The round-up: soak up sun or starlight at the best rooftop bars in Brisbane
When the weather is turning it on, there’s no better feeling than getting elevated. We love flocking to our closest rooftop bar, getting sky high and soaking up the rays while taking in a killer view. Brisbane’s skyline is slowly filling in with some top-notch rooftop bars, and we’ve taken it upon ourselves to list some of Brisbane’s best. Forget your fear of heights – once you take in the vistas at these elevated haunts, you’ll never want to come back down to earth.
MAYA Mexican, Fortitude Valley: The Coats Group – the brains behind Il Molo in Bulimba – took a big gamble in 2020, shaking up operations at its beloved Eleven Rooftop Bar and reinventing it as Mexican-inspired lookout MAYA Mexican. The pivot, it seems, has paid off – MAYA is one of Brisbane’s most popular vantage points, with a breezy open-air decor inspired by Mexico’s gorgeous coastal regions. An all-white aesthetic is offset by desert cacti, stone, marble and timber, while furnishings in the form of oversized lounges and intimate booths score eye-catching views of The City and The Valley’s surrounds. Guests can kick back and take in the view with a margarita at their elbow and flame-grilled prawns coated in tequila, Dos Equis-battered snapper tacos or kingfish ceviche plated up in front of them.
Cielo Rooftop Bar, Fortitude Valley: Sitting pretty six floors above Foresters Hall on Brunswick Street, Cielo Rooftop Bar boasts a killer vantage point and a food-and-drink offering to match. Operated by the crew behind La Costa downstairs, Cielo draws similar inspirational cues from the Italian Riviera – particularly the cloudless skies and the carefree vibe of the Amalfi Coast. Cushy yellow booths are offset by peach, blue and white tones as well as pops of greenery, evoking the feeling of salubrious happy hours enjoyed on the sun-soaked terraces of the Cinque Terre. The bar team is slinging an inventive cocktail list crafted by the skilled mixologists from Sydney’s Maybe Sammy, while a seafood-heavy menu offers tasty treats like Hiramasa kingfish ceviche, octopus carpaccio, crab and mango salad, and beetroot-and-gin-cured salmon bruschetta.
Tetto Rooftop Bar, Everton Park: As part of Everton Plaza’s Park Lane revamp, the team behind Corbett & Claude and Comuna Cantina reached for the stars, opening a coastal Italian-inspired bar Tetto. The 300-sqm space features a colour palette dominated by white, concrete, pastel coral and sherbet orange. A sun-drenched courtyard overlooks Corbett’s alleyway space below, with orange-and-white striped umbrellas shading a collection of tables and cushioned high chairs. The bar offers a selection of effervescent spritzes taking the edge off any summer heat, while signature cocktails like The Amalfi Dream, Coastal Kiss and Capri Colada inject some colour into your rooftop revelry.
Iris Rooftop, Foritude Valley: Hotel X’s opening in the first half of 2021 caused a considerable stir – not just because a new luxury accommodation spot had landed a mere stone’s through from The Valley’s nexus, but it was also adding to Brisbane’s rooftop bar scene. Channelling summery vibes year round, Iris by the Ghanem Group houses a rooftop bar, a 200-seat restaurant area, a boutique 14-seat private dining space, a cluster of poolside bungalows and even room for a dance floor. Uninterrupted views of the city skyline and Brisbane River can be enjoyed with Iris’ alluring range of ambrosial cocktails and share-style menu imbued with the flavours of the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Ooh La La, Woolloongabba: Multifaceted Stanley Street hub C’est Bon added another level to its offering in 2021, transforming a sizeable rooftop space into uber-chic cocktail and snack spot. Ooh La La not only boasts exemplary views of Woolloongabba’s surrounds, but also a designated bar and space for 45 patrons cocktail style. Those participating in a sky-high soiree will be able to indulge in bumps of Siberian and Oscietra caviar, potato rye blinis crowned with a dollop of creme fraiche and roe, duck-liver parfait, and confit suckling pig terrine while sipping on one of Ooh La La’s signature cocktails or a glass of French champagne.
