The 5 Funnest Places To Drink In Hobart
Putting the "bar" in Hobart.
For a very long time Hobart was the home-school kid of the Australian peer group. Uncool, smelled a bit like your Grandparents, never got Simpsons references.
But in the last decade, Hobart came into its own. Hobart hit uni, found people who understood it, MONA bought the boys to the yard and cheap flights, world class whisky, beer, wine and music festivals turned it into a place young people went to, not just a place young people left. A small town city built itself up need by need and now Hobart can show you a good time any (okay, most) nights of the week. Two of us headed down for a long weekend to find out where the fun is at. Here’s five of the best bars.
Where: 5 Knopwood Street, Hobart
Our number one pick for a Hobart night out, Preachers would be completely at home in Brunswick or Surry Hills with comfy mismatched lounge chairs, open fire places, cheap tapas and ironic signs urging tips. They’ve got 16 different beers on tap, none of which are Cascade, and are strong champions of local breweries. Close to nightlife hub Salamanca (but then, it’s Hobart…everything is close to Salamanca) and home to a fine beer garden. So far, so blah. But here’s the big reveal – they have a bus. An actual, though stationary, full sized old-school tour bus, with tables and chairs and attractive French tourists drinking beer. You can even play driver at the wheel should the mood and drink strike you right. Gimmicky? Absolutely. Fun? Ridiculously.
#2 Republic Bar
Where: 299 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart
If you’ve been out in Hobart before, chances are you’ve been to Republic. It looks like the pubbiest pub that ever pubbed with deco brickwork, old men propping up the bar and excellent beer garden filled with actual Tasmanians. They even have their own local butcher on retainer – this is an honest to goodness pub and it’s long been the one of the most popular bars in Hobart. However the unassuming watering hole also has an impressive live music roll call that reminds you that this is actually a capital city, with a strong predilection for Aussie rock and hip hop and live music seven nights a week.
#3 Nant Whisky Bar
Where: Shop 3G, 63 Wooby’s Lane, Salamanca
It almost feels like a lie to call this a bar – room for only 36 thin patrons The Nant is definitely on the cosy side. While helping me ‘research’ this piece, my friend decided to test out the Tinder limits of Hobart and her date suggested this place before quickly revoking the idea because there is no way you could have the awkward “So what do you do?” conversation without every other person in the bar hearing. Size aside, The Nant offers a huge range of whiskies and whisky from around the world and they have the kind of thoughtful bar staff that teach you things about what you’re drinking without being condescending. Also, the seafood heavy menu is so fresh you can taste the ocean.
#4 Rektango at Salamanca Place on Friday Nights
Where: Salamanca Place
It was a Tasmania-cold Friday evening when we wandered into the Salamanca Arts Centre, completely expecting the huge 1830s sandstone square to be empty. But instead, droves of rugged up families, uni students and visitors flocked to Rektango – a performance space with a little stage and littler pop up bar – to dance and drink. Apparently this happens every Friday night, all year round, with the bookshop and art gallery staying open late and free live gypsy, jazz and swing music. It had an unselfconscious European or South American sensibility that would absolutely not work anywhere else in Australia.
#5 Sixty Jazz Club
Where: 77 Salamanca Pl, Battery Point
This bar is so cool and so exclusive it’s only a actually bar once a month and it lives in a whisky farm. While the history of Hobart focuses mostly on the rough and tumble convict narrative, there was another trade that welled up before the convicts even settled – whisky. And now with single malt distillers like Sullivans Cove, Lark, Nant and William McHenry and Sons Distillery kicking arse all over the whisky world, scotch snobs are making their way South in droves. No one is happier about this than Brett Steele, the director of the official Tasmanian Whisky tours. Brett is now making the most of this flush of tipsy travellers and his natural aptitude for socialising and story-telling by creating an in-house pop up bar that’s so popular you have to book months in advance and they enforce a strict lock-out time of 8:10pm. Once you’re in one of the 60 seats drinks are cheap, the music is excellent and the chat is quality.
(Lead image: Preachers/Facebook)