A Guide to the Best Bars in Adelaide’s City Centre

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Dec 13, 2016

by JO MCKAY

Friday night drinks are sorted with our list of the best bars in Adelaide right now.

Giving credence to the “Radelaide” tag, this line-up of small bars, pubs, saloons and wine dens prove Adelaide’s downtown bar scene is making moves.

Mother Vine 

Tucked into one of the East End’s laneways, Mother Vine is all things a wine bar should be: chic, convivial, and, most of all, approachable – you’re just as likely to see the cool kids here as silver surfers (who probably know far more about the vinos). The wine list features a hefty dose of South Australia locals; food menus focus on European-style share plates. 22-26 Vardon Avenue, Adelaide

Clever Little Tailor

With exposed bluestone walls, leather banquettes, and an expertly stocked bar, Clever Little Tailor has the feel of a grown-up liquor den. One of the city’s first small bars, it opened in 2013 to much acclaim and its popularity has never waned. Even mid-week, it’s still bustling. 19 Peel Street, Adelaide

Pink Moon Saloon

From the outside, Pink Moon Saloon resembles an alpine hut, slotted incongruously into a city alley; inside, it’s a scene from a Scandi-sauna house; so much wood panelling. The design is a bit of irreverent fun—an attitude that extends to the drinks and food menus, which suggest asking staff for tips on “lighting fires in wet weather” and “navigation by starlight”. 21 Leigh Street, Adelaide 

2KW 

With sweeping panoramas across North Adelaide, the Torrens, and the Oval, 2KW has views intended to impress. But the bar also does a pretty good job: from the extensive wine and drinks list to the welcoming seating and booths, it’s a seductive place to settle in. There’s a restaurant here, too, but the best views are from the bar terrace. 2 King William Street, Adelaide 

Udaberri Pintxos y Vino 

At Udaberri Pintxos y Vino, you can perch around one of the wine barrels, or up at the bar or head upstairs to kick back on one of the     leather lounges. Sip on sherries, craft cervezas, local and international wines, and superbly shaken cocktails. Hungry? A selection of pintxos and tapas plates will do the trick (the sautéed mushrooms with egg yolk are divine). 11-13 Leigh Street. Adelaide

Apothecary 1878

Almost a decade before current crop of wine dens and small bars came into play, there was Apothecary 1878. Since 2002, this heritage-styled wine bar has stood the test of time and the surge of competition. The award-winning wine list is the major drawcard; the establishment’s growing acclaim as a restaurant merely cements its longevity. 118 Hindley Street, Adelaide

Bar Torino 

On hot nights, there are few better places to be than the welcoming dark of Bar Torino on Hutt Street. Black tiled walls and a checkerboard floor create a sultry oasis. To keep you cool, there are twelve different styles of G&T to choose from, plus more cocktails than is sensible to count. 158 Hutt Street, Adelaide

La Buvette Drinkery

French in name, style and menu, La Buvette Drinkery is a slice of Parisian charm transplanted to the city’s west end. Cocktails, vins (with a focus on natural and organic), and aperitifs are on offer, all complemented by bites with a strong Gallic influence. Think escargot in garlicky butter and charcuterie platters. 27 Gresham Street, Adelaide

Maybe Mae

Hidden in the subterranean space between Peel & Leigh Streets is a Deco-haunt that oozes cool: green leather booths, mirrored walls, and a cocktail list that would daunt Tom Cruise. At Maybe Mae, it’s all about the booze. If you’re peckish, it’s handy that Adelaide’s best burger joint, Bread & Bone Wood Grill, is just upstairs. 15 Peel Street, Adelaide

East End Cellars and the Tasting Room 

Doing double time as a bottle shop and wine bar, East End Cellars and the Tasting Room is the place to start a night out. There are wine flights, eats by the platter, weekly featured wineries, a frequently-changing by-the-glass list, and in the back, a glass-walled cellar with exxy bottles to dream about owning – or drinking. 22 Vardon Avenue, Adelaide

Top image: Pink Moon Saloon

SEE ALSO: Adelaide Food Trucks