Brisbane’s ten best bars as voted by you
It’s already March and the 2016 EAT/drink Awards seem to be distant in our rear-view mirror, but let’s not move on too quickly! The awards are only just picking up steam on the Gold Coast and we’ve barely even had time to acknowledge all of those who voted for the Brisbane round. Seeing as the EAT/drink Awards are decided by your votes, we thought it would make sense to give you the definitive list of Brisbane’s ten best bars (as well as best new and institution bars) – as voted by you! We’ve got to hand it to you all – you’ve got some great taste. If you have been planning a bar crawl (or maybe the idea is only entering your mind just now), you won’t find a better list of candidates than right here.
Winner: Fitz + Potts
Nundah’s Fitz + Potts has been an extremely popular spot for a tipple since day one of trading in October 2015. With plenty of room to move as well as a spacious deck overlooking Nundah’s busy main promenade, Fitz + Potts caters to all kinds. With an enviable selection of craft beers as well as a menu of gourmet jaffles, pies from The Goat Pie Guy and three kinds of share platters, it’s no wonder you all love this place.
Runner up: At Sixes and Sevens
Every Friday and Saturday night, James Street revellers flock to At Sixes and Sevens for knock-off drinks and casual weekend sips. Hordes of stylish punters fill up the bar’s interior before spilling out into the outdoor setting, mingling and partying all through the night. Tapas, cocktails and bubbles – this place has got the lot.
Runner up: Eleven Rooftop Bar
Another joint runner-up is Eleven Rooftop Bar, which sits above the rabble of Fortitude Valley’s entertainment precinct. If you like cocktails and a view, this is the spot for you. The menu features moreish share plates of arancini, quail terrine, smoked lamb rump and fresh oysters, but if you are only keen to snack then the duck fat potatoes go down a treat.
Runner up: The Gresham
This award-winning bar blends old world sophistication with new age mixology flair, located conveniently in Brisbane’s city centre. The Gresham boasts some of the best cocktails in town, as well as a mind-boggling range of spirits (seriously, check out the impressive list of whiskies – it’s unmatched), beer and wine. This bar’s reputation is well earned. Trust us, we know bars.
Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall
If you haven’t boogied your heart out at Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall on Caxton Street then you simply haven’t lived. Blending the aesthetic of a bygone era with tasteful rockabilly sensibilities, Lefty’s has been party central for years. The signature whisky apple is a must-try, as is the all-night menu of American-inspired bites.
Brisbane Brewing Co
Craft beer-lovers swooned when Brisbane Brewing Co opened its laneway location in 2014. The microbrewery-meets-beer meets eatery concocts its own golden brews on site and pairs them with a menu of sumptuous share plates. Ten beers are available off tap, with different tasting ales for every palate.
A stone’s throw from Eagle Street’s thriving riverside precinct is this secretive speakeasy, which can be found through a door illuminated by a small neon sign. Once inside, patrons are treated to a world of rambunctious revelry, with live music every night, tasty cocktails, and a bona fide electric atmosphere.
Nestled between fine dining restaurants and popular brunch spots is Woolloongabba’s finest cocktail and wine bar – Canvas. The skilled mixologists at Canvas can whip up a classic in a heartbeat, or can concoct a new recipe that you are sure to like. Oh, and you can also get breakfast cocktails here if you are keen on a boozy brunch.
The Junk Bar
Out in Ashgrove is one of Brisbane’s finest suburban hole-in-the-wall bars – Junk. Don’t let the name confuse you – there is nothing garbage about the drinks on offer here. Settle into the cloud-like comfort of Junk’s vintage couches and mellow out in the laid-back atmosphere the bar cultivates. If you happen to head along on a night that The Skukum Lounge opens, you’ll be able to catch all sorts of intimate live music.
Fish Lane is on the cusp of a massive boom in Brisbane with a range of new eateries set to open doors, but we can’t forget about Maker, which has been mixing up Brisbane’s best cocktails since the area popped up on our radars. Maker won the EAT/drink Award for Best Cocktail – so it seems we are all in agreement that this praise is well deserved.
Best New Bar: The Catchment Brewing Co
West End has been going through a renaissance period when it comes to cracking craft beer bars. The Catchment Brewing Co is the latest to pop up on West End’s main drag, boasting its own brewing facilities and a stellar menu of enhanced pub grub. With two floors of interior seating and a beer garden in the rear to stretch your legs across, this spot quickly established itself as happy hour central.
Runner up: The Village Social
Nundah’s current boom shows no sign of slowing down – not when venues like The Village Social are operating. From craft beer to charcuterie, The Village Social ticks all the crucial boxes, while also curating a cosy vibe within its compact space.
Runner up: The Apo
The Moubment Group knows how to open a great bar. From La Ruche to Gerard’s Bar, these cool cats have their finger on the pulse when it comes to cutting-edge trends. The Apo proves our point – two floors and a outdoor setting dedicated to delicious cocktails and Middle Eastern fare. Those looking for a classy haunt in the middle of Fortitude Valley can find their oasis at the entrance to Bakery Lane.
Best Institution Bar: The Bowery
Admit it – when you are craving a cocktail (or three) you usually start your search at The Bowery. For a long time this Fortitude Valley haunt has poured some of the best mixtures in town, and it’s about time we recognised its enduring contribution to Brisbane’s hospitality scene. Cheers to The Bowery – long may the spirits flow!
Runner up: The Zoo
As far as Brisbane’s live music scene is concerned, it wouldn’t be nearly as vibrant as it currently is if it weren’t for The Zoo. The heralded music venue has a long history of supporting the local scene in addition to attracting international acts to its stage. The Zoo also doubles as a drinking hall on its own accord, and recent improvements to the venue will ensure it remains a cornerstone of Fortitude Valley for years to come.
Runner up: The Beat
If you’ve never experienced a night at The Beat, then we suggest you put on your dancing shoes and rectify that immediately. For more than two decades The Beat has been the place to shake your tush until the early hours of the morning, and for this reason it earns a special place in our hearts for ever and ever.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 1800 places to eat, drink, shop and play.