5 of the best Cairns bars (and not a backpackers in sight)
Found yourself in Tropical North Queensland with a thirst to quench? Thankfully Cairns has your back courtesy of its bevy of drinking holes suited for any and every occasion.
From suave bars for the cocktail connoisseur to more casual haunts, for when you simply crave a beer on the beach, make your way through the best Cairns’ bars with this guide.
Rocco at Riley Cairns
If awe-inspiring views strike your fancy than Cairns’ highest rooftop bar and restaurant is a must-visit. Rocco is one of the most recent additions to the city’s drinking scene, introduced as a part of sleek new five-star accommodation offering, Riley.
While the sky-high bar does boast 270-degree panoramic views of Cairns and the surrounding Coral Sea, Rocco is also well worth a visit thanks to its Mediterranean-inspired menu. Think aromatic meats cooked over an open grill to accompany sweet and savoury cocktails alike.
Must-drink: The Punch Pot
Where: Level 12, The Tower, 131-141 Esplanade, Cairns
Open: 4pm till late Monday to Wednesday, 12pm till late Thursday to Sunday
Down a red brick laneway in Cairns centre sits clandestine bar Three Wolves. Concocted by a trio of gents passionate about sophisticated drinks, the bar is proudly overflowing with options in the way of specialty whiskey, spirits, cocktails, wines and beers.
Bar bites abound to help line that stomach of yours, crowd-favourite charcuterie included. The venue is so passionate about drinks it also offers a number of masterclasses to better explore the world of cocktails and whiskey.
Must-drink: The Idealist.
Where: Red Brick Laneway 32 Abbott Street, Cairns
Open: 4pm till late daily
Kewarra Beach Shack Bar
Fans of the simple life should head straight for Kewarra, home to a rather famous beachside bar. Nestled on private beachfront, quite literally metres from the lapping waves of the Coral sea is the aptly-named Kewarra Beach Shack Bar.
What the venue lacks in sophistication it makes up for in ambience – you’d be pressed to find a better place to watch the sunset. While seafood and tapas is available to nibble on, it’s the wood-fired pizzas for which the bar has garnered a reputation.
Must drink: An ice-cold beer.
Where: Kewarra Beach Resort and Spa, 80 Kewarra Street, Kewarra Beach, Cairns
Open: 5pm-8:30pm Wednesday, 5-9pm Friday and 3-8pm Sunday (May to December).
The Conservatory Bar
The eclectic Conservatory Bar is one-to-watch for the music lover. While food and drink are in ample supply, the drinking den prides itself on its lively gigs. Every Friday and Saturday the bar plays host to a rotating selection of musical acts, who serenade the crowd while they tuck into their first of many specialty cocktails and wines.
Of course what’s a night out without a bite to eat? It’s hard to go past the bar’s specialty charcuterie-laden grazing boards, which encourage plenty of personalisation; there’s chilli and lime cheddar and duck terrine, and everything in-between.
Must drink: Tropic Like It’s Hot.
Where: 12-14 Lake Street, Cairns City
Open: 4pm till late Wednesday to Saturday
For beer lovers, it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to taste a glass of the district’s finest pint. You’d be hard-pressed to find something more Tropical North Queensland than Hemingway’s Brewery, which sits in an expansive heritage-listed space on Cairns Wharf and offers views of picturesque Trinity Inlet. (It needs the space with ten times the brewing capacity of its sister brew-house in Port Douglas.)
Take a seat at the brewery’s 19-metre-long bar and try any (and every) of the 20 taps available, which include 10 of Hemingway’s own brewed beers, specialty collaborations, and ciders.
Must drink: The Tasting Paddle.
Where: 4 Wharf Street, Cairns
Open: 11am till midnight daily