These days, top bars are more reminiscent of kitchens. Menus can change week-to-week depending on the availability of fresh ingredients, intelligent experimentation is encouraged and good knife skills are a must. That same rigour means classic cocktails are also better than they've ever been.

It’s good news for drinkers, whether you love a Negroni, Old Fashioned or an of-the-moment creation. These are our favourites, ranging from casual after-work spots, to slick venues where Martinis are ferried to your table on a roving cart. But without fail, they all know how to mix an excellent drink.

Related Pages
Best Wine Bars in Brisbane
Best Rooftop Bars in Brisbane

Gerard’s Bar

Bar

Whether you plan to hit Gerard’s Bistro or not, its polished little spin-off next door is well worth your attention. Pull up at the long concrete bar for tapas, charcuterie and some of the city’s finest mixed drinks. There’s also a front deck that’s unbeatable on fine days.

13A 23 James Street, Fortitude Valley

The Gresham

Bar

This heritage-listed boozer has a tight menu of tweaked classics and house creations, and 200-plus whiskies amassed behind the bar. Elegant limestone walls and old-timey framed pictures are a subtle reminder this building’s been standing strong since 1885.

308-322 Queen Street, Brisbane

Death and Taxes

Bar

Situated on Brisbane’s oldest laneway, Death & Taxes’ lengthy list of cocktails draws on its 600-bottle spirit collection. The heritage back area feels less like a bar and more like an opulent art gallery, with century-old floors and classy design flourishes. It’s the perfect place to linger on a dirty Martini.

36 Burnett Lane, Brisbane

Dr Gimlette

Bar

A boundary-pushing cocktail bar from the team behind Death & Taxes. It takes service to a whole new level, with roving Martini carts delivering expertly made seasonal drinks to luxurious leather booths.

109 Edward Street, Brisbane

Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess

Bar

A splash of gin goes a long way when you need to pluck up a bit of Dutch courage. With more than 150 bottles of the stuff – distinguished by menu headings such as citrus, floral and spice – you’ll be ready to take on the world after a tipple here. The Southside, London Calling and French 75 are all classic orders.

51 Alfred Street, Fortitude Valley
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Kazba

Bar

Inspired by the vibrant nightlife of Tel Aviv, this ambitious bar is all about smoked drinks, Turkish Coffee Martinis and a menu of late-night vegetarian mezze. Also, vinyl – lots of vinyl. Find it at the base of the Ovolo Hotel in the Valley.

1000 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley

Maker

Bar

Seasonal flavours and left-field ingredients (artichoke, marjoram shrub, coffee oil) make for one of the city’s most exciting cocktail experiences. This place is tucked down a laneway and has a striking brass bar which commands the otherwise entirely black space.

9 Fish Lane, South Brisbane

Cobbler

Bar

The sliding ladder behind the bar – combined with the regal, rum-coloured furniture – might give off the impression you’re in a library of spirits. Actually, you’re in one of the best whiskey bars in town, with a menu of stiff (and dangerously drinkable) house creations to match.

7 Browning Street, West End

Savile Row

Bar

Behind the bright orange door of this former butcher’s shop, you’ll find the sibling venue to Cobbler in West End. Expect a similarly extensive range of brown liquor, along with roughly 20 cocktails and a moody speakeasy vibe. We can’t get enough of that ornate chandelier.

677 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley

Finney Isles

Bar

From the crew behind Cobbler and Savile Row, this intimate bar channels the roaring ’20s with its long leather couches, parquet floors and undeniable panache when it comes to mixing the classics. Wines, charcuterie and plenty of cocktails lie within.

702 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley

Canvas Club

Bar

Situated within Woolloongabba’s antique shopping precinct, this vintage-style bar has a cracking list of seasonal cocktails – with rock’n’roll names like The Velvet Underground and Under Pressure. Also, a globetrotting menu of tapas and share plates.

16b Logan Road, Woolloongabba

The Tailors

Bar

Behind an assuming shopfront, this clandestine cocktail lounge is inspired by the hidden, music-driven boozers found throughout South America. Rotating, rum-heavy drinks are the specialty, plus there's a short menu of snacks courtesy of the Canvas Club next door.

16 Logan Road, Woolloongabba

Super Whatnot

Bar

When a place mixes a drink called the “Super Margarita”, you know you’re in for a rollicking good time. Sip one to the soothing crackle of vinyl spun by Brisbane’s finest hip-hop, soul and disco DJs in a fun, impeccably designed space.

48 Burnett Lane, Brisbane

Maya

Restaurant

While rooftop bar Eleven takes a break, we have this Mexican pop-up. There's ninety seats, a local-produce driven menu and a shedload of tequila, all set to those jaw-dropping views.

757 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley

Cielo Rooftop Bar

Bar

A Fortitude Valley rooftop bar from the Salt Meats Cheese and Eterna crew. Come for small plates, stunning views and cocktails designed by Maybe Sammy – one of the world's best bars.

209 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley
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Stratton Bar & Kitchen

Bar

The suave sibling to cocktail bar Mrs Brown’s is housed inside two World War II-era hangers in one of Brisbane’s most buzzing suburbs. Inside you’ll find a lofty arched glasshouse, 35 cocktails and a cuisine-crossing menu of snacks and share plates.

3 Stratton Street, Newstead

Frog's Hollow Saloon

Bar

A team of bartending veterans is behind this approachable cocktail den, mixing an imaginative signature drinks list alongside comforting eats by Alba Bar & Deli a few blocks over. It’s all housed behind a heritage brick-and-timber facade in the city centre.

26 Charlotte Street, Brisbane City

Mr Percival’s

Bar

The octagonal, overwater stunner with a fresh-seafood slant and an enviable view.

Howard Smith Wharves 5 Boundary Street, Brisbane
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