Say Cheers to Australia’s Best Bars and Pubs

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Oct 02, 2017

by JO MCKAY

From wine bars to beer stars, Jo McKay says cheers to the best watering holes across the nation.

Dive in

Sip beers with the cool crowd at the Gold Coast’s Balter. The Currumbin brewery is a collaboration between seven mates, including pro surfer Mick Fanning, and has a cellar-door-like set-up called Balter HQ. The vibe is welcoming, the beers cold and the space suited to chilling out. 

From the art

Maybe because it’s a cellar door within an art gallery, Moorilla, at MONA in Hobart, offers one of the most glamorous wine-sampling experiences in the country. Book the one-hour Winery Tour and Tasting, which includes a guided excursion around the on-site vineyards. 

Well matched

Don’t expect only wine when you order drinks paired with the tasting menu at Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens Restaurant. Chef Paul Baker’s housemade vermouths include aromatics – such as chargrilled rose petals and pepper or fennel and cumquat from the gardens themselves – which are then used in quenching cocktails. Perhaps a prosecco spritzer to go with the snacks?

Wine & dine

More and more places are combining the best elements of restaurants and wine bars: a chef-led menu, an eclectic wine list and a grown-up but unpretentious ambience. Our picks include Embla in Melbourne, Perth’s Budburst Small Bar and Sydney’s Restaurant Hubert.

Canned heat

With witty names such as Mar-tinny, Can-hattan and Cosmopoli-tin, the canned cocktails at Sydney’s Continental Deli Bar & Bistro are on the money. Created to echo the traditional deli theme at this Newtown venue, where a number of sweet and savoury items are also canned for service (everything from chocolate cake to baked beans), these tinned drinks are a big hit – sometimes selling more than 200 in a week.

High life

On the 11th floor, and with sensational views of the Brisbane skyline, Eleven Rooftop Bar in Fortitude Valley is a seriously impressive spot for sundowners. The summery Rosé Fizz is the pick of the cocktail menu.

Classic cool

Melbourne’s tiny Bar Americano has standing room for just 10 people but it’s hugely popular. Owner Matt Bax calls it an “homage to Harry’s Bar in Venice, which seems delightfully stuck in the ’50s”. Hence, you’ll find only classic cocktails here. Order a Negroni or the namesake Americano.

Season’s spirit

They call Four Pillars’ Australian Christmas Gin “dangerously drinkable”. The rich mix of botanicals includes juniper, cinnamon and star anise, with a tweak of muscat and one unlikely addition: Christmas pudding. The 2017 limited-edition release will be available from 4 November but get in before it sells out.

Top image: Continental Deli Bar & Bistro  

SEE ALSO: Cheap Thrills at Australia's Best Restaurants