Brisbane’s Top Cocktail Bars To Be Seen Sippin’ In

Pick your poison


By Style Journo | 9th June 2023

From lovestruck dates with that special someone to mischievous nights out with the girls, cocktails are the ultimate way to revel in the moment and celebrate the evening.

While a frothy ale at the pub always goes down well, and rooftop drinks are dizzyingly delicious, there’s something tantalising about the fusion of fresh ingredients, skillful mixing and steady pour that only a cocktail bar can serve up. Shaken or stirred, whatever it is you’re drinking to, mark the occasion with a cocktail far more flavoursome than any home concoction.

We’ve taken the guesswork out of ordering with a complete guide to the best cocktail bars in Brisbane to be seen sippin’ in, with our personal orders to boot.

Whether you’re mad for a martini, a chic coupé convert, or a lover of the highball, we’ve got just the watering hole for you.

By the way, we consider everyone in this list the best of the best! To make finding your next favourite that much easier, we’ve ordered the list alphabetically by suburb and also have filtering tabs for your convenience. Did we miss someone from the list? Let us know here!   

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Bar Kazba

Fortitude Valley

Get ready for a night of disco ball punch, Middle Eastern vegetarian morsels, and after dark DJ sets as you enter Bar Kazba. Tel Aviv nightlife is nothing short of wild and stimulating, and this cocktail bar is bringing Israel’s nocturnal party capital to the heart of Brisbane City. Influenced by the flavours of ancient Arabian spice routes, settle in and indulge in the trail of the month, taking you through each section of the menu including seasonal signatures, fizzy bubbly, sips for sharing, and smoky creations, plus so much more. Get deep into the vibes with their Seven Species sip – an olive oil and date gin creation paired with pomegranate juice, fig liqueur, ‘yallager’ house lager, and fresh Muscat grapes, or order up a Turkish Coffee Martini – a twist on the caffeine cocktail we all know and love. Using Middle Eastern cordials and unique garnishes derived from the region’s produce served in vessels from bazaars all makes for one truly exotic experience. 

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1st Edition Bar

Fortitude Valley

If you’re a sucker for a superhero series, this hidden bar on California Lane will rival any Comic-Con experience. With walls splashed with superheros and a comic-covered bar top, this intimate space seating 22 will transport you out of Brisbane and straight to Gotham City. Serving up Asian-inspired eats and killer cocktails, keep things wickedly sweet and order Harley Quinn’s dry gin with lemon, fairy floss, gold flakes, and rosé Cuvee. Or perhaps an illusively strong Spidey’s Marg, mixing top-shelf tequila, Cointreau, agave, and lime – either way, you’ll savour every sip. Whether you’re a DC devotee, mad for all things Marvel, or just like trying something a little different, 1st Edition Bar will change the way you drink.

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Maker

South Brisbane

One of Fish Lane’s many charms, Maker is a novel cocktail bar Brisbane connoisseurs are drawn to for its undeniably suave scene. With a focus on seasonal creations that are easy on the eyes and packed with flavour, this dark space embodies minimalism, keeping the focus on the cocktails. Crafted with flair, watch as exotic ingredients like marjoram shrub and artichoke are combined by mixologists with your favourite spirits, and served in striking glassware. The copper table top is the perfect setting for each vivid drink, charcuterie cabinet sensation, and seafood plate. Not sure what to order? Tell the team what you like and they’ll create a bespoke creation to satisfy and delight. 

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Dawn

Brisbane City

This contemporary cocktail bar nestled at the end of Spencer Lane is Brisbane City’s destination for Friday knock-off cocktails. You read right, pouring only one day a week from 4pm, Dawn’s opening hours certainly set them apart. They know their corporate crowd oh so well and perfectly cater to our need for a chilli marg after yet another week on the grind. With an ever-evolving cocktail menu and tasty bites to boot, find yourself drinking alfresco with brilliant DJs on the decks, or inside amongst the green velvet couches and French inspired side tables. Either way, your Friday is looking fabulous! 

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Gerard’s Bar

Fortitude Valley

A true James Street icon, Gerard’s Bar is loved by locals for its laidback yet sophisticated vibe. Park yourself in their courtyard under their twinkling fairy-lit tree and let the drinks flow as you sip away your worries, and bump into old friends. With a modern interior that commands the small hole-in-the-wall space, Gerard’s bar is just the place to be – and be seen – from 4pm well into the night. With delicious bites to accompany, it’s no wonder getting a seat is tricky, but if you’re keen to keep the good times going, swing on over to Gerard’s Bistro for a meal worth ‘gramming!

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Dr Gimlette

Brisbane City

Named after a surgeon in the Royal Navy who was the first to add lime cordial to gin came The Gimlet, and subsequently Dr Gimlette. Inspired by the premier cocktail bars around the globe, expect table service and perfectly executed cocktails curated by none other than Death & Taxes’ Anthony Burke. Boasting luxury Italian leather booths, a nine-metre marble bar, and heritage brickwork, escape the bustle of our CBD and rest easy knowing you can order any and every type of martini, both shaken and stirred from two designated carts. With charming illustrations to help you choose your perfect gimlet, fresh highball, riffed stir down, or luxury concoction, raise your glass in one of Brisbane’s oldest buildings.

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Canvas Club

Woolloongabba

This Woolloongabba hangout is splashed with thirsty locals looking for a cocktail bar away from the flurry of the Brisbane CBD. The Canvas Club has made its home inside a heritage-listed building filled with voluptuous vines, candle-lit tables, a hand-painted mural, and other vintage trinkets. A true family experience upon entering, bring the pooch to the outdoor courtyard and have a yarn with the team who are both warm and welcoming. The back bar is stocked with everything you can shake, stir and serve, with a list of 22 decadent cocktails to choose from. Using fresh ingredients with an unpredictable twist, spend a day in the Land of the Long White Cloud, or foresee the night ahead with One 2A.M. Too Many. Plus, don’t miss Blank Canvas Friday where you pick the flavours and the team makes you something you’ll love!

