Quench your thirst at these tropical watering holes.
In a city as adventurous as Cairns, the key is to slow down and enjoy a refreshing drink as often as you can. Whether you’re looking for rooftop sunset drinks, you’re out and about on the esplanade and fancy a quick pick-me-up, or even a late-night boogie with your favourite tipple, Cairns plays host to a fun range of pubs and bars. Here are 19 of the best.
1. Flamingos Tiki Bar
Best for: Tropical drinks
Hidden beneath street level, Flamingos Tiki Bar is all about neon, palm trees, tropical prints, hula girls and creative drinks flourished with fruit. Not sure what to order? Ask for a signature cocktail, such as a Flamingo Sling, a Daintree Daiquiri or a Shark Bait Hoo Ha Ha, or browse the extensive spirits list for your poison of choice.
Address: 43 Esplanade, Cairns City
2. Cairns RSL Club
Best for: Esplanade view
Centrally located, the Cairns RSL Club offers fantastic views of the esplanade, a laid-back energy, and is family-friendly. Enjoy a cold beverage from the Sports Bar or Diggers Bar and stay for lunch at the onsite bistro.
Address: 119 Esplanade, Cairns City
3. Rocco by Crystalbrook
Best for: Rooftop view
If you want to sip on Insta-worthy cocktail creations twelve floors up, head to the city’s highest rooftop bar Rocco, offering 270-degree panoramic views of Cairns and the Coral Sea. Rocco is renowned for its signature cocktails so you can expect to find an inspired drinks menu with both sweet and savoury flavours. It’s hard to choose but the Ladi Charli with Absolut vodka and lychee liqueur softly combined with coconut cream and citrus sounds delightful.
Reserve a table ahead for your girls’ nightout at Rocco by Crystalbrook. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
Address: Level 12, Tower, 131/141 Esplanade, Cairns City (within Crystalbrook Riley)
4. Oak and Vine Restaurant and Bar
Best for: Sunset views
Watch the sunset over the Coral Sea on the terrace at Oak and Vine as the space transforms into a lively cocktail bar. Choose from inventive signature cocktails, fine wines, craft beers, and a selection of artisan botanical gins with spicy tonics. Or see their Sippin’ on Sunset Special which includes a mixed charcuterie board and two cocktails or a house bottle of wine for only $50.
Indulge in cocktails and botanical gins at Oak and Vine Restaurant and Bar. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
Address: 59/63 Esplanade, Cairns City
5. Rattle n Hum Cairns
Best for: Your friendly Aussie pub
With a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere often showing sports and playing live music, Rattle n Hum is a bustling bar and grill, with friendly staff and generous-sized meals. Out at the back is an epic outback beer garden with greenery and festoon lighting throughout and a retractable all-weather roof. You can also find a Rattle n Hum in Port Douglas and Palm Cove.
Address: 65-67 The Esplanade, Cairns, QLD 4870
6. The Conservatory Bar
Best for: Wine tastings
The Conservatory Bar may be small in size but its chilled-out vibes, impressive wine list and Queenslander-style design has garnered it a big following.
Check out Conservatory Bar’s impressive wine list.
Pop in for a beverage, enjoy the live music and order one of the impressive grazing boards to share with friends.
Curl up with a drink in hand at Conservatory Bar.
Address: 12/14 Lake St, Cairns City
7. Hemingway’s Brewery
Best for: Craft beers
With 20 varieties of brews and ciders on tap, including at least 10 of its own, Hemingway’s Brewery has the beer lovers among us covered. Housed in a heritage-listed building at Cairns Wharf with historical images above the bar and incredible views across Trinity Inlet, it’s a really cool space to enjoy a frothy and excellent pub grub.
Take in incredible wharf views when you dine at Hemingway’s Brewery. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
Address: Wharf St, Cairns City
8. Salt House
Best for: Lively atmosphere
If a lantern-lit bar with flowing ponds and fire features lights up your senses, then you’ll love Salt House. Pick an outdoor lounge area and while away the afternoon sipping into the sunset with a cocktail in hand.
Swing by Salt House for indulgent cocktails. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Address: Marina Point, 6/2 Pier Point Rd, Cairns City
9. Three Wolves
Best for: Cocktails
Hidden down a red brick laneway in the heart of the city is the charming Three Wolves, a boutique whiskey, wine and cocktail bar with an exciting menu.
