Once upon a time, drinking holes in Hobart pretty much served only Cascade beer and cool climate wines. Tasmania is now a haven for distillers. There are 37 registered distilleries producing gin, whisky and even apple-based spirits. To meet the demands of a new generation of spirit lovers, a range of elegant and interesting bars are popping up in the capital.
This quirky bar is tucked underneath the waterside MAcq01 Hotel. With 37 different fossils displayed in glass cabinets lining the walls and dividing the space in columns it is a fascinating place to linger. Order a stylish cocktail or sample one of the hundreds of fine spirits listed on the leatherbound menu. With 15 years in the fine spirits industry, head barman Dan Gregory's sales pitch is as smooth as any aged whisky on the glowing shelves behind him. Evolve also has a spirit keep housing the privately purchased bottles of return visitors.
MACq 01 Hotel, 18 Hunter Street, evolvespiritsbar.com.au
A tiny hole-in-the-wall gin and whisky bar, this place is a local favourite for adventurous drinkers and those interested in trying local and Australian spirits. Gold Bar doesn't have a drinks menu. Instead, discuss your preferences with the bar staff who then create a cocktail to match your tastes. Whether you have an exact order or a vague concept in mind, you won't be disappointed. The pressed tin decor is charming and the low lighting keeps the setting romantic and cosy.
Suite 3, Ground Floor, 11 Morrison Street, Hobart
A cocktail at IXL Long Bar inside Henry Jones Art Hotel. Photo: Supplied
IXL Long Bar
An institution on Hunter Street, this cocktail bar inside the Henry Jones Art Hotel hosts live jazz most nights. The hotel and bar has a rotating gallery of art on its walls; more than 4000 artworks from Tasmanian artists are for sale. Sustainability has become a big focus for IXL Long Bar in the past few months, with herbs for garnishes grown onsite. Drop in and speak to bar manager Ash Turner about his limited-edition Raw Materials cocktail, made from the bar's byproducts.
25 Hunter Street, Hobart, thehenryjones.com
The Glass House
David Meredith and John Goodyear, owners of Hobart's Islington Hotel, have created an elegant-yet-casual floating bar which attracts locals and tourists alike. The Glass House overlooks the Derwent River from Sullivan's Cove. Each season its menu renews. Current cocktails are imbued with autumnal flavours. Liviana is a combination of cognac and salted chocolate, infused with fig leaves from a local grower in Lymington (near Cygnet in southern Tasmania). To try unique local apple-based spirit Charles Oates Blanco, order the Akira cocktail. It combines the dry apple spirit with Asian flavours including black sesame and yuzu.
Brooke Street Pier, Franklin Wharf, Hobart, theglass.house
The cocktails at his modern bar in Salamanca Place are made from unusual ingredients, perhaps a mojito with dill-infused white rum, pomegranate, lime juice and sage. Elderflower and banana liqueurs, agave syrup and pineapple and lime juices are combined with whisky to make Thy Gold Leaf. The Den's wine and beer lists are replete with Tasmanian favourites to accompany a menu of Asian-style small plates, bao, fries and salads. Sink into the leather bench seats inside the contemporary timber panelled bar and settle in.
63 Salamanca Place, Hobart, theden.com.au
Rude Boy rum bar. Photo: Supplied
A fun-loving, funky, Caribbean-style rum bar, inspired by the owner's travels in the region, Rude Boy showcases a selection of interesting rums. The bar's Rum Old Fashioned is a blend of rums from Jamaica, Mauritius and Barbados, with a touch of maple balanced with orange and aromatic bitters. The most popular drink on the menu is the Heezy Breezy, a refreshing vodka-based concoction with Tasmanian rhubarb cordial, grapefruit, sherry and lemon. Snack on hibiscus and gin-cured trout or jerk chicken with pineapple chutney.
130 Elizabeth Street, Hobart, rudeboyhobart.com.au
This new bar and function space in a historic sandstone warehouse in Salamanca showcases local brews, spirits and fine local produce. Offering tacos and peach bellinis daily, there is a fun vibe at this eclectic cocktail bar, and it hosts garden parties come summer. The wine listand cocktail menu ensure repeat visits. For the espresso martini lovers, there are five variations – think Toblerone, honey, salted caramel or Caribbean banana and rum.
23 Salamanca Square, Battery Point, Hobart, botanicabar.com.au