Brisbane's top 20 bars

Best bar with food: The Sangria Bar at Ole.
Best bar with food: The Sangria Bar at Ole. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

At Sixes & Sevens

Quintessentially James Street, this converted shopfront has quickly become part of the streetscape. If the mood-lit, vintage interior isn't your thing, sit back and watch the world go by with a cold one from one of the verandah's large canvas chairs.

67 James Street, Fortitude Valley, 3358 6067,

Black Bird Bar & Grill

At the top of the stairs, take a right instead of left into the restaurant and you'll find one of the best located bars in the city. Good looks and drinks smarts are the foundation here. Flamboyant cocktail maestros put on a show in the expansive partly al fresco bar, but drinkers of all stripes are well catered for.

Riverside Centre, 123 Eagle Street, Brisbane, 3229 1200,

Paella and a glass of sangria at The Sangria Bar at Ole.
Paella and a glass of sangria at The Sangria Bar at Ole. Photo: Harrison Saragossi


The Bar of Social Conscience is more than just a name; 20 per cent of profits are donated to charity and the entire ethic is centred on sustainability. Still, this bar doesn't take itself too seriously. Enjoy great drinks, especially gin cocktails and craft beer, while playing giant Jenga.

69 Vulture Street, West End, 0413 332 463


Arguably Brisbane's only true wine bar, placing your drinking destiny in the hands of the knowledgeable staff brings rewards. Small European vignerons are well represented along with distinctive and quirky Australian winemakers. A fine French-inspired menu offers many pleasures.

Shop 6, The Barracks, 61 Petrie Terrace, Paddington, 3368 2666,

House punch from At Sixes & Sevens.
House punch from At Sixes & Sevens. Photo: Harrison Saragossi


You could wind your way from the arty studio space of Canvas to any number of nearby fine diners and fabulous cafes, but then you'd have to leave behind that amazing White Russian and chicken liver Cognac pate.

16b Logan Road, Woolloongabba, 3891 2111,

Cabiria's moody interior.
Cabiria's moody interior. Photo: Supplied


Imagine whisky bottles stacked from floor-to-ceiling, every bottle a different drop with a list to organise them and gun bar staff to navigate them. Off West End's main drag, Cobbler is a whisky lover's dream. Cocktails range from classic to adventurous, food is BYO.

7 Browning Street, West End, no phone,

The Good Food Guide 2014/15.
The Good Food Guide 2014/15. 

Cru Bar

Dressed to impress? This aspirational drinker's favourite isn't just about glamorous looks. A detailed knowledge of cocktails, aperitifs and spirits of all kinds backs the comprehensive list. Adjoining one of Brisbane's best independent wine stores opens up endless vinous possibilities.

Shop 1, 22 James Street, Fortitude Valley, 3252 2400,

The End

A genuine neighbourhood bar, upcycled timber workbenches and high stools line this narrow space formerly occupied by West End establishment Trash Video. A bohemian crowd pack in for original cocktails, the house 'Rainbow Pilsner' and sets from DJs spinning old vinyl.

73 Vulture Street, West End, no phone,

French Martini

A charming courtyard restaurant on the busy South Bank strip, this wine bar/bistro does a stylish line in French wines and bistro classics such as duck a l'orange and mussels marinieres. Small plates such as charcuterie and baked camembert and a namesake martini are equally satisfying.

Shop 6c, Little Stanley Street, South Brisbane, 3844 5541,

The Gresham

The scale of this former bank chamber with its high pressed metal ceilings and dramatic velvet drapery is matched by the depth of its whiskey and cocktail offerings. Open until 3am with some of Brisbane's most awarded bartenders at the helm, it's quite the vortex.

308-322 Queen Street, Brisbane, no phone,

John Mills Himself

The focus at this hard-to-find laneway bar is on locally sourced drinks, but not at the expense of quality. While the "drink miles" are low the mood rides high on the expertise of dedicated staff and the bar's community vibe.

40 Charlotte Street (enter via 55 Elizabeth Street lane), Brisbane, no phone,

Jungle Bar

An unadulterated tiki bar tucked into a shopfront, grass matted walls and ceilings, totem carved timber stools and staff who look like Magnum P.I. extras reflect a dedication to the theme. Relax into a long, languorous afternoon exploring the rum-based drinks list.

76 Vulture Street, West End, no phone,

The Laneway

An elevated city hideaway, Laneway serves up burgers and snacks from The Euro/Urbane kitchen. Deft hands prepare cocktails with style while wine aficionados can delve into the restaurant's expansive wine lists. Contemporary, cool decor and a projection wall of classic films add to the ambiance.

Upstairs, Spencer Lane, Brisbane, 3229 3686,

Lefty's Old Time Music Hall

A lightly scrubbed former gentleman's club, the hedonism continues in this whiskey-soaked saloon with a strong country music twang. The travelling sideshow feel and live music roster is even sweeter with the addition of American beers and loaded hot dogs.

15 Caxton Street, Paddington, no phone,

Mr & Mrs G

Extending the hospitality and style of Il Centro to a riverside bar with a distractingly good view of the Story Bridge, this stylish bar offers a range of expertly made cocktails and boutique wines. The mostly Mediterranean bar food is also worth sampling.

Eagle Street Pier, 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane, 3221 7001,

Papa Jack's

The bar/restaurant line may be blurred here with an extensive food offering but at its core, Papa Jacks is simply a likeable, laidback venue for hungry drinkers. A top shelf bar team slings modern cocktails and classics alike to the soundtrack of laid back live blues and soul.

25 Connor Street, Fortitude Valley, 3162 8466,

Sabotage Social

If you find it hard to go to Fortitude Valley without pining for the "good old days" or if '90s counterculture is your thing, then Sabotage Social is worth a visit. This grungy bar has a playlist to match and an above-average selection of whiskies.

Corner Wickham & Gipps streets, Fortitude Valley, 3852 2687,

The Sangria Bar
Winner of the best bar with food award, Brisbane Times Good Food Guide 2014

No one knows better than the Spanish, the importance of giving equal weight to food and drinks. Here, it's beautifully exemplified by a drinks list including sangria, Spanish wine, beer and sherry matched with a menu that progresses from simple tapas to pans of paella to share.

Shop b13-14, Grey Street, South Bank, 3846 1201,

Super Whatnot

Easily missed as you pass its laneway entry, Super Whatnot feels like entering a secret club as you climb the stairs. Serving a slick mix of cocktails, a rotation of craft beers and carefully chosen wines, its South American menu also warrants return visits.

48 Burnett Lane, Brisbane, 3210 2343,

The Twig & Berry

Bars taking over quirky spaces continues apace with Twig & Berry opening in a basement and adjoining courtyard for a new, warm and funky boutique bar. With interesting wine, clever cocktails, Australian craft beer and a welcoming vibe, it further enriches the Newstead/Teneriffe quarter.

Shop 9, 92 Commercial Road, Newstead, 0403 356 533,

The 2014-15 Brisbane Times Good Food Guide is on sale at newsagents from Tuesday, July 8 ($12.99) or online at From next week, it will be available as an app, for tablet and mobile, from the app store.

Check out some of Brisbane's bars during Good Food Month's Bar Hop (July 1-31). See