With topnotch drink lists, inviting interiors and fresh local produce, Tasmania’s bar scene is booming. Whether you’re in the mood for an avant-garde cocktail or an award-winning glass of wine, here’s a guide to the best bars in Hobart, Launceston and beyond.
The best bars in Hobart
Faro Bar + Restaurant
No trip to Hobart is complete without checking out the mind-bending exhibitions at Mona. But a drink at Faro – suspended over the River Derwent, with views of the museum’s Brutalist façade and a giant James Turrell artwork amid the dining tables – takes eccentricity to new levels. Expect an ever-changing experimental menu; past hits famously include a pig’s-eye margarita.
Mona, 655 Main Road, Berriedale; (03) 6277 9900
Natural-wine lovers will enjoy a tipple or two at local go-to Sonny, an intimate 18-seater in the CBD with a chalkboard list of drops that’s updated every day. A short, sharp menu of Italian-leaning snacks, chatty staff and a groovy vinyl collection add to the atmosphere.
120a Elizabeth Street, Hobart
IXL Long Bar
Nestled inside The Henry Jones Art Hotel – a converted former jam factory on Hobart’s docks – this historic bar hosts live jazz and serves up a range of excellent cocktails. Try the Rose of Mary with Bombay Dry Gin, elderflower liqueur, lime and Lillet Blanc garnished with house-grown rosemary theatrically toasted to order.
The Henry Jones Art Hotel, 25 Hunter Street, Hobart; (03) 6210 7700
Suzie Luck’s Canteen & Cocktail Bar
For something more casual, with flavours inspired by South-East Asia, Suzie Luck’s serves punchy drinks in a cool, vibrant space in Salamanca Square. Nab a seat at one of the tiled tables and fill up on bar snacks, such as Szechuan-spiced pork crackling, while sipping a mandarin daiquiri.
2 Salamanca Square, Hobart; (03) 6224 2554
A cold-climate wine champion, Institut Polaire is the picture of modern minimalism – all snowy marble and Arctic-white interiors. It’s also the HQ of Süd Polaire gin and Domaine Simha wine so booking a martini masterclass or a tasting with accompanying cheese is well worth your while.
1/7 Murray Street, Hobart; +614 32 925 895
Evolve Spirits Bar
For rare spirits served with a side of history, head to Evolve in the sleek harbourside MACq 01 Hotel. The drinks list showcases local distilleries alongside international heavy hitters, and the moodily-lit lounge is decked out with artefacts dating back 550 million years – including a triceratops nose horn and megalodon fossils.
MACq 01 Hotel, 18 Hunter Street, Hobart; (03) 6210 7656
Lark Distillery Cellar Door
Widely credited as “the godfather of the Tasmanian whisky industry”, Bill Lark was issued with a licence to distil spirits in the Apple Isle in 1992 – the first since the 1830s. Fast-forward three decades and this waterfront bar boasts more than 250 premium whiskies, plus local craft beer, wine and cider.
14 Davey Street, Hobart; (03) 6231 9088
The Glass House
The most chichi address in Hobart, The Glass House is a glowing apparition that juts over the water atop an innovative four-storey floating pier. At this no-expense-spared bar, the drinks list runs to some serious saké action (the perfect match for chef Sam Gasson’s Japanese-inspired snacking menu), along with Tassie-centric wines and whisky and classic cocktails made with local spirits.
Brooke Street Pier, Hobart; (03) 6223 1032
Named in loose homage to a Led Zeppelin song (D’yer Mak’er), Dier Makr has a similarly rock’n’roll approach to the world of food and wine. It’s natural all the way, baby, with a killer roster of low-intervention, orange and road-less-travelled wines from all over the globe, backed by the smarts to really sell them. Add nicely crafted cocktails that speak to the seasons (warm your cockles with honey, Cynar liqueur and tequila) and snacks such as wallaby tail pie for a true bite of the Tassie terroir.
121-123 Collins Street, Hobart; (03) 6288 8910
Looking for fun in Hobart town? Head straight to this quirky heritage-listed cottage where a bus is parked in the courtyard (you know, for seating) and plenty of the action happens in an AstroTurf-ed courtyard with gas heaters (you know, for Hobart’s climate). The drinks, you ask? Oodles of craft beers, cider and cocktails (try the Miss Kinky: Boatrocker’s Miss Pinky wheat beer, Campari, lemon juice and mint).
5 Knopwood Street, Hobart; (03) 6223 3621
Willing Bros. Wine Merchants
It’s a wine bar with enough edge to make the inhabitants of North Hobart feel smug, with a bit of nicely adjudicated roughness (exposed red brick; bare globes hanging artistically above the bar) and a personality-full cast of French, Spanish and Italian wines in the cellar mixing it with the locals. Menu-wise, the Mediterranean-leaning food (truffled tortilla; marinated chicken skewers with yoghurt, pepitas and currants) answers the vino’s call.
