Cocktail bars have stepped up a few notches in recent years, with an increasing number of hip and modern bars popping up in Canberra annually. As there are so many quality bars to choose from, new bars need to think outside the box and offer something unique for their guests - which separates them from the bar down the road. These days, new cocktail bars may offer a complete "experience" with an interesting theme, out-of-this-world cocktails, colourful décor and creative food matching to make any fine dining restaurant sit up and take notice. There are at least 3 cocktail bars in Canberra Civic who have taken the leap and added their own creative theme and punchy statement to their cocktail bar (if you know of another, please add a comment at the top of this article). Now each weekend, we can be swept away in the magic of a faraway place and enjoy the sweet flavours of a decadent cocktail, or two, in the Canberra Civic. Cheers to that!
Kokomo's, in the heart of the city. Image: Original photos from Kokomo's Facebook
KOKOMO'S is a two-story, tropical-themed cocktail bar, located in the heart of the city on the corner of Bunda Street and Genge Street. When you first walk in, all you can say is "wow" due to the sheer size of the high-ceiling entry and instant tropical feeling that surrounds you. Its opening night in June (2017) caused quite a stir around the city, with none other than UK pop sensation Boy George DJ'ing for the crowds. As well a wide range of tropical cocktails in coconuts to choose from, they also have light meals, larger plates, desserts and a banquet option on their food menu. It is recommended that you book a table for dinner, to ensure you get a table at Canberra's latest hot spot and cocktail bar! See here for details. Open daily between 11:30am - midnight.
Enjoy a night at Kokomo's. Image: Kokomo's Facebook
WHITE RABBIT is a small bar that is big on imagination, located on Northbourne Avenue in the city. Guests are invited down the rabbit hole and into an Alice in a Wonderland fantasy, where the imagination takes flight and the bartenders are friendly. Now open for almost two years, this cocktail bar is designed to be enjoyed by everyone, however women particularly flock to this floral venue for a Girls Night Out and also their quaint High Teas (called a Tipsy Tea!). The cocktails are an experience in themselves - costing $20 and including a creative side dish of sour worms, mini cupcakes, donuts or other magical accompaniment. There is also a savoury and dessert menu to enjoy with your drinks. If you become a regular, you can even own a cabinet on their drinks wall, to store a special bottle or your favourite spirit, which will be brought out for you whenever you visit. See here for details. Open Tuesday to Saturday - 5pm until late.
Discover the whimsical magic of White Rabbit cocktail room. Image: Original photos from White Rabbit Facebook
HIPPO CO is a hunting lodge-themed cocktail and whisky bar, which can be found upstairs in Garema Place, in the middle of the city. The hunting lodge theme creates a warm and cosy feeling as soon as soon as you walk in, with taxidermy deer heads on the walls, exposed brick and timber walls and a feeling of old fashioned, traditional warmth. Black and white photos of jazz musicians line the walls, creating a nostalgic mood to the bar area. The cocktail menu has 4 pages of decadent drinks, with sweet, sour, refreshing and stirred options to choose from, between $10 - $19. If you would like to learn how to make your own cocktails, Hippo Co offer Cocktail Masterclasses for $100 per person. It is particularly popular on Wednesday nights for live jazz, which you can enjoy with a weeknight cocktail. See here for details. Open Monday to Saturday, 5pm until late.
Hippo Co Whisky & Cocktail Bar. Image: Original photos from Hippo & Co Facebook
For more cocktail bars within walking distance to each other in the Civic, also check out Akiba (located diagonally opposite from Kokomo's), Molly ( a hidden bar where you need GPS co-ordinates to find it!) and Bar Rochford in the Melbourne Building - which recently won the Gourmet Traveller's 2018 Bar of the Year!
Canberra is growing and evolving every year, with new modern eateries, bars and cocktail rooms opening, to rival any other city in Australia. For the residents and visitors to the Capital, it means a night out in the city can be a night of choice - dinner in one venue, dessert in another and then the rest of the evening can be spent enjoying a cocktail or two, at one of many cocktail bars across the city.
With so many award-winning, creative bars to choose from - where will you be going this Saturday night?
Quiet sophistication at Bar Rochford - Gourmet Traveller Bar of the Year, 2018. Image: Bar Rochford Facebook