12 of the best rooftop bars in Brisbane
Summer is on its way!
Like a reverse Game of Thrones, where everything becomes warmer, the sea becomes a haven at midday and cold drinks are meant to be had outside. Enter the rooftop bars of Brisbane.
They sit perched high in the skyline looking down at all the normal bars. They laugh as the sun sets and the stars come out because they know they have the best views going. Here’s our pick of the best:
A bar in the sky
Make sure you unblock your ears as you fly 30 stories up to Sazerac Bar. Sitting atop the Four Points Hotel at 99 Mary Street, the bar boasts the title of highest bar in Brisbane.
A former gym, this transformation story takes the cake with timber cladded ceilings complimenting the ambient red backdrop of the bar to create a moody sophistication of dizzying altitudes.
As you look down at the human ants on the sidewalks, sip on one of the cocktails that feature the bars namesake ingredients. Specialising in fancy beverages, there’s no way you can resist a salted caramel martini while watching the fading afternoon light turn into twinkling city lights. Ahh, the serenity.
Time flies when you’re having drinks
Enter the concrete forest of the cityscape and get a close up of Brisbane City Hall’s clock tower when you head to the roof of Pullman’s Mecure Hotel.
Named after its antler-inspired tree decorations and the 16 elevator levels between the bar and the bottom, these rooftop woods exudes sophistication and fantasy.
Instead of jumping down the rabbit hole, soar to the roof, escape time, and relax with a cocktail and cheese platter in this casual yet enchanting setting.
Up on Constance sits on top of the Tryp Hotel in Fortitude Valley and the entrance is hidden away down a graffiti-filled alleyway. Enter the glass-doored elevator to find yourself surrounded by the colours and patterns of the ’70s mixed with sleek modern styling.
Order a cocktail called ‘The Pelican Hotel’ – it’s named after Ocean Street in Miami. That means its MARGARITA TIME! Don Julio Blanco, fresh watermelon, fig and grapefruit shrub and smoked sea salt… okay, it’s more than your everyday margarita.
Sunshine, happiness and a pool
Soleil is French for ‘sun'; fitting because the Soleil Pool Bar is an all day (and all night) poolside party place with oodles of cocktails and phat beats.
DJ’s spin tracks while you lie on inflatable pool toys and sip cocktails. Well, that’s if you packed your swimwear. Most of us will be hanging poolside enjoying the ambiance and the stylish timber, gold and white surroundings of Rydges South Bank.
Making a decision on what cocktail you want is tough but we can’t go past the ‘It’s all in the hips': Belvedere Pure Vodka, peach puree, orange juice, topped with Rizzardi Prosecco. It’s pretty much summer in a glass.
Turn it up to Eleven
Jaws will hit the floor in this place, gasps of amazement will be heard and Eleven Rooftop Bar will continue to be a panoramic vista sensation. Fortitude Valley, the CBD, Mt Coot-tha and Toohey Mountain are on display for your eager eyes.
Then once you realise they provide, breakfast, lunch, dinner and a casual bar scene to the wee hours of the morning… you can relax. All day and night surrounded by the best views in town is a Saturday not wasted.
Try the Eleven signature cocktail: Beefeater Gin, passionfruit, ginger, lemon and Angostura Bitters. This will get you into the spirit of things and is probably the only drink that can match your taste buds to your surroundings.
Ribs and Red Wine
Elixir Rooftop Bar is more than meets the eye. Which is crazy because the modern bar design is surrounded by lush green walls of plants interweaved with fairy lights to make it seem like you are in Peter Rabbit’s backyard on New Year’s Eve.
In Chinese folklore, a moon rabbit lives out its days high in the night sky trying to create the elixir of life. Elixir has built on this theme and the bartenders do a great job filling in for the moon rabbit while he is away.
Come on a Thursday afternoon and enjoy ‘Ribs and Red’ – a plate of ribs and glass of Cloudy Red Pinot Noir, the best pairing since Simon and Garfunkel. It’s nice to find this sanctuary above the bustle of Ann Street in Fortitude Valley.
Enter Dandy’s Rooftop Bar and you’ll realise why it’s on the list before you even try the drinks. If you take a typical Aussie backyard, dial up the colours to ‘electric’ and then add homemade ginger beer, you know you’ve got something special.
The Fox Hotel has done just that and then some. The signature drink of fresh-pressed ginger, Gosling’s rum, citrus and a secret ale spice mix is a ginger beer to end all ginger beers.
Check out ‘Soho Sundays’ for an end-of-the-week cocktail in a coconut.
Hot tubbin’ instead of clubbin’
Your Wednesday and Thursday nights will never be the same thanks to Limes Hotel Bar. Chill under the stars and watch a movie all while dipping your toes in their spas. The modern decor is mirrored in the movies they play. Think Pulp Fiction meets The Block.
Order a round of ‘Hot Tub Wine Machines’ – Limoncello liqueur, house-made basil syrup, strawberry puree and sparkling wine. It will chill you from the inside while the spa warms you from the outside. What a combo! Maybe go on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights too?
Time to get spoiled more than a 16-year-old girl with a bad attitude on her birthday. Spicers Balfour’s rooftop bar is exclusive to hotel or dining guests only, so that means you need to book a night or indulge in a degustation. Decisions are tough.
Both are pretty awesome things to do in their own right and the rooftop bar matches the hotel and kitchen in luxury and service. That is if you want service.
They’ll let you pour your own drinks and pay using the ‘honour system’ but take it from us, these are some of the best bar staff in the business so make the most of them.
Lay by the pool
This may be one of the newest bars on the list but the Pool Terrace and Bar on top of NEXT Hotel is THE place to chill this summer, because it’s cooler than Johnny Depp, Samuel L. Jackson and Jay-Z skiing a glacier in the Alps.
Jump in the lap pool and then enjoy a drink. Don’t worry, the cocktail menu is almost as long as the pool and twice as full.
Try the ‘Flaming Rum Punch’ – Havana Club 3 Anos, Havana Club Especial, Sailor Jerry, Bacardi 151, Passionfruit, Angostura Bitters and orange and pineapple juice. Perfect if you are a pirate, or just really like EVERY SINGLE TYPE of rum.
Waaaaaaay up high
Perched high in the sky over Kangaroo Point like a watchful angel of fun and drinks sits Eagles Nest. The views of the CBD and a sophisticated feel make this worth a visit, but the Moet on ice… that makes it a keeper.
Putting ice cubes in champagne isn’t just reserved for your crazy aunt anymore. Moet literally invented a new champagne so it can be served on ice and still taste hilariously good. Australians in the middle of summer cannot thank them enough.
Eagles Nest is open on Sundays to the public and is ready to put your hot summer nights on ice. Delicious Moet-covered ice.