390 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart; (03) 6234 3053
Fico Bistro & Vino
Another forward-thinking restaurant making waves in Hobart’s happening food scene? Well, yes, but grab a seat at the bar for a night of food and wine snacking. It’s hotly contested real estate but worth the fight to sample your way through an Italian-loving wine list with the help of Bruny Island oysters, salumi, and rabbit and goose rillettes.
151 Macquarie Street, Hobart; (03) 6245 3391
So it’s at MONA, the sex and death-obsessed Museum of Old and New Art that put Hobart on the cultural map – which means you’ll need to pay to access the Void bar. But it’s worth it to sip cocktails three levels underground while marveling at the feat of engineering that carved the sheer rock walls. The drinks list is no slouch either, with global excitement ranging from the Scottish Monkey (whiskey, chartreuse and Oloroso with honey, lemon and herbs) to the Bangkok Glock (lemongrass and lime-infused tequila with Campari and vermouth).
MONA, 655 Main Road, Berriedale; (03) 6277 9900
The best bars in Launceston
Spanning cutting-edge drops from local producers, global award-winners and classic cocktails, the drinks list at this cosy bar and wine shop is complemented by a concise menu of pasta, cheese and charcuterie. Stop by on Cellar Door Sundays to taste wines from in-house label Two Tonne Tasmania.
178 Charles Street, Launceston; +614 93 136 003
Enjoy a G&T spiked with Tasmanian pepperberry or a house-infused citrus seltzer among Launceston’s locals at popular Geronimo’s, which wards off hunger in style with Euro-inspired, aperitif-friendly share plates. There’s also an extensive wine list, plenty of non-alcoholic options and a bottle shop on site.
186 Charles Street, Launceston; (03) 6331 3652
This hole-in-the-wall bar may be small but the wine list is far from diminutive. In fact, there are more than 50 pinot noirs alone and all are exclusively Tasmanian. Food is also regionally focused: think freshly shucked oysters from the state’s east coast, double brie produced in nearby Invermay and quince paste made with local bush foods.
Ground Floor, 47a Brisbane Street, Launceston; +614 05 323 125
Rupert & Hound
Seafood institution Rupert & Hound is a favourite for long lunches by the water but don’t skip the well-stocked bar, where the friendly team will whip you up a mean mimosa or bloody Mary. Also on offer: house beers Hound Dog Lager and Rupert’s Raspberry Sour.
30 Seaport Boulevard, Launceston; (03) 6331 7197
St John Craft Beer Bar
This one takes the mantle of the craft-beer epicenter of Tasmania’s north and you’ll find plenty of good times here with up to 14 taps of local, Australian and international craft beer at any one time, 170-plus bottled beers and a whole bunch of ciders, wines and artisan spirits.
133 St John Street, Launceston; (03) 6333 0340
American soul meets southern barbecue… Bakers Lane is usually cited as Launceston’s hottest hangout with the coolest drinks. After getting your fill of seafood gumbo and collard greens in the restaurant, hit the bar for a Hot Choc Mint (dark crème de menthe hot chocolate) or a Lemony Snicket (lemon myrtle vodka, La Poire Grey Goose, Limoncello, fresh lemon).
81 York Street, Launceston; (03) 6334 2414
1830 Restaurant & Bar
The drinks offering at 1830, set on the Port Arthur Historic Site, is mostly sourced from Tasmanian distilleries and vineyards. Enjoy a glass of Tasman Peninsula sparkling while taking in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed convict site or, if you’re feeling brave, pair drinks and dinner with a lantern-lit ghost tour.
Port Arthur Historic Site, 6973 Arthur Highway, Port Arthur; 1800 659 101
Hazards Bar & Lounge
Overlooking pink granite mountains and pristine Coles Bay, Hazards – open to guests and visitors of Freycinet Lodge – can’t be beaten for bird’s-eye views. The open fire, vaulted ceilings and plush couches make the lounge an ideal spot to unwind with a Smokey Old Fashioned after a day of exploring.
Freycinet Lodge, Freycinet National Park, Coles Bay; (03) 6256 7222
Empress Craft Beer
Get your craft-beer fix at Empress, a low-key bar and bottle shop in Devonport. With 14 ever-changing taps, a selection of tinnies from local breweries, small-batch spirits and a seasonal cocktail menu, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Shop 2, 48-54 Oldaker Street, Devonport; (03) 6423 3648
The Kentish Tasmania
This Colonial country pub in the Southern Midlands town of Oatlands has undergone a fashionable food-