Winner: The Junk Bar, Ashgrove
Brisbane’s ‘burbs have got the goods! Ashgrove’s choice drinking den slings brag-worthy cocktails that patrons can sink into a comfy couch with while enjoying the sound of groovy vinyl tunes. The Junk Bar’s expert bartenders make a mean array of flavour combinations, with it’s Frangelico sours, minty-fresh mojitos and strawberry daquiris hailed as the people pleasers of the bunch. Other top picks worth investigating are The Brooklyn Hipster (a heavenly mix of spiced rum, Pimms, sweet vermouth, bitters and sugar) and the Miss Junk Cherry (a heady combo of Chambord, vanilla, vodka, cherries, fresh orange and cream).
Runner up: Maker, South Brisbane
Hidden away on Fish Lane, this chic hole-in-the-wall bar experiments with eclectic flavours and comes up with unique, seasonal concoctions to cure any craving. Choice picks from the the mixed cocktails include blends such as tequila, melon, sage agave and lime nip and a bourbon, banana and coffee combo. If you cant make up your mind, the astute bartenders will be more than happy to accommodate indecisiveness and create a bespoke cocktail to suit your tastebuds.
Runner-up: Death & Taxes, Brisbane City
As you enter this sophisticated cocktail lounge on Burnett Lane, you’ll be greeted by warm lighting, a curated playlist of low-key funk and soul classics and a four-metre-tall back bar highlighting whisky as well as gin, rum, tequila and mescal. Taking inspiration from the moody cocktail bars of London and Paris, the team at Death & Taxes have created a beautifully designed 30-strong list of unique flavour-driven cocktails to be enjoyed by candlelight. Our personal favourite? The Tell Tale Heart with Jinzu Japanese gin, honeydew, lychee, Vietnamese mint and soda.
The Gresham, Brisbane City
Famous for good vibes and an artistic cocktail list crafted by some of Queen Street’s most favoured bartenders is whisky cavern The Gresham Bar. The ultimate Friday afternoon pit-stop, we recommend wetting your whistle with the Spinning Wheel, a concoction of Rittenhouse rye whiskey, Martel VSOP cognac, toffee syrup, bitters and smoke. The cocktail menu changes seasonally, so get to summer sipping!
Mr. Percival’s, Brisbane City
For a memorable over-water drinks experience, Mr. Percival’s at Howard Smith Wharves is the place to take current and prospective drinking friends. The world-class octagonal bar and eatery sits above the lapping waters of the Brisbane river and boasts a list of 17 cocktails including the crowd-favourite Sonny Spritz with Aperol, orange, soda, and Sonny Cider and the house G & T with Tanqueray, Aperol, rosemary, black pepper tincture, and premium tonic.
Savile Row, Fortitude Valley
Tucked away in plain sight, Ann Street hideaway Savile Row possesses a carefully crafted 20-long cocktail menu showcasing both left-of-field flavours and the master craftsmanship of the cocktail savvy brains behind the wide-scaped bar. The Sirens Call is a smoky (literally – it comes served in a cloud of smoke) mix of Herradura tequila, rinquinquin, agave, smoke and peach – a crowd-pleasing pick, but with the bar open until 3:00 am every night, there is plenty of time for patrons to make their way through the extensive drinks menu.
Cobbler, West End
Brisbane bartender’s worst kept secret, Cobbler is West End’s answer to the classy New York loft-style cocktail bar. With a seasonal cocktail menu backed by an impressive array of spirits (including more than 400 whiskies) there is sure to be something to tickle your fancy and, if not, the folks behind the bar are more than capable to whip something up that’ll tantalise your tastebuds.
The Bowery, Fortitude Valley
Fortitude Valley longstanding hotspot The Bowery well and truly delivers the goods as far as impressive cocktails are concerned. Modelled on the classic New York-style speakeasy, mixologists meticulously craft cocktails from high-quality first pour spirits, freshly pressed citrus juices and classic recipes – old fashioned, anyone? With a welcoming, warm interior, we suggest making one of the wooden booths your home to slowly sip your way through the four-volume cocktail book.
Mr & Mrs G Riverbar, Brisbane City
Eagle Street Pier’s cocktail and tapas hotspot boasts panoramic views of the Brisbane River and is a great place to pull up a chair and watch the sunset over the Story Bridge with a spritz in hand. The Mediterranean-inspired restaurant offers up personable service, tasty seasonal dishes and a cocktail list that knocks socks off.
Canvas is a vintage-style bar nestled amongst Woolloongabba’s bustling Logan Road precinct. Boasting delectable cocktail concoctions, absinthe with the full fountain ritual, and a drinks menu that reads “there’s a party in every glass”, Canvas is a sublime spot to escape the summer heat and enjoy a refreshing tipple. Menu standouts we suggest sipping are the Espresso Patronum, the Bogan on Logan and the wickedly moorish Howling Jimmy Jefferson.
To have a look at the complete list of winners from the 2019 EAT/drink Awards, click here.