and that’s all part of her charm.