5 of the best places for cocktails in Brisbane
Brisbane's sophisticated bar scene is rising to new heights with cocktails for every occasion.
By Jac Taylor
From dazzling glamour to cheeky speakeasy style, you'll find no shortage of bars in Brisbane serving up cocktails to make your night something special. The sunshine city is home to so many talented bartenders dedicated to creating innovative menus, that cocktails here have become nothing less than an art form.
Blackbird, city centre
Relax on a chesterfield sofa out on the deck, with spectacular 180-degree river views at Blackbird, in the landmark Riverside Centre skyscraper. The cocktail menu is divided into The Great Gatsby (prohibition-era stuff), Sippin' Safari (tiki bar style) and even a list loosely drawn from the famous Recipe for Mixed Drinks book of 1916. The luxury grill provides food as decadent as the drinks to set you up for the evening in style. Wander to the extensive back bar to find masterfully devised drinks inspired by the 1920s party years, as well as rare and exclusive Scotch, whisky, tequila, bourbon and more.
Next Door Kitchen & Bar, South Bank
A more casual space, yet just as infatuated with 1920s glamour, Next Door Kitchen & Bar brings a dynamic menu of food and drink to the popular precinct of South Bank. Hang out in the sultry, dark indoor bar or the alfresco area. Modernised swing and jazz tunes send you smoothly back in time, helped by retro cocktail concoctions such as Giggle Water (rosé mixed with lychee, juices and berry tea infused syrup) or a She’s in Siam (tequila, Aperol, coconut water, chilli and citrus).
John Mills Himself, city centre
John Mills Himself may be tucked away underneath Archives Fine Books, a bookstore stocking rare, second-hand and collectors edition tomes, but the building is easy to find. It is a heritage-listed old printery office that really does have "John Mills Himself" emblazoned across the top. Among the exposed bricks and timber beams, the bar offers only Australian spirits, and beers and wines produced within 250 kilometres (155 miles) to ensure your "drink miles" will be low. The menu is listed in order of distance from the bar. Craft spirits used in the seasonal cocktails here include lilli pilli gin and organic limoncello. Try a Fernando sweet vodka martini made with 666 butter vodka, Bee One Third honey, sweet vermouth and an orange twist.
Electric Avenue, Woolloongabba
Electric Avenue is many things: an old-world English-inspired pub, a majestic cocktail bar and an enchanting space to enjoy the evening. The intriguing heritage-listed building is split into three areas, all exuding character and flair. Treat yourself to one of their exquisite contemporary dishes or venture upstairs to Mrs J.Rabbit, where creative cocktails await amid the cosy, speakeasy atmosphere.
Cielo Rooftop, Fortitude Valley
Perched above Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley sits Cielo Rooftop, an Italian-inspired bar and restaurant with sweeping views and beautifully designed interiors, similar to that found in the Italian Rivera. Created by the owners of Australia’s best bar, Maybe Sammy, expect a menu of sensational creative cocktails comprised of coastal classics with succulent seafood to match. Take a perch on their sun-drenched terrace and you’ll feel like you’ve entered a European oasis.