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LOS

Fortitude Valley

Thai-inspired cocktails make up the menu of LOS, aka Land of Smiles. Situated above Southeast Asian celebrated restaurant, sAme sAme, this pistachio green rendered bar is tucked away from the James Street flutter. With names that you can’t help smile at, think: Yee-Sip Swizzle with Havana Club 3 años white rum, strawberry, Thai basil, cassia honey, and lime, or the Phuket, I’ll Have Two with Corazon Blanco tequila, pineapple, passionfruit, orgeat, lime, agave, whites, and soda. Sink into a lounge and let the day slide into evening at LOS. 

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Bar Brutus

South Brisbane

An 8-seater bar bringing a touch of Italy to Fish Lane, Bar Brutus is located under the railway bridge and is the perfect stop for a pre- or post-dinner drink. A sibling for Julius Pizzeria just a hop, skip, and a jump across the lane, the interior of the bar is decked out with marble and timber, and features a large floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the laneway action. Thirsty? Pull up a stoll and quench on with classics such as americano, bellini, negroni, and shagliato, as well as drinks such as Negroni Al Lampone (gin, campari, sloe gin and raspberry), Arancia Rossa (tequila, Solerno blood orange, campari, and lime), or Aperitiki (white rum, aperol, passionfruit, pineapples, and lime) – either way, you’re bound to order another round.

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Kiki

South Brisbane

Southside’s little sibling might be small in size, but the cocktails certainly pack a punch. Tucked into the lush surrounds of Fish Lane Town Square, the kiosk offers Asian twists on classic favourites to mix up your sesh. Forget espresso martinis – you’ll be sipping on a Viet iced coffee with vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso, condensed milk, and coconut. Or fancy a marg? Kiki’s is spicy and icy, with chilli and watermelon. With walk-ins welcome every day of the week, head in on a Sunday and enjoy your sips to the tunes of groovy DJ beats as you enjoy bite after bite of delicious dim sum.

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Tetto Rooftop Bar

Everton Park

Can’t make it to Europe this year? Get your Italian fix at this coastal-inspired rooftop bar. Tetto brings the good vibes Tuesday to Sunday, serving up fresh cocktails to thirsty patrons. Perch yourself in their indoor-outdoor terrace space and soak up the sunshine under stripey orange and white beach umbrellas, surrounded by olive trees and posters of Italian coastal villages and beaches. On the menu are Tetto classics with an Italian twist, like the Amalfi Dream, Capri Colada, One Amore Mojito, and more, together with a selection of spritzers ready to be gulped. Stay a while and enjoy a taste of the good life – that’s amore!

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Rita’s Tequila & Taqueria

Teneriffe

The best non-Mexican Mexican joint in Brisbane certainly knows how to put together a killer marg! From former Stokehouse Q veterans, Rita’s offers an impressive cocktail and tequila menu that has something to give all thirsts the boot. Starting with the agave classics, crowd favourites include the Paloma with grapefruit and the Naked & Famous that mixes Aperol with mezcal verde to deliver a Rita’s staple. There are also signature cocktails like the Panam with mandarin liqueur and a small but mighty wine and beer offering, but the real kicker are their flavoured margaritas. The choice is yours as you can mix and match flavours to create your perfect sip. Can’t decide? Try coconut and chilli, then thank us later.

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The Inchcolm by Ovolo

Spring Hill

For a martini that even James Bond would approve of, head to The Inchcolm Bar, where they have the formula down to a science. From the seductive silhouette of the glass to the frosty cold serving, The Inchcolm’s love affair with the martini dates all the way back to the 1910s! The late wife of the original owner Marie Jean Thompson – who was one of Brisbane’s original socialites – wowed the crowds with her martinis as The Inchcolm continues to do today. Kick back in the velvety surrounds during their daily Martini Hour from 5.30pm-6.30pm or sip to the tune of live jazz on Thursday nights. The speakeasy-esque backdrop also plays host to wine and a selection of other indulgent spirits so you can whet your whistle in perfect style.

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Walrus Club

Toowong

Turn down the lights, and let the good times roll at this ambient cocktail bar. A dimly lit space inside The Regatta Hotel, the Walrus Club is the place to enjoy a perfectly mixed tipple amongst brick archways, leather couches, and rum crates. Order one of their signature sips – the Walrus Club Signature Serve of diplomatico reserve, bitters, and sugar – and sink into the atmosphere that’s inspired by the SS Walrus, a floating rum distillery that travelled the Queensland rivers between 1869 to 1884. With tapas and bites including chicken wings and antipasti platters on the cards, plus live music, it’s easy to see why Walrus Club is one of the hottest spots in town.

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Bar Pacino

Brisbane City

With a flair for tantalising flavours and gorgeous riverside views to boot, Bar Pacino has certainly proved itself as an iconic Eagle Street destination. Grab a drink (or a jug) of their delicious cocktails named after Drake songs, like the fruity Popstar or Trust Issues with rum, mandarin, pineapple, and passionfruit (duh!). Those on the ‘gram will probably recognise Bar Pacino for their famous blossom cocktail tree, which is adorned with your choice of four different martinis and served on a backdrop of the Brisbane River in all its glory. When hunger strikes, their Italian-inspired menu is sure to hit the spot, filled with hearty classics and modern twists. Start with a Nutella shot, and let the good times roll!

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Already covered the cocktail scene? Hop to it with Brisbane’s best breweries here. Or, you can read the latest issue of Style here. 

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