Best bars and pubs in Canberra right now? You simply cannot go past these establishments without stopping in for a cocktail, aperitivo, rum, craft beer or whatever’s your poison.
Back across town in Braddon, head down the dinky lane off Lonsdale Street, marked with a red neon light, to find Bacaro, the tucked-away small bar attached like a speakeasy sidecar to Italian & Sons. The main draw here is the aperitivo menu. Once you’re inside, sidle up to the marble-topped bar and order an amaro and a selection from the enviable cheese and meats list.
With a massive wine selection, Bacaro aso has its own range of reds and whites on the menu, which you’d be silly not to try.
Campari Sour – Campari, Aperol, Lemon & Egg White
7 Lonsdale St, Braddon ACT
With more character than you can poke a stick at, Honky Tonks is a top spot for tacos, and has the largest selection of tequila in town. The underground vibe, complete with bizarre cartoon artwork, cushions, exposed pipes and a kind of grungy attitude that makes it perfect for the young or the young at heart – is one of the most sought after spots in Canberra. Taco Tuesday is a huge deal: two tacos and a beer for just $10. Keep an eye on the what’s on page to see what other delights they have coming up.
A Honkydog: pork frankfurt, chipotle sauce, topped with mozzarella, guacamole and red cabbage.
17 Garema Pl, Canberra ACT
Canberra’s Cuban-themed bar, Highball Express, has more than 300 varieties of rum on offer, and a barrage of themed waitstaff who will make your experience seem all the more authentic. Known for their cocktails, punches and exotic rums, the venue pays tribute to a time when thirsty Americans made their way to Cuba and landed in paradise. Perfect for a girls night out, the Highball Express offers cocktail making classes, Latin dancing on Tuesdays and Tiki Thursdays, complete with flaming torches and some delectable sips.
A highball, obviously!
82 Alinga St, Canberra ACT
Mint Garden Bar
Part of Sage Dining Rooms, Mint Garden Bar is a magical spot for a few cocktails, under trees festooned with fairy lights. Open to the public during the summer months (from October each year), the bar is set amongst the beautiful heritage gardens of one of Canberra’s oldest buildings, Gorman House Arts Centre. Serving an array of beautiful canapes, it’s the perfect spot to meet with friends after work, or for a Sunday sip.
Any of the cocktails!
Gorman House Arts Centre, Batman St, Braddon – Canberra
Molly’s is another chic, well-designed throwback to the Prohibition era and a dark, discreet place to go when you’re in party mode. A swinging jazz club in nature, this place hosts local jazz artists each week for a swinging good time. The theme is strictly 1920s, so if you enjoy going back in time, both in atmosphere and in your glass, this is certainly the place for you. Every Tuesday night sees ‘Jazz on the Rocks’, where Canberra’s best local talent take you on a journey for the soul.
Wooden Door, Odgers Ln, Canberra ACT
The Old Canberra Inn
If it’s an old-school pub experience you’re after, however, the owners of Sydney’s The Hive Bar have taken over the reins of The Old Canberra Inn, which was built as a coach house in 1857. This atmospheric, low-ceilinged pub in Lyneham, not far from the Federal Highway, is now a fun, low-key family-friendly flophouse with a leafy beer garden, DJs and a more sophisticated take on pub food, as well as taps from which flow a variety of craft beers.
The Yellowfin tuna small plate and a pint of the local beer!
195 Mouat St, Lyneham ACT
Joe’s Bar offers a wry wink to Canberra’s Brutalist architecture with its centerpiece, a custom concrete curtain, which contributes to its theatrical and quirky vibe. This ‘small bar celebrating big things’ is a more lofty bookend to its sister cafe Muse, and is mobbed by locals wanting to indulge in rustic Italian fare such as polpettine di carne (meatballs) and cocktails such as the Bitter Pig, featuring pancetta-washed bourbon. The food and fare is heavily Italian, making it all the more scrumptious.
The house made gnocchi – like Nonna used to make! Washed down with a Sgroppino, made with Lemoncello, Lemon Sorbet & Amanti Prosecco.
69 Canberra Ave, Griffith ACT