Great Canberra bars for summer 2015

We've chosen six great spots in the capital to have a drink this summer. 

The Highball Express

Canberra Life. Online picture gallery of the new bar, Highball Express, above Smith's Alternative Bookshop in Alinga Street, Civic. November 13th 2015 The Canberra Times photograph by Graham Tidy.  FullSizeRender.jpg

This breezy tropical Cuban bar opened just in time for summer in a prime spot above the hustle of Civic in the Melbourne building. The big balcony lets plenty of sunshine inside and there are 300 varieties of rum on offer, including barrel aged rum cocktails. It's a chilled, grown up bar with splashes of bright colour on a clean white canvas.  Owners Antony Arena, Lorenzo Focarile, Dean Brown and Sam Carlini have continued the Prohibition trend that started at their other venue Molly. This bright, Latin style bar is the kind of watering hole where a fresh white linen suit and a jaunty hat wouldn't look out of place. 

Level 1, 82 Alinga Street, Civic,

The Aviary

The Aviary

A rooftop bar that must surely have one of the most divine Canberra views, with Lake Burley Griffin gleaming all along one side of the bar and Parliament House in the background as your bartender shakes up a cocktail. On a warm, summery evening, it's worth the trek up several flights of stairs to this eyrie above the Westside shipping container village, with its bright yellow walls and turquoise string chairs. Before you make the trip upstairs, grab a bowl of pho or a plate of kebab and rice from the street food kiosks. 

Westside Acton Park, 3 Barrine Drive, Acton,

Walt and Burley

Walt and Burley

A bar that keeps you cosy in winter with a great copper fireplace but is full of light and sunshine in summer when the big folding doors are pushed open to let you see the lake. This is a casual Kingston Foreshore spot that's still elegant enough to meet for a date night drink. Get a spot on the long communal tables outside for a Sunday beer session after a walk along the lake or linger on one of the modern Danish sofas and chairs by the fireplace. 

70/17 Eastlake Parade,

White Rabbit Cocktail Room

Cocktails at White Rabbit Bar - Alice Be Curious

Where else could you have a pretty little garden tea party at 10pm on a Friday night in Canberra? The White Rabbit, which opened earlier this year on Northbourne Avenue where Kremlin used to be, serves desserts and cocktails with an Alice-in-Wonderland theme. Grab a seat at the big table by the door or on the plush sofas at the far end of the room, where the DJ stand is made from an ivory-coloured vintage French cabinet. Flowers and greenery fill the bar and the menu includes a lineup of desserts. Don't forget to glance upwards when you come in the front door for a look into the rabbit hole.

65 Northbourne Avenue, Civic,

The Hutch

FoodandWine/News. 15th October 2015. Hutch Bar is definitely Canberra's smallest bar - and possibly Australia's. The liquor licence is for exactly two people, and is located at Braddon's Hamlet. Business owners from left, Shai Lambert, Al Kirk, James Goodrick, and Nathan Judd.  The Canberra Times  Photo Jamila Toderas

It'll get pretty cosy if you hop onto a bar stool at Canberra's tiniest bar, which is licensed for just four people. This little creature is about the size of a shipping container and serves local beers and tapas at The Hamlet on Lonsdale Street. The brainchild of four architects who work just up the road, The Hutch lets you sip a cold beer at an outdoor table with your mates while you chow down on a BrodDog, or a slice of custom pizza. And while it might be a microbar, the liquor license covers the entire beer garden at the Hamlet so you can get your drinks to go.


16 Lonsdale Street, Braddon 

Mint Bar

Mint Garden Bar

This courtyard garden bar at Gorman House is a bit of a sanctuary. Even though it's just a few minutes from Civic and Braddon, it's a world away - like you've left Canberra behind and stepped into the pages of The Great Gatsby. And Pete and Michael Harrington with chef Damian Brabender keep things interesting - check out the Mint and Match deal running in December.