A Guide to the Best Small Bars in Australia

With small bars popping up in every nook and cranny of Sydney’s side streets, it may be time to trade in trivia nights and meals at the pub. We’ve compiled a list of the best small bars around Australia, so grab your coat and keys, and head off on a small bar adventure…

BRISBANE

Sophisticated Sipping – Lychee Lounge

Slip into West End’s Lychee Lounge for a sensational cocktail and a sample of their delicious bar food after dark. Barbie doll chandeliers, fish scaled walls and eclectic furniture add to the atmospheric feel of this bar where East meets West. Each cocktail is crafted using the freshest ingredients – meringue, charred papaya, seasoned ash and rose harissa – a sip of any cocktail will leave you begging for more.

Address: 2/94 Boundary St, West End, Brisbane, QLD

2/94 Boundary Street West End, QLD 

Bear Essentials – Black Bear Lodge

Brisbane’s Black Bear Lodge is a rustic speakeasy that takes inspiration from a 60s alpine chalet. Complete with deer heads adorning the walls and minimalist furniture, this candle-lit bar can be found above street level in Fortitude Valley. Dancing shoes are a must on the weekend when vinyl soul DJs take charge, but on weeknights, kick back with a premium selection of Australian wines, craft beers, ales and ciders, and traditional cocktails.

Address: Level 1, 322 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, QLD

CANBERRA

Whiskey Weekends – Hippo Co

At Hippo Co, framed photos of jazz greats embellish the bare brick walls of this charming dim-lit bar. Cosy up with a glass of whiskey or two – the bar boasts 200 varieties – or sit back with a freshly squeezed apple juice complete with your spirit of choice.  If you’re looking to try your hand at mixology, look to the Hippo Co Master Class where you can mix your own cocktails under the guidance of Hippo Co’s head bartender.

Address: Garema Place, Canberra City, ACT

PERTH

Gin Junkies – Frisk Small Bar

In plain sight in Northbridge, you don’t have to search high and low to find Frisk Small Bar. This bar glorifies gin and serves it up with fresh fruits, herbs and spices or in a creative cocktail blend. Sit inside or spill out onto the street to meet fellow gin junkies at the communal outdoor tables.

Address: 103 Francis Street, Northbridge, WA

SYDNEY

Ready for Rum  – Lobo Plantation

Descend a staircase and step inside the Caribbean themed Lobo Plantation in Sydney’s CBD to be transported into another world. Vintage furniture, hefty lampshades, burgundy carpeting, and tropical touches give you island vibes with a touch of history and all the rum you can ask for. Sydney’s best small bar lays claim to a collection of over 250 rums from the Caribbean, Central and South America, as well as Australia that are featured in their cocktails or can be had neat.

Address: 209 Clarence Street, Sydney, NSW

A Lot More than Meats the Eye – Betta Meats

Betta Meats butchery in Sydney’s inner west has a lot more to see than meets the eye. Strolling past the unassuming shopfront you’d never know that Newtown’s most clandestine bar sits behind its doors. Earl’s Juke Joint is a spacious bar that harks back to the juke joints of yesteryear in southern America with a saloon style bar, timber chairs, photos of jazz greats lining the walls and candles lighting the room.

Address: 407 King Street, Newtown, NSW

ADELAIDE

Nothing to Wine About – Apothecary 1878

Don’t be fooled by its name, Adelaide’s Apothecary 1878 won’t leave a bitter taste of medicine in your mouth. This luxuriously decorated bar is embellished with antique mahogany pharmacy cabinets, marble flooring reminiscent of a well-worn Italian footpath, and chaise lounges to fall into with friends. A trip through time back to 19th century Europe and an impressive list of beer, wine and spirits – what more could you want?

Address: 118 Hindley Street, Adelaide, SA

Melbourne

Happiness x 2 – Double Happiness

Melbourne’s Double Happiness is an institution that’s served thousands of people since it opened in 2002. It’s decorated with Chinese art, lanterns, throw pillows and colours… as well as communist propaganda. Stop by after dinner in Chinatown and bask in the friendliness of one of Melbourne’s most well-loved bars. This hole-in-wall venue has quirky names for its cocktails, a range of Asian beers and dumplings on demand.

Address: 21 Liverpool Street, Melbourne, VIC

Dark and Stormy – The Everleigh

With a dark and broody atmosphere, this golden era bar is a must-do Melbourne experience. Receiving numerous awards for its drinks and ambiance, The Everleigh invites you to enjoy a drink in its darkly lit venue. Leather couches and shelves supporting bottles and books add to the allure of this old-fashioned bar where you can enjoy a sophisticated and award winning drink in a cosy intimate setting.

Address: 150-156 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, VIC

Thirsty? Discover your new favourite small bars and restaurants with us.

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