Eat & Drink

These Are The Best Bars In Every Australian State

Our bar scene is up there with the world's best.

Australia’s bar scene is up there with the world’s best and, this week, the folks over at Bartender Magazine doled out a bunch of awards in the annual Australian Bar Awards.

While several competitors in categories like Bartender of the Year, Cocktail List of the Year and Best Live Music Bar went home with shiny new trophies, the state-by-state winners in the Best of the Year category is a handy check-list of can’t-miss watering holes in every corner of our fair land.

Here’s where to quench your thirst on your next interstate adventure.

ACT: Highball Express, Canberra

Highball Express, Canberra

Image: The Highball Express / Facebook

A Cuban-themed rum bar in Canberra’s Civic neighbourhood, Highball Express is the newest instalment from the owners of Molly, a prohibition-style speakeasy just around the corner. There are more than 300 varieties of rum on offer, with 12 cocktail varieties stored in custom-built oak barrels on-site.

Where: 82 Alinga Street, Canberra


NSW: The Baxter Inn, Sydney

An unmarked nook in an alley way off Clarence Street in Sydney’s CBD, The Baxter Inn is a New York-style whisky bar serving up almost 800 varieties. For those who prefer to enjoy their tipple in solitude, there’s a separate Whisky Room hidden in the cellar.

The Baxter Inn also took out the national prize in the Best of the Year category.

Where: 152-156 Clarence Street, Sydney


NT: Lazy Susan’s, Darwin

Lazy Susan's Eating House

Image: Lazy Susan’s Eating House / Facebook

A cheap-and-cheerful Chinese-style eating house, Lazy Susan’s serves up light, flavoursome food alongside a well-stocked whisky bar. Good vibes are a given.

Where: 21 Cavenagh Street, Darwin


QLD: Cobbler, Brisbane

Cobbler Brisbane

Image: Cobbler / Facebook

Cobbler, a dimly lit whisky bar in central Brisbane, is a rarity in a city where competitors are almost always perched on the water’s edge.  But punters in search of good conversation and better drinks are spoilt for choice, with a seasonal cocktail list and more than 400 whiskies, tequila, rum and liquer varieties on offer.

Where: 7 Browning Street, West End


SA: Hains and Co., Adelaide

Hains & Co.

Image: Hains & Co. / Facebook

If you’re going to go with a nautical theme, you’ve really gotta commit. And that’s what the folks at Adelaide’s Hains and Co. have done, down to tiniest detail – drinks, for example, come in three sizes: dingy, tanker and tall ship.

A variety of spirits like gin, rum and whisky are on offer, while punters can get their drinks matched to a cigar imported from Cuba, Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic, if it tickles their fancy.

Where: 23 Gilbert Place, Adelaide


TAS: Society Salamanca, Hobart

Society Salamanca

Image: Society Salamanca / Facebook

Stationed in a former cider bar in Hobart’s Battery Point neighbourhood, Society Salamanca specialises in high-end cocktails, gin and whisky distilled locally and around the globe. Mules, martinis and margaritas are all on the list, and all come with a distinct Tasmanian twist.

Where: 22 Montpelier Retreat, Battery Point


VIC: The Beaufort, Melbourne

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Inspired by the American dive bars favoured by sea-weary sailors, The Beaufort does exactly what it says on the can. There’s a satisfying selection of beer, bourbon and whisky available, along with and a lip-smacking ribs menu from on-site eatery Ike’s Rack Shack.

Where: 415-421 Rathdowne Street, Carlton


WA: Mechanics’ Institute, Perth

Named for the former headquarters it occupies, Perth’s Mechanics’ Institute serves up a solid selection of cocktails, beers and wines from around the traps. The only constant on the regularly rotated cocktail menu is Hillbilly Bob’s Ruckus Juice, a concoction of spiced rum, ginger bar, lager, orgeat and lime juice. Drink up!

Where: 222 William Street, Perth

(Lead image: Wu Yi)

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