Hobart's bars provide warm and welcoming spaces as intimate as the Tasmanian capital itself.
By Andrew Bain
Hobart is one of the world's cosiest cities. It's small, pinched between mountain and water, and has beautiful colonial architecture built for warmth against winter. Suitably, a fine collection of equally cosy bars is sprinkled throughout the city and its inner suburbs.
Take your pick between cosy and cool at Preachers, in a former preacher's home in Battery Point, about a 10-minute walk from the city centre. For cosy, grab a leather couch around the fire inside the bar. For cool, head to the outdoor beer garden or find a seat in the bus parked in the garden. There's a great list of craft beers from around Australia on tap, as well as a fine range of ciders and wines.
Just a few steps from popular Salamanca Place, Society Salamanca feels a bit like the library of a country manor, except the shelves are filled with bottles. About 300 bottles of spirits fill one entire wall, but top billing belongs to gin and whisky. There are more than 20 Tasmanian gins on offer, as well as a dozen local whiskies from nine distilleries. If it's just too much choice, try one of the tasting platters to sample four local gins or whiskies.
Step into the warmth of one of Hobart's finest hotels – the Henry Jones Art Hotel, in a former jam factory on the city's docks – and turn right to find IXL Long Bar. The rough stone walls and wooden ceiling beams create an atmospheric setting for Hobart's prime cocktail venue, among the locals after work, or late into the evening. The dockside setting is a bonus.
There are more wines on offer than seats in the tiny nook that is Willing Bros Wine Merchants, along the North Hobart café and bar strip not far from the city centre. Find a stool at the bar or window, and grab the encyclopaedic wine list, or let the bar staff guide you towards the perfect tipple from around the world.
For incredible waterfront views in opulent surrounds, step onto the floating four-story pier of The Glass House. The drinks menu features a range of Tasmanian wine heroes, whisky and creative cocktails made with locally produced spirits. There’s also a large selection of sake on hand to complement the Japanese-inspired snacking menu.