Cocktails and wine
- Foxtail Lounge – Foxglove on the waterfront by the East-by-West ferry. A cute little cocktail bar in the upstairs northern corner with fabulous sea views and very pleasant tapas and platters. Entry is via wardrobe from the main upstairs bar (which door will you choose to exit?). Late afternoon onwards. Sometimes hired out for functions.
- The Library – Upstairs above Burger King on the corner of Courtenary and Tory, the entry is a small doorway between the corner and the waffle booth. Separate nooks and crannies, gloriously lined with old books for your reading entertainment. Savoury and sweet treats and cocktails. Evenings. Try Tuesday night 2:1 desserts.
- Motel – Also down Forresters Lane, upstairs on the left. Recently remodelled to a Pacific Island beach theme. Eye catching painting on the wall of the outdoor courtyard space. Evenings Tuesday to Sunday.
- Matterhorn – Cuba Mall near the bucket fountain. Regular winners of cocktail-making competitions. A long thin New York style bar surrounded by different spaces for dining, as well as an outdoor bar and nibble space. Casual and sophisticated at the same time. 3pm til late 7 days.
- Dragonfly – Courtenay Place near Reading. A bamboo’d rear bar serving interesting cocktails with Asian flair, ingredients made in-house and a long list of tasty shots for those wanting something smaller. Evenings Monday to Saturday.
- Boon Brothers Crumpet and Cocktails – Opera House foyer. Slightly hipster with youngsters who will create cocktails based on your preferences and a flavour tasting wheel (no cocktail menus). A treat any time of day really. From 1pm 7 days.
- Hanging Ditch – Leeds Street beside Goldings Dive Bar. Bottles hanging in a forest of bungy cords above the bar, and a small but interesting cocktail menu. Changing often, and incorporating local products (like Fix and Fogg peanut butter), you’ll always find something interesting here. Tues to Sunday, 3pm til midnight.
- Black Sparrow – Speakeasy bar in the bottom of the Embassy Theatre, Kent Terrace. Cocktails themed to movies or Roald Dahl. Fabulous re-use of the old theatre tiles to create the speakeasy feel. 6pm til late 7 days.
- Poquito -11 Tory Street. A Spanish tapas and wine bar, with nicely presented cocktails and live music later in the week. From 4.00pm Tuesday to Saturday.
These three are owned by the same group so you will notice some similarities:
- Hawthorn Lounge – Upstairs on Tory Street above Pan de Meurto. Echoes of a gentlemans club from days past, lovely dark décor with card tables, marshmellows in front of the fire, and superb staff. Evenings Tuesday to Saturday.
- C G R Merchant and Co (Coffee, Gin and Rum) – Upstairs on Courtenay just past the Malthouse (a subtle entry). Think the Rum Diaries movie, and their own rum and gin infusions and rum salted caramel cookies (don’t skip the salted caramel rum either). Fantastic value cheeseboards. Evenings Tuesday to Saturday.
- Cuckoo Cocktail Emporium – In the rear ground corner of Foxglove on the waterfront. Quirkier than Hawthorn and CGR, with retro op-shop style furniture and décor, but with the same superb service. Day and night Monday to Saturday (noon opening Saturdays).
And the only true winebar in the city:
- Noble Rot – in Swan Lane, mid Cuba. A massive range of quality wines from all over the world, served with tasty quality plates from Amy of the Salty Pidgin. Four owners, including three who have done wine courses, and one ex-head sommelier from Hippopotamus Hotel. Monday and Tuesday evenings, Wednesday to Sunday lunch til late.
And a very unique cocktail experience (the jury is still out on whether its great fun or just downright annoying – suspect it’s age-dependent!):
- Orpheus New Orleans Bar and Restaurant – Allen Street. Live music on Fridays and Saturdays, South American food, and 5,000+ cocktails available via iPad ordering. Tasty desserts. 7 days from 5.30pm.