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Published November 8th 2015
Drink on top of the world, whatever the season or the reason
Guide to Brisbane's Best Rooftop Bars
Let's face it, when it comes to rooftop bars Brisbane has a distinct advantage over southern capital cities that lay claim to the best bar scene badge (we're talking about you, Melbourne). Brisbane's climate is just made for outdoor dining and drinking. Long, sweltering summer nights often make rooftops the perfect place to escape the heat with a chilled glass and an evening breeze, and mild winters mean that rooftops can be perfectly habitable with just the addition of some outdoor heating.
Despite this advantage the Brisbane rooftop bar scene has been surprisingly slow to get going. A few short years ago there weren't too many options around but the last couple of years have seen them popping up all over place, like springtime frangipanis.
Here's our guide to the best, in no particular order: some old, some new; some with pools or movies, some without; some sophisticated, some more like your backyard. Click through the pages below and you're sure to find somewhere to eat, drink and be merry outdoors and up high, whatever the season or the reason.
Eagles Nest is one of Brisbane's newer crop of rooftop bars, perched atop the Point Hotel with views of the Story Bridge. This is THE place for drinks with panoramic views. They specialise in champagne and cocktails but your sky-high drinking window isn't very large. You can only catch this exclusive experience on Sunday afternoons when you can enjoy sunset cocktails and live music, or you can book a function for other times.
Address: 21 Lambert Street, Kangaroo Point Hours: Sunday from 3pm - 7pm. Functions seven days a week Visitthe website here and Facebook page here and see our writer, Kiesten McCauley's review here.
Irresistible Cocktails: Frangelico and Vanilla Mule: Frangelico, Absolut vanilla, lime and ginger beer. Raspberry and Black Pepper Margarita: Chambord, Tequila, fresh raspberries and black pepper.
Elixer Rooftop Bar is 'The Valley you're having when you're not having The Valley'. It's in the midst of all the Valley action but a world away in tone. Elixer offers regular specials like Boutique Sunday with discounted craft beers and ciders and $5 sliders, or Thursdays for Ribs and Red where you can enjoy a plate of ribs and a glass of Cloudy Red Pinot Noir for $20.
Address: Level 1, 646-648 Ann St, Fortitude Valley Hours: Wednesday to Friday - 4pm until late. Saturday to Sunday - 1pm until late Visit the website here and Facebook page here and see our writer, Kath Chown's review here.
Irresistible cocktails: Beyond The Clouds: G'Vine Gin, Esprit De June, apple juice, lemon juice and Peychaud's bitters, finished with elderflower and amaretto foam. Violet Crumble: Jack Daniels Honey, Dark Creme de Cacao, Violet Liqueur, Aztec Chocolate Bitters and cream, garnished with honeycomb.
Limes Hotel Rooftop Bar
The Rooftop at Limes Hotel is an oldie but still a goodie, with a cinematic twist AND plunge pools. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings you can enjoy drinks and movies under the stars, complete with a bean bag or a hot tub. When the movies aren't showing you can partake of a range of red and white wine, cocktails or cocktail jugs.
Address: 142 Constance Street, Fortitude Valley Hours: Wednesday to Thursday - 5pm until midnight. Friday to Saturday - 3pm until 3 am. Sunday - 3pm until midnight. Visit the website here and Facebook page here and check out our writer, Camille's review here.
Irresistible Cocktails: Hot Tub Wine Machine: Limoncello liqueur, house made basil syrup, strawberry puree and sparkling wine. The French Tickler: Vodka, Chambord, house made Orgeat syrup, cranberry juice and lemon juice.
Rydges South Bank is home to the legendary Bacchus restaurant and Soleil Pool Bar, which combines the best of elegant decor and a cool main bar with a pool and deck. They are known for their surprising cocktails and a tasty tapas-style menu. Capri Sundays offer punch, live entertainment, DJ's, and of course, cocktails. They even provide towels for your Sunday afternoon dip.
Image from venue Facebook page.
Address: Podium Level, Rydges South Bank, Corner of Grey and Glenelg Streets, South Bank Hours: From 7am until late seven days a week Visit the website here and see our writer, Kiesten McCauley's review here.
Irresistible Cocktails: It Takes Two to Tango: Belvedere Pure Vodka, lemon, Rizzardi Prosecco, raspberry and rose sorbet. I can personally vouch for this one. Mystery Traveller: Patron Silver Tequila, butterscotch salt, agave syrup, Angostura bitters, stirred over ice and strained over a triple frozen ice sphere.
Eleven Rooftop Bar is situated (unsurprisingly) eleven storeys up on The Valley's Ann Street. This one is all about sophistication and is a highly popular spot so bookings are advised (via phone 07 3067 7447). You need to know that there is a strict dress code: Smart dress at all times. Dress shorts for men ONLY until 6pm. After 6pm men in collared button-up shirts or a T shirt with jacket and dress leather shoes. Women suitably attired. NO facial tattoos. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Address: Level 757 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley Hours: Tuesday to Thursday - 12 noon to 12 midnight. Friday and Saturday - 12noon to 3am. Sunday - 12 noon to 12 midnight.. Visit the website here and Facebook page here. None of our writers have yet reviewed Eleven. What are you waiting for?
Irresistible Cocktails: Eleven Bar Cocktail: Beefeater Gin, passionfruit, ginger, lemon and Angostura bitters. The Old Man and The Sea: Havana club 3, Luxardo Maraschino, lime, and grapefruit foam.
Lennon's Pool Terrace and Bar
Lennon's Pool Terrace and Bar is one of the few city-based rooftop bars, situated on the fourth floor of the funky NEXT Hotel. You'll love cocktails and tapas overlooking Queen Street Mall. Sit in comfy chairs or stand around tall bar tables and watch the busy world go by below.
Up on Constance is another Valley favourite that is almost as much about the colourful, stylish decor as it is about the cocktails, position and view. Share plates are the order of the day as far as food is concerned and the vibe is definitely chilled. There are also DJ's for your listening pleasure.
Dandy's, on top of South Brisbane's Fox Hotel, is just like your own backyard, only much cooler. Sip on a cocktail and enjoy a pizza or tapas and the icicle lights, with one eye on the Brisbane River and one on the DJ entertainment.
Address: 71 - 73 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane Hours: Friday - 4pm until late. Saturday - 2pm until late. Sunday - 2pm until late. Visit the website here and Facebook page here.
Irresistible Cocktails: Literati: Tanqueray gin, smashed mandarin, lemon juice, and egg white, finished with aromatic bitters and built over ice. Dandy Berryal: Ketel One vodka, Crème de Mure blackberry liqueur, pineapple juice, fresh lime, blueberry, strawberry and raspberry.
The Stock Exchange Rooftop Garden
The Stock Exchange has recently undergone a complete transformation and gone from drab to fab. People who used to go there in the 90s (not mentioning any names) would never recognise the place. And it's not just the decor that has changed, it's under new ownership and management. You can enjoy the sounds of the Hanlon Brothers every Friday from 5pm while you enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and inner city views.
Image from venue Facebook page.
Address: 131 Edward Street, Brisbane Hours: Wednesday to Friday - 4pm until late. Saturday to Sunday - 1pm until late Visit the website here and Facebook page here.
Irresistible Cocktails: Pear and Elderflower Gin Fizz: Tanqueray gin, St Germaine elderflower liqueur, pear juice, lemon juice, sugar and soda. Served with edible flowers. Stock Exchange: Tanqueray gin, Campari, lemon juice, burnt orange and vanilla bean syrup.