The Best Bars in Adelaide City

Updated 1 month ago

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Adelaide city is packed with excellent bars. That’s partly thanks to legislation introduced in 2013, which made it easier for small venues to get liquor licenses. A solid line-up of small bars opened up, such as Maybe Mae and Proof. But today, the city has just about every kind of watering hole you can think of. Whether you’re looking for a cosy natural wine bar, a spectacular rooftop or a top-shelf whisky bar, Adelaide has a drink with your name on it.

  • After one of Leigh Street’s longstanding tenants closed its doors, it was reborn as this Mediterranean cocktail bar paying tribute to its former life. Visit for local craft beers, European wines and a simple food menu of cured meats and cheese.

  • This sleek bar offers something different: South American and Catalan small plates alongside wines on tap. Don’t leave without trying the show-stopping desserts, like Molotov cake with an innovative twist.

  • The conversation flows just as freely as the South Australian wines at this cosy wine bar. Its snug interiors, homemade snacks and record player make it feel less like its namesake, and more like hanging at your coolest friend’s place.

  • Head upstairs to find this neon-lit vinyl bar, which has a balcony and red-tinted dancefloor. Come for its disco balls, DJs, and 800-odd disco, funk and house records. Stay for its tropical cocktails and late-night dance parties.

  • This intimate, San Sebastian-inspired bar stands in a former Flight Centre. But it does a better job at evoking wanderlust than a discounted airfare ever could. In between plates of pintxos and glasses of cava, you'll feel totally transported.

  • Not your average rooftop bar. Here the team is reducing waste with innovations such as tomato skin “paprika”, apple core “flour” and celeriac-skin treacle, plus sorbets and ice creams created from vegetable by-products.

  • An intimate wine cellar with a list of close to 200 bottles, including hard-to-find drops like a single-vineyard palomino from Spain. Pair them with Ortiz anchovies, duck terrine or a slice of Basque burnt cheesecake.

  • Ascend the stairs from Hindley Street to a slice of island paradise, with pan-Asian and California-inspired bar snacks, playful cocktails, a disco ball and DJs spinning house and funk tunes.

  • Hidden behind Leigh Street Luggage, this good-times cocktail bar is a love letter to the Adelaide hospo crowd. It's the kind of place you can drop in late, grab a fancy toastie and a well-made cocktail, then boogie to a rotating cast of DJs spinning everything from hip-hop to house until the early hours.

  • This inclusive bar and nightclub is a safe space for Adelaide’s queer community, but it's open to anyone who's looking for a gay old time. Mirrored ceilings, light-up go-go dancing cages and a giant rainbow are the canvas for your Saturday night boogie.

  • This tiny, timber-panelled bar next to the Exeter Hotel is a destination for cocktails, lo-fi local wines and simple food such as olives, cheese and tinned seafood.

  • American-style burgers, beef rendang hoagies and tropical cocktails are the signatures at Gang Gang’s disco-ready burger bar. After the dinner trade, a floating DJ booth provides danceable tunes till late.

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  • This Western saloon – by the Cry Baby crew – is part honky-tonk, part truck stop and all Americana. Expect live music, darts, American beers and whisky – with most drinks around the $10 mark.

  • At this throwback cocktail bar by the Cry Baby Crew, you'll find live blues, a pool room and classic drinks.

  • Big groups are well catered for at this spacious, neon-lit warehouse. Inside is a brewery, burger truck, coffee caravan and even a retro-style wedding booth for couples looking to elope after a few drinks.

  • It’s a “pub in wine-bar skin”, with a rotating list of classic cocktails; bar snacks and cheeseboards; and a laid-back courtyard with loads of mediterranean energy.

  • A contender for Australia's most well-hidden cocktail bar. But trust us, this one is worth seeking out. But once you find this subterranean 1950s inspired cocktail lounge and take a seat in one of the comfy leather booths, you won't want to leave.

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  • At this tiny natural wine bar, there's no service bar, removing the barrier between staff and guests. Instead, you can pick your wine off the shelf – a bit like a bottle shop, but it's a bar.

  • Come to this versatile bar for red-hot fried chicken, nautical-themed drinks, and even a range of stogies to puff on – if that's your thing.

  • CLT is cosy, classic and has a quality libation to satisfy every whim. If you’re after snacks, it’s got you covered with imported tinned fish, local cheese and sliced-to-order charcuterie.

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  • At this neon-lit cocktail joint, the drinks are as smooth as the blues icons lining the walls.

  • A trip to this intimate basement on Rundle Street feels a lot like having a party in a wine cellar. There are cheap cleanskins by the glass and more than 200 wines by the bottle, which range from affordable to eye-wateringly expensive. Then there's a couple of cocktails and beers to choose from, with plenty of bar snacks, too.

  • A New Orleans-inspired bar featuring whiskies from around the world and 16 beer taps. On the menu , you'll find Creole soul food – including Cajun fried chicken – that will help you soak up all that booze.

  • This narrow, faux alpine hut hits all the same targets as sister bar Clever Little Tailor.

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  • One of Adelaide’s original small bars also happens to have one of the city’s strongest drinks lists. It's also turning out elite bar snacks in the form of levelled up toasties.

  • Aperitifs reign supreme at this romantic riff on the Parisian bistro. Pull up a stool at the dimly lit bar for freshly baked bread and imported French cheese, or spill out onto the street with a lo-fi wine in hand.

  • A small bar with the heart of a neighbourhood pub

  • Sip on whisky and gin in sleek, dimly lit surrounds.

  • A seemingly limitless warren of exposed brick rooms powered by gin, whisky, local beers and wines.

  • A former drycleaner is the setting for one of Adelaide's most exciting drinking dens – a cosy, cleverly designed natural-wine bar serving world-class vino and inventive plates by a young chef with Michelin Star cred.

  • No standing, no rowdy groups and no Dirty Martinis. This intimate, 12-seat cocktail bar isn’t for everyone. But if you’re game for a hospitality experience unlike anything else in Adelaide, Bar Peripheral is the one for you.

  • Park in one of west end’s biggest beer gardens with a tasting paddle and chunky, Detroit-style pizza slices by a Lost in the Forest co-founder.

  • Months of development go into the house creations at this elite 15-seat cocktail bar under Cold Chisel Lane. And they're tasty enough to trap you here for a few hours at least.