If you’ve ever visited Canberra in the day, you might get the impression that it’s a clean and quiet city that mostly serves tourists. But when the sun goes down, this beautiful city comes alive with nightlife. Aside from the cultural events, night tours, restaurants, and club scene, Canberra has some of the most exciting bars you just have to experience. And with so much on offer, you’re going to want to visit the top ones for sure.
So this guide brings you the lowdown on the best bars in Canberra. After all, if you’re only there for a brief visit, you most definitely don’t want to miss out on some of the best nightlife Australia has to offer!
Molly’s is one of those well-known “secrets” that Canberra has to offer. Its enigmatic presence allows it to blend into the background, keeping its contents exclusive to those seeking a unique experience.
First off, you can find it using GPS coordinates that lead you to an unmarked entrance in the city centre. Then as you walk through this remodelled bank vault interior, you’re taken back to the golden glow of the prohibition era.
So if you’re in the mood for some classic cocktails, live jazz performances, and a cosy setting that is sure to deliver a good time, be sure to pay Molly’s a visit. They also have some of the best whiskies from around the world – a must-try in this vibrant venue.
Location: Wooden Door, Odgers Ln, Canberra ACT 2601
Opening Hours: Thu - Sat 4pm to 2am; Sun - Wed 4pm to 12am
What makes the Mint Garden Bar truly special is its exquisitely magical setting. Situated amongst the beautiful gardens of the Gorman House Arts Centre, it makes for the ideal summer spot to socialise with friends.
The building itself takes on a gorgeous art deco style, surrounded by open-air courtyards, trees that twinkle with fairy lights, and climbing plants that envelope this charming Canberra setting. With a vast array of delicious cocktails and canapes, it makes for one of the best bars in Canberra city you won’t want to miss.
Location: Gorman House Arts Centre, Batman St, Braddon – Canberra 2612
Opening Hours: Wed - Sat 5:30pm to 11pm
Honky Tonks is one of the most characterful, lively, and vibrant bars that Canberra has to offer. It has a real grungy, underground vibe with an atmosphere that screams good times. And there’s a good reason for that – Tequila!
Honky Tonks is known for having a huge range of different tequilas available to try. And if that wasn’t enough, they also serve some of the most delicious Mexican food to go with it. A great place for all folks after a good time, good food, and a touch of something a little different. Jump aboard the taco and tequila train!
Location: 17 Garema Pl Canberra, ACT, Australia 2601
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 12pm - late, Sat 3pm - late
It may sound like one of Canberra’s more ordinary bars, but don’t let the name fool you. Situated at the elegant East Hotel, Joe’s Bar is a family-friendly establishment that takes pride in its fine Italian food and refreshing beverages.
It has an air of quirky sophistication that is theatrical in its appearance. Combining bright colours and an assortment of funky features, it makes for a great setting to enjoy a night out in Canberra. Rustic Italian food and a wide range of different drinks deliver a relaxing atmosphere for anyone.
Location: 69 Canberra Ave, Griffith ACT 2603
Opening Hours: Tue - Sat 4pm to 12am
Representing early Canberra architecture, Parlour Wine Room has that timeless art deco ambiance that makes it the ideal comfortable environment to eat and drink. Featuring classically elegant furniture set amongst a lavish interior, you can sit back and enjoy the good life for a while.
Consult the sommelier for the perfect wine accompaniment to your meal with a fantastic menu of fine French dining. Alternatively, you can simply lounge in the bar with cocktails and tapas as you soak in the atmosphere and let the good times roll.
Location: 16 Kendall Ln, Acton ACT 2601
Opening Hours: Tue - Wed 12pm to 3pm, Thu - Sat 12pm to 11pm
If it’s a beer you’re after, Capital Brewing Co. has craftily got it covered. They boast a wide range of all sorts of different craft beers, from wheat beer to pale ale, many of which are served fresh from the tap to your tastebuds.
And what bar would be complete without the perfect bar food accompaniments? Serving the barbeque classics amongst some truly inspired dishes, including a chili that’s been braised in IPA, to smoked mac ‘n’ cheese balls. With indoor and outdoor courtyard seating hundreds, it’s a fantastic place for the whole family.
Location: Building 3/1 Dairy Rd, Fyshwick ACT 2609
Opening Hours: Sun - Fri 11:30am to 9pm, Sat 11:30am to 10pm
For the most authentic Cuban experience that Canberra has to offer, and over 300 varieties of rum to boot, Highball Express is the themed bar with a bite! Lively and upbeat, it’s been regarded as a Caribbean island retreat that’s packed with fab food, delicious drinks, fun, and frivolity.
And if that wasn’t enough to entertain you, they also host cocktail classes, Latin dancing, and live performances every week. For a night out to remember, jump aboard the Highball Express.
Location: 1/82 Alinga St, Canberra ACT 2601
Opening Hours: Mon - Wed 4pm to 12am, Thu - Fri 4pm to 2am, Sat 4pm to 3am
Lastly, we have the traditional pub experience at The Old Canberra Inn. Formerly a coach house in 1857, it brings that atmospheric charm of post-colonial Australia. Sit back in front of the cosy fireplace as you sample a refreshing craft beer before sitting down to some great pub grub.
It’s a fun, family-friendly setting that caters to all, with the traditional pub garden, children’s play area, and a vast range of high-quality, affordable food and drink. Once you’re in, you may find this place too enjoyable to leave.
Location: 195 Mouat St, Lyneham ACT 2602
Opening Hours: Sun - Wed 12 to 10pm, Thu 12 to 11pm, Fri - Sat 12pm to 12am
There are plenty of things to do and all you need is just a great place to stay in this wonderful capital. As you immerse yourself in its culture, be sure to stop off at some of these best bars in Canberra too. If not just to quench your thirst and satisfy your stomach, do it for a truly unforgettable experience.
So whether you’re after a glamourous night out of cocktails and entertainment, or just some traditional family-friendly fun, there’s something for everyone to get involved in. And if you’re keen to see what else is on offer in Canberra, be sure to check out our list of activities here.