Exotic holidays provide the perfect excuse to drink with abandon, but what happens when you need a well-stocked watering hole closer to home? We’ve rounded up the best of the best locations abroad and their equivalent bars in Brisbane.
Little Red Door | Paris
Yes, there is a little red door, but the real entrance is hidden around the corner! Don’t speak French? Not a problem – the cocktail menu is a beautiful collection of illustrations inspired by each drink, with a sneaky pull-out ingredient card if you need more details.
Signature drink: Cocktail #11 (Merlet Cognac, roasted sesame and aromatic bitters)
Similar vibe in Brisbane: Maker, South Brisbane
Artesian Bar | London
Nestled within the prestigious Langham Hotel, the drinks at Artesian are more than just a sweet tipple. Regularly awarded top place on the World’s 50 Best Bars list, Artesian serves up cocktails in all manner of unexpected drinking vessels.
Signature drink: Artesian’s Camouflage – served in a gilded pineapple, of course
Similar vibe in Brisbane: The Apo, Fortitude Valley
The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog | New York City
Before Wall Street brokers ruled the streets, the New York Financial District was home to Irish-American gangsters, and The Dead Rabbit harks back to this time. Imagine a slice of Belfast, captured perfectly for Manhattanites to enjoy.
Signature drink: Irish whiskey – there are more than 50 on offer!
Similar vibe in Brisbane: Cobbler Bar, West End
Black Pearl | Melbourne
Australian cocktail connoisseurs are lucky enough to have several local inclusions on the World’s 50 Best Bars list. Melbourne’s Black Pearl is a wonderland for lovers of fine spirits; prop yourself up at the bar downstairs, or scoot upstairs to The Attic for more personal table service.
Signature drink: Copa Vida (gin, kiwi and truffle bitters)
Similar vibe in Brisbane: The Bowery, Fortitude Valley
Smuggler’s Cove | San Francisco
If you fancy yourself a modern-day pirate, then San Francisco’s Smuggler’s Cove will provide plenty of Caribbean flair. With the largest rum selection in the USA, Smuggler’s Cove is a tiki-infused heaven.
Signature drink: Captain’s Grog (several rums, grapefruit, maple syrup and falernum)
Similar vibe in Brisbane: Jungle, West End
The Jerry Thomas Project | Rome
This bar takes its name from the grandfather of mixology, the inimitable Mr Jerry Thomas. This hidden speakeasy-style bar can be accessed only with the secret password (find the hints on the bar website) and has several mysterious stipulations, such as no credit card payments, no flash photography, and no vodka.
Signature drink: Negroni del Professore (gin, Campari and vermouth)
Similar vibe in Brisbane: Prohibition, Fortitude Valley
Bar Hemingway | Paris
The watering hole of literary greats such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Marcel Proust, and (of course) namesake Ernest Hemingway, this Parisian bar is the ultimate in French chic. Try to nab the attention of head bartender Colin – he has often been ranked as the best bartender in the world by Forbes Magazine, and has been at the Hotel since 1994.
Signature drink: The Serendipity (calvados, apple juice, mint and champagne)
Similar vibe in Brisbane: The Gresham Bar, Brisbane
Bar High Five | Tokyo
Japanese style is often characterised by a precise attention to detail, and this flawless execution is evident at Bar High Five in Tokyo. Even the ice is lovingly prepared – think branded ice cubes, or hand-carved ice “crystals”.
Signature drink: Impossible to name, as there is no menu at this Ginza-style bar. Instead, bartenders ask a series of questions to uncover your perfect concoction.
Similar vibe in Brisbane: The hidden bar at Kwan Brothers, Fortitude Valley
Tales & Spirits | Amsterdam
If you like your drinks served with a hearty dose of flair and banter, bypass the infamous Amsterdam coffee shops and head to Tales & Spirits. Considering the quality of drinks on offer (and the number of chandeliers), this venue is surprisingly pocket-friendly, which is a boon for travellers on a budget.
Signature drink: The Fallen Lady (a cheeky nod to the nearby Red Light District, with vodka, dark chocolate and Burlesque bitters)
Similar vibe in Brisbane: Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane
Manhattan at the Regent | Singapore
The clue is in the name: the opulent Manhattan Bar in Singapore is directly inspired by the Golden Age of cocktails, when imaginations ran free in pre-Prohibition New York. The cocktail list is lovingly created around a map of NYC.
Signature drink: Ruinart Champagne
Similar vibe in Brisbane: Bacchus, South Bank
Bar Marmont | Los Angeles
You don’t have to be a celebrity fiend to appreciate the Old Hollywood glamour of the Chateau Marmont Hotel, and the nearby Bar Marmont is no different. The interior is utter perfection: a long oak bar, plump velvet couches, and enough quirky vintage stylings to please any design aficionados.
Signature drink: Forbidden Fizz (rye whiskey, bitters and pomegranate)
Similar vibe in Brisbane: Can You Keep A Secret? Woolloongabba
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