Head to the chic speakeasy at Three Wolves for a guaranteed good time. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland/ Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Stop by for a chat with their friendly bar staff to discover your next favourite drink.
Cap off your night at Three Wolves. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Address: 32 Abbott St, Cairns City
10. Wolf Lane Distillery
Best for: Tropical gins and liqueurs
For a splash of paradise, check out Wolf Lane Distillery for award-winning tropical gins and premium coffee liqueurs, infused with luscious North Queensland tropical fruits and rainforest botanicals that make them entirely unique. You can also find gin-tasting sessions here, as well as a cocktail-making masterclass.
Pull up a chair at Wolf Lane Distillery. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland/ Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Address: 28-30 Abbott St, Cairns City
11. The Pier Bar Cairns
Best for: Sunday session
Had a heavy Saturday night? Spend your Sunday afternoon recovering at The Pier Bar, with live music, DJs and food and drinks specials from 4pm. Located in an awesome spot by the water, it’s the ideal spot to catch up with friends, with an extensive wine, beer and cocktail menu featuring delicious in-house creations as well as the classics.
Address: The Pier Shopping Centre, 1 Pier Point Rd, Cairns City
12. P. J. O’Brien’s
Best for: An Irish pub
If you’re craving a good old-fashioned watering hole with Guinness on tap, classic grub and Irish music gigs, you absolutely have to go to P. J. O’Brien’s. From the Monday parma and pint to Friday pie and pint, there’s a special no matter what day you go in. Full of charm, it’s the perfect setting to eat, drink and be merry.
Address: 87 Lake St, Cairns City
13. Downunder Bar
Best for: Simple fun
Open seven nights a week until midnight, Downunder Bar offers a no-fuss, easy bar experience. Take your pick from nine pool tables (it’s free), karaoke every Thursday, a jukebox and cheap drink deals.
The Downunder Bar is the biggest pool table venue in Cairns.
Address: 102 Lake St, Cairns City
14. Bar 94 Club & Beer Garden
Best for: Entertainment
Known for heavily supporting the local music scene, stop in at Bar 94 for cosy lounges, well-priced drinks, and delicious hotdogs, wings and pizza. There are events happening every week (including music shows, comedy, trivia, bingo and more) so if you’ve got an evening to spare and you’re happy to experience the unexpected, this is the place to go.
Address: 94 Lake St, Cairns City
15. The Fox Small Bar
Best for: Trendy neighbourhood spot
For something a little more low-key, enjoy a drink at The Fox Small Bar, a popular local neighbourhood small bar in the heart of Stratford with an extensive wine, gin and cocktail list. Peckish? Order the charcuterie board with cured meats, cheeses, and more.
Address: Shop 4/9 Kamerunga Rd, Stratford
16. The Beach Shack, Kewarra Beach Resort
Best for: Beach bar
Open seasonally, the famous Kewara Beach Shack bar sits on a beachfront just metres from the shoreline. Enjoy stunning views of the Coral Sea while sipping an ice-cold beverage with your feet in the sand and live music humming in the background. Bliss. There are often food trucks onsite too and it’s a great little spot to bring the kids.
Come to Kewarra Beach for the sunset and stay for the cocktails. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Address: 80 Kewarra St, Kewarra Beach
Best for: Social fun
More than just budget accommodation, the legendary Gilligan’s has three quirky bars to explore (Main Bar, Beach Bar and Attic Bar) with a character for everyone. There’s no time to feel lost here as you’ll instantly be swept away into the theme of the night, from Fireball Fridays to Wet Pool Party Sundays.
Join in the fun at Gilligan’s and soak up that party atmosphere.
Address: 57/89 Grafton St, Cairns City
18. The Woolshed
Best for: Party atmosphere
Popular with backpackers, The Woolshed is another bar with plenty of action and different areas to suit your motive. When you’re not on the dancefloor, sit away from the music yet close to the bar on its mezzanine floor, or head out to the balcony to look out over City Place and its lit-up fig trees.
Address: 22-24 Shields St, Cairns City
19. Elixir Music House
Best for: Quality live music
With a funky underground vibe and the home of live music to a wide range of genres, Elixir Music Bar is the go-to place to tap your foot with a beer while supporting the local arts scene. We hear this bar has some of the finest fried chicken in Cairns too.
Address: 1/92 Abbott St, Cairns City
Be prepared and plan your next-day brunch at one of these top 15 cafes in Cairns.