Best Bars in Brisbane, Australia

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Photo of The Terrace at Emporium, rooftop bar Brisbane
The Terrace, photo sourced from https://www.emporiumhotels.com.au/eat-and-drink.html

Rooftop bars Brisbane

The Terrace, Southbank

The Terrace at Emporium Southbank is a relatively new addition to the Brisbane rooftop bar scene. Opening its door in September 2018 it has quickly gained a following.

Situated on twenty-first floor, it features a crisp fit out including a glass ceiling and backlit floor tiles. It also boasts a staff with decent cocktail making skills, comfortable seating and a large balcony area with a great aspect of Brisbane city, Southbank and the river. One visit and it became my new favourite rooftop bar in Brisbane. It is a perfect spot to while away an afternoon.

It is pretty fancy and has a dress code which I had heard was pretty strict but didn’t seem to be enforced on my first visit. Hotel guests have access to an infinity pool near the bar (but not visible).

Emporium Hotel South Bank, Level 21/267 Grey St, South Brisbane QLD 4101

Eleven

A list of Brisbane rooftop bars would not be complete without Eleven. Located on Ann St in Fortitude Valley, it is situated on (you guessed it) the eleventh floor. Lunch is available here, but the main hours of operation are after dark when it can get rather busy. On Fridays and Saturdays it stays open until 3am.

I am not the biggest fan as I have found it to have the wrong sort of attitude. Everyone’s experience varies and a number of people I know rate it, so it deserves a mention. Dress code applies.

Level 11/757 Ann St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

Soleil

Soleil is a level 1 rooftop bar complete with pool. It is found in South Bank as part of the Ridges hotel. It is a reasonable spot for a summertime drink.

Fittz and Potts

Fittz and Pottz, Rooftop Bar Brisbane
Fittz and Pottz, Rooftop Bar Brisbane – photo sourced from http://www.fitzandpotts.com.au/

Fittz and Potts in eclectic little rooftop bar all the way out in Nundah. It features craft beers, toasted sandwiches and retro decor. It is funky and has a lot more soul than the other rooftop bars listed. You will find it on Level 1 and despite its location has even been known to win Brisbane’s best bar competitions (link opens in new tab).

Upstairs at 1180 Sandgate Road (entrance via Chapel Street), Nundah

Fortitude Valley Bars

Greaser

Greaser is an American themed hidden bar located on Brunswick street behind a set of red doors, down an alley and past a kitchen. Regular live music, a decent spirit collection and American eats will be granted to those who seek Greaser out.

259 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

Black Bear Lodge

Photo of the bar at Black Bear Lodge, Fortitude Valley
Black Bear Lodge, Fortitude Valley – photo sourced from https://www.blackbearlodge.com.au/

The Black Bear Lodge is another discreet venue located in the Brunswick St mall. Walk up a set of stairs behind a fairly non-descript entrance to find a deep bar that hosts local bands and DJs. Music tends to be from the 60s-90s with various themes depending on what’s on.  

Level 1, 322 Brunswick Street Fortitude Valley Mall

Netherworld

Netherworld is an alternate pub featuring board games, old school arcade and console games, craft beers and a very vegan friendly menu. Be aware that the burgers don’t come with meat unless specifically requested. This bar has a dedicated following and is often busy throughout the week. The crowd is rather diverse and several different sub-cultures can be spotted here mixing in their natural habitat.

186 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

B Lucky and Sons

B Lucky and Sons is a little like a mainstream version of Netherworld. Enter through a faux pawnshop and you will find a bar filled with modern arcade games, harking back to the Valley’s earlier gamer culture in a slightly commercialised way. I wouldn’t regularly visit but it is a little bit different and can be a bit of fun once in a while.

TCB, Shop T1, TC Bierne Building 315 Brunswick Street Fortitude Valley QLD 4006 AU

Tomcat

Tomcat’s entrance and walls are adorned with graffiti and its floors are complete with a couple pool tables and a ping pong table to help keep you entertained. It also has a stage for live music and even has a cocktail bar hidden within – The Boiler Room. It should feature on any big night out in the Valley.

1/210 Wickham St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

Sabotage Social

Photo of the bar at Sabotage Social, Fortitude Valley
Sabotage Social, Fortitude Valley – photo sourced from http://www.sabotagesocial.com.au/

This place shows up on your bank statement as ‘Sabotage’d’ which may seem appropriate if you are nursing a bit of a hangover after a big night. It has some big leather couches, regular events and music, and a slightly alternate crowd.

143 Wickham St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

Brisbane CBD Bars

Super Whatnot

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Super Whatnot is a cosy dual level prohibition style bar on Burnett Lane in the city. DJs spin tunes here, often featuring classic hip hop while you can enjoy decent cocktails and get your gourmet on.

48 Burnett Ln, Brisbane City QLD 4000

John Mills Himself

John Mills Himself is a unique affair. Its name is derived from the building itself and the history of John Mills can be discovered inside. It can be a little hard to find but it is worth it. Take the driveway beneath the ATO building at 55 Elizabeth Street, it will feel like you are walking into a car park but with faith you will find the bar.

The place focuses on ‘spirit miles’ which means the booze on offer is sourced as close as it possibly can be. Bar staff are engaging and easy to chat to and make some excellent cocktails. They also do an award-winning coffee during the day. Also note that it only seats 21 people so it is one of the smallest Brisbane venues.

40 Charlotte St, Brisbane City QLD 4000 (enter via driveway at 55 Elizabeth Street)

Brew Café and Wine Bar

The Brew Café and Wine Bar is located down an alley and past the kitchen. It has a cool vibe and funky décor. It also does a decent coffee and is great place to meet up and have a chat.

Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Bar Pacino

Bar Pacino is a swanky affair with an awesome view of the river and the Story Bridge. The entrance is off Eagle St. It is a great aspect to see if you are new to Brisbane or showing someone around.

175 Eagle St, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Grand Central Hotel

The Grand Central Hotel is a classic Australian pub situated underneath Central Station. It has a fairly standard selection of beers and spirits. It offers something that not many Brisbane pubs can – sit outside in the smoking area and you will have no trouble sparking up a conversation with some strangers and making new friends. I can only imagine how many people have ‘missed’ their trains only to enjoy another drink here.

270 Ann St, Brisbane City QLD 4000

The Gresham

Photo of the Gresham Bar, Brisbane CBD
Gresham Bar, Brisbane CBD – photo sourced from https://thegresham.com.au/

The Gresham is a sophisticated whisky bar inside the old Queensland National Bank Building circa 1881. While sipping down your whiskies here it is not hard to imagine yourself signing off the Board minutes or discussing acquisitions in a more civilised time.

308 Queen St, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Brooklyn Standard

The Brooklyn Standard is another underground American style bar. It has a really decent live music scene and is often standing room only.

Eagle Ln, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Other areas

The Chalet Bar

Photo of the Chalet Bar
Chalet Bar, Spring Hill – photo sourced from https://www.facebook.com/chaletbarbrisbane/

The Chalet Bar gets an honourable mention even though it now only opens for functions. It was Brisbane’s only après ski bar, with classic furniture, plenty of ski related memorabilia adorning the walls and a small bar catering to the area. It has a discreet entrance and was hardly known so it could often be found near empty.

The Chalet Bar is under the Alliance Hotel which is another classic Australian pub. Situated atop a hill in Spring Hill it features friendly staff, a decent front bar and fine dining out the back.

320 Boundary St, Spring Hill QLD 4000

Map

A Google Map with all the aforementioned bars pinned.