Fiume Bar at Crystalbrook Vincent, Brisbane City: The Howard Smith Wharves precinct is great for those looking to dine with some river views, but Fiume Bar at the top of Crystalbrook Vincent is perfect if you’re seeking a little bit more elevation (and one of the best rooftop bars in Brisbane). This chic-yet-relaxed watering hole offers glimpses down the riverwalk in both directions and the underside of towering Story Bridge above, which makes a perfect backdrop to sip spritz and sample Italian finger food all night long.
The Terrace at Emporium Hotel, South Bank: Panoramic views and subtropical-luxe splendour is what one can expect when you step out onto The Terrace at the top of Emporium South Bank, one of the best rooftop bars in Brisbane. Sitting 21 floors above terra firma, The Terrace matches boutique cocktails and Asian-inspired eats with poolside vibes and vistas that will have you feeling on top of the world.
Sixteen Antlers, Brisbane City: The Pullman Hotel has set the standard for the best rooftop bars in Brisbane, with its sky-high bar Sixteen Antlers rising above the asphalt to create a lofty and luxurious experience. This inner-city oasis has a fabulous menu of nibbles, from charcuterie and Vietnamese-style barramundi spring rolls to artisan cheeses and mini brioche sliders. As for drinks, sippers can choose from eight cocktails, top-notch wines and beers.
Elixir Rooftop Bar, Fortitude Valley: Friday and Saturday nights in The Valley are known to get a little bit crazy, which is why it’s good that there’s a tranquil respite to retreat to in the form of Ann Street’s Elixir Rooftop Bar. Wooden decor, lush plants and day-bed seating keep the vibe casual, which means you can more easily relax and enjoy Elixir’s hand-rolled pizzas, lamb-rack share boards, small plates and impressive list of cocktails.
Soleil Pool Bar, South Bank: Ascend up to the podium level of Rydges South Bank and you’ll come across the stunning Soleil Pool Bar. This is the perfect spot to soak up the sun or sashay the night away from the pool deck to the main bar. The cocktail menu boasts a bevy of colourful concoctions including sizeable share cocktails, backed up by nibbles such as Peking duck spring rolls, fried-chicken sliders, roast-pumpkin pizzas, juicy burgers, buttered prawns and more.
Eagles Nest, Kangaroo Point: Every Friday and Sunday afternoon, Eagles Nest attracts loads of patrons keen to roost comfortably 12 floors above the world. We don’t blame them – the views at Eagles Nest are pretty spectacular. With vistas including the Brisbane City skyline, the Story Bridge and beyond, this elevated hub is near unbeatable in terms of atmosphere at altitude. The food and drink are exclamation worthy too – tori karaage, manchego croquettes, salmon gyoza, swordfish skewers and Middle Eastern beef koftas make for a perfect pairing with Eagles Nest list of libations.
Dandy’s Rooftop Bar at The Fox, South Bank: Overlooking South Bank’s cultural precinct is Dandy’s Rooftop Bar at The Fox Hotel. Described as an adult playground, Dandy’s is a multi-coloured hub of hospitality for afternoon sessions and late-night partying. This happening hot-spot pours plenty of wine, beer and specialty cocktails to get you in the mood, as well as a menu of eats ranging from tasty pizzas to jackfruit tacos.
Dirty Sultan, Fortitude Valley: Ascend to the top of TRYP Fortitude Valley and you’ll find a lavish Mediterranean-inspired bar taking the best bits from Europe’s bar and club scene. Dirty Sultan boasts a killer cocktail list, a menu of Turkish-inspired nibbles, and a rotating selection of DJs playing the likes of Euro house, French hip-hop and lo-fi. Also, Dirty Sultan is the only spot in Brisbane with an on-site shisha lounge! Well worth a visit.
Honourable mentions: If you’re seeking more sun-soaked vantage points, be sure to check out Limes Hotel’s rooftop bar, the WET Deck at W Brisbane, Nautilus at Westin Brisbane and the Pool Terrace at Hyatt Regency.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.