The round-up: Brisbane’s ten best cocktail bars as voted by you
We’re sure you’d agree that cocktails are serious business. Beer and wine selections aside, a top-flight bar’s reputation is staked on the quality of its cocktails, which is why we can’t abide by a negligently made negroni or an ordinary old fashioned. At the beginning of the year we asked The Weekend Edition readers to vote for their favourite (read: best) cocktail bars in town for the 2016 EAT/drink Awards, and you responded en masse. Now we’ve got a near definitive selection, so if you are as serious about your cocktails as we are, make sure you’ve sipped from every entry on this list – the ten best cocktail bars around.
They say you can never have too much of a good thing, but the team behind Maker has chosen to keep things exclusive and intimate for this boutique cocktail bar. Situated in Fish Lane, Maker seats only a few, but those lucky enough to snag a seat are taken on a delightfully flavoursome journey. The bartenders at Maker are some of the most skilled hands around and are capable of whipping up the drink of your dreams based only on your vague instruction or mood in the moment. You’ll fall in love with every aspect of this bar, from the hand-chipped ice spheres to the seasonal produce that is used across all cocktails. Maker is too legit to quit, and deserves to be at the top.
Tucked away in Woolloongabba’s culinary cul-de-sac on Logan Road, Canvas has long been slinging cocktails to discerning drinkers with aplomb. Following the mantra that ‘there can’t be good living where there is not good drinking’, Canvas prides itself on thinking outside of the box throughout the entire cocktail creation process. Potions with intriguing names such as Howling Jimmy Jefferson, Time Warp Again and Stanley Ipkiss share menu space with classics such as the Pisco Punch, Sherry Cobbler and Morning Glory Fizz. When it comes to the name game, Canvas’s cocktails are at the top, but don’t worry – they’ve got flavour to match.
Runner-up: The Junk Bar
Let’s hear it for the ‘burbs! You don’t have to schlep into the inner city to get your hands on a sublime cocktail – Brisbane’s suburbs have got the goods as far as drinks are concerned. The Junk Bar in Ashgrove is one damn cosy nook for any cocktail connoisseur, with an impressive selection of choices and a myriad of comfortable furniture to sink into.
Eleven Rooftop Bar
Do you like your drinks served ‘up’? We’re not just referring to stemmed glasses here, but also drinks served with a bit of altitude in the mix. The bar staff at Eleven Rooftop Bar serve a selection of colourful concoctions including spiced apple sours, peach iced tea, apple pie martinis, cognac-infused sangria and sweet tea swizzles, in addition to beloved beverages such as negronis, martinis, and old fashioned. If you’re seeking a view to a killer cocktail, all you need to do is look up (literally and figuratively) Eleven Rooftop Bar.
Can You Keep A Secret?
Obviously, we cannot keep a secret. Even if we could, keeping this bar to ourselves would be a crime – it’s too good not to share. This Woolloongabba-based establishment began its life in Greenslopes as a haven for eclectic vintage treasures. These days you can still find retro pieces to recline in but also a lounge bar stocked to the brim with all of your favourite cocktail fixings to boot. Once you kick back in one of the many stylishly appointed corners with your drink of choice, you’ll see why it’s so hard to not run around raving about this place.
Since 2003, Fortitude Valley speakeasy The Bowery has been delivering the goods as far as cocktails are concerned. Influenced by the cocktail culture of New York City, The Bowery prides itself on not only doing justice to the classics, but also pushing the boundaries with new flavour combinations. Pair that with a hip fit-out and some flashy flair behind the bar, you’ll quickly see why The Bowery has been on lists like these since day dot.
If you want a sure thing when it comes to quality bars, pick the establishment frequented by bartenders. Cobbler has been one of this city’s best spots for a tipple ever since it opened – earning numerous accolades when stacked up against some of Australia’s best. The back bar is stocked with some highly covetable bottles contributing to the delectable cocktail selection. With a distinct focus top shelf whiskies, Cobbler is a great location to settle in over a snifter, but trust us when we say the cocktails are worth investigating as well.
When an establishment earns an award for Bar Team of the Year (at the Australian Bar Awards, no less), then you know that you’re in good hands. The Gresham in The City has set the standard for cocktail class ever since it first opened its doors, and the venue’s reputation has only increased. Stop in for Gresham favourites including the Sunnyboy, Midnight Ramble or the Death And Taxes, or stop in regularly and work your way through the entire list of concoctions, boilermakers and boutique spirits. Earlier this year The Gresham opened up The Drawing Room, a cocktail haven with a menu of drinks made using native ingredients. Now that’s two very good reasons to stop by.
Mr and Mrs G Riverbar
Sitting pretty on the banks of the Brisbane river is one of Eagle Street’s premiere destinations for a sublime cocktail. Mr and Mrs G Riverbar pairs a premium selection of sips with unbeatable views, making it a sure-fire winner of our hearts and tastebuds. The G Originals include some truly tantalising concoctions, while the share cocktails are perfect for splitting amongst friends.
Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess
Do you like gin? If the answer is yes, then we’ve got the spot for you. We readily admit that a gin and tonic is hardly a cocktail, but Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess was inspired by the iconic pairing, so it’s easy to see why gin is a focus here. The movers and shakers behind the bar regularly whip up a range of gin and non-gin based cocktails including the Hendricks Bathtub, Mediterranean Muse, DC Cobbler, Out of Africa and more.
To have a look at the complete list of winners from the 2016 EAT/drink Awards, click here.
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