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10 cool Canberra bars for summer nights

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Looking for a cool night out?  Here are 10 Canberra bars perfect for escaping the heat of summer nights.

Bar Rochford


Image: Martin Ollman.

A cracking wine list and food influenced by European, Spain and Modern Australia — Bar Rochford (above) is the destination for those who love ‘very fine times’.

Recently taking the title of Australia’s Best Bar in the 2018 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide Awards, it’s sophisticated with a touch of grunge and great for a quick drink after work, or for settling in for a lengthy food and wine session.

Bar Rochford | First floor, 65 London Circuit (Melbourne Building), Canberra City | www.barrochford.com

Black Market

Black Market's intimate interiors. Image: Tim Bean Photography.

Black Market’s intimate interiors. Image: Tim Bean Photography.

Tucked into the basement of acclaimed eatery A. Baker is Black Market. Green leather benches sit low against the walls with candlelit marble tables and mini chesterfield chairs. Funk and soul from the 1960s and 70s creates a relaxed vibe.

Dusky and intimate, it’s a bar for grown ups, and its proximity to Palace Electric Cinemas make it the perfect spot for a pre- or post- movie tipple, with a select small plates menu courtesy of A. Baker.

Black Market’s name comes from the bar’s focus on rare, limited edition spirits and innovative practices in cocktail making. One to track down if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary.

Black Market | 15 Edinburgh Street, NewActon | Open seven days, 5pm to late |  www.bmbar.com.au


A sophisticated wine bar, where the food is every bit as good as the accompanying drops.

A sophisticated wine bar, where the food is every bit as good as the accompanying drops. Image: Tim Bean Photography.

Vincent brings sophisticated European fare and some great drops to Barton, in a wine bar cum restaurant dishing up some seriously good food. It’s a sophisticated space with a short but satisfying menu, and a wine list you’ll enjoy exploring with the help of their expert staff. One to while away a few hours at.

Vincent | 48 Macquarie Street, Barton | vincentrestaurant.com.au

Highball Express

Photo: Ashley St George.

Photo: Ashley St George.

Want to escape Canberra without getting on a plane? Head to Highball Express – the city’s answer to prohibition era Cuba. Take a seat inside—all aqua and white—pr on the airy, light terrace and peruse the extensive menu of imported rums and rum based cocktails while you enjoy the unique beats, mixed by a DJ in Europe especially for Highball.

The best way to serve a large group is definitely by ordering one of Highball’s signature cocktails, so wait until you see the adorable vintage drinks trolley roll around or chat to one of the friendly bartenders.

The Highball Express | 82 Alinga Street, Civic 02 6257 6971 | highballexpress.com.au


Photo credit: Nathan Lanham.

Photo: Nathan Lanham.

Joe’s Bar is an intimate space is big on textures and layers with earthen finishes and materials and conversation styling pieces dotted throughout including an incredible floor-to-ceiling concrete curtain at the entrance.

An intriguing wine list balances Italian wines with a selection of local drops designed to complement the modern Italian menu of Italian-born chef, Francesco Balestrieri. With a focus on using the freshest local produce sourced from within 100km of Canberra, bar snacks are taken to another level.

Joe’s Bar |East Hotel, 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston | joesateast.com


Monster. Image: Javier Steel

Monster. Image: Javier Steel

It’s one of those rare places that’s as comfortable for breakfast as it is for midnight cocktails, and you never EVER think you’re sitting in a hotel foyer. There are nooks to hide away in, a fire to warm yourself next to, and the elegant salon right next door, should you decide to head in for something more substantial.

The great thing about Monster isn’t Sean McConnell’s inventive cuisine (although it’s amazing), or the carefully crafted cocktails and interesting wine list; it’s that this is a place that transcends generations. It’s that perfect watering hole for any age.

Monster Kitchen and Bar | 25 Edinburgh Avenue, New Acton | hotel-hotel.com.au/eat-and-drink/monster



Snappy and modern with a focal square bar that takes pride of place in the centre of the room, Parlour Wine Room has emerged anew. Packed with tables and cosy nooks with couches perfect for hiding away from the cool of winter, it’s on Parlour’s terrace that you’ll be wanting a seat this summer as you overlook the evolving precinct of NewActon with a signature cocktail in hand.

Parlour Wine Room | 16 Kendall Lane, NewActon | parlour.net.au



All Alpine ski lodge in decor, Hippo Co is one of city’s leading bars with a commitment to the craft of making a serious drink. There’s a great collection of whiskey and scotches, plus a balcony to take in the scene over Garema Place in Civic.

There are plenty of spots for a chat and conversation-starter objects (a whole pack of taxidermic critters, framed vintage prints and retro light fittings, to name a few) and some nicely thought out original recipes on the menu as well. Add live music several nights a week until late, including jazz on Wednesdays, and you’ve got one lively date launch pad.

Hippo Co | 17 Garema Place, Canberra City | hippoco.com.au


polit bar

If you like the idea of a deco inspired bar with table service, top quality drinks and a real sense of hospitality, then Polit Bar is the place for you. It aims to be the ‘thinking person’s cocktail lounge’, but not taking itself too seriously, and they also have regular music, board games, trivia, poetry and burlesque. Oh, and there is an absinthe fountain—things could get messy.

Polit Bar | 8 on Franklin, Manuka Village. | politbar.co



Photo: supplied

Italian & Sons – Bacaro is a sleek, sexy space to enjoy a quick dinner, a glass of carefully-sourced regional Italian wine, or an authentic snack. The intimate, 50-seat wine bar is tucked at the back of Italian & Sons, on Lonsdale Street in Braddon.

The impressive bevelled Italian marble bar is the focal point of the venue, along with the custom-made, timber fireplace in the centre of the room.Expect honest Italian fare including house-made pasta, wood fired pizza, imported regional Italian formaggi and a selection of house-made cured meats.

Italian & Sons – Bacaro | 7 Lonsdale St, Braddon | www.italianandsons.com.au

Feature image by Tim Bean Photography.

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