Eat & Drink

Canberra’s Nightlife Is Going Off Right Now. Here’s Where To Go

No lock outs. No lines. Cheap drinks. What more could you want? As Canberra has solidified its reputation as Australia’s cool little capital, its after-dark hotspots have also multiplied and gained a certain sophistication. (But don’t worry, all roads still lead to the legendary Mooseheads.)

Whether you’re after a quiet glass of wine or a big night on the dance floor, Canberra is the place to be. Most venues don’t charge cover, especially before midnight or on student night (Thursdays). The live music scene is booming too, with locals like Moaning Lisa and Citizen Kay on the lineup as well as national and international touring acts.

Although the city is generally more relaxed than its coastal counterparts when it comes to dress codes and cover charges, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to party. Here’s a guide to having a good time in the bush capital, whatever mood you’re in.

For a couple of cocktails

 

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Canberra does small bars extremely well, offering plenty of cosy but chic places to settle in for the evening. At Bar Rochford, tucked away upstairs in the iconic Melbourne Building, you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled into your cool friend’s living room but with a better wine list. Hippo, centrally located in Garema Place, is the go-to for whiskey and tinnies, with live jazz on Wednesday nights.

If gin is your drink of choice, you’ll want to head over to Tipsy Bull in Braddon, where the spirit is elevated to an art form and the food is incredible too. Canberra’s original secret speakeasy, Molly, also hosts live jazz and serves up the most innovative cocktails in town (if you can find it, that is.)

For live music

 

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Catching a gig at Transit is a Canberra rite of passage, as is belting one out on the stage at karaoke on Tuesdays. Emerging artists can often be found at the Polish White Eagle Club in the inner-north suburb of Turner. Back in the city centre, live music venue and nightclub Fiction is new to the scene but has already become the place to be for huge DJ sets and late-night parties.

For something a little bit different 

 

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Descend into Canberra’s one and only ’80s bar, 88mph, and you’ll be met with flashing neon lights, throwback cocktails, pizzas and DJs spinning your fave retro bangers til the early hours. Plus, dedicated fans can book private karaoke rooms.

Sideway is another new addition, catering to the underground dance music scene (with live bands and experimental performance also occasionally on the cards.) Here, you can sip on an Aperol Spritz or a Yuzu Sake and discover your new fave artist.

For a big night out

 

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The two-storey tropical paradise that is Kokomo’s has invigorated Canberra’s CBD, transitioning from restaurant to cocktail bar to club as the night wears on. The delicious sharing menu and signature cocktails make it the perfect place to kick off your stay in the ‘Berra.

Those in the know head to Knightsbridge for a laid-back but fun place to boogie the night away, while serious house and techno fans can be found at Mr Wolf nightclub, which also often hosts big-name DJs. Hit the bar before midnight for cheap-as-chips drink specials.

A night out in Canberra wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Mooseheads, a venue equally renowned for cheap shots and a sticky floor. Upstairs you’ll find a pumping nightclub vibe with on Friday and Saturday nights, while downstairs is a classic Aussie pub-with-a-dancefloor situation. 

For a Sunday sesh

 

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If you’re in the city centre, Hopscotch is the perfect place to soak up the sunshine with wings and parmis on the menu every weekend arvo and beer and cider on tap. A little further out, the Old Canberra Inn in Lyneham is a popular but relaxed spot for beers, classic pub meals and live music in the garden.

Need to cure a serious hangover? Capital Brewing has got you covered. Make the trek out to Canberra’s Southside for the city’s favourite beers, as well as to-die-for burgers from the Brodburger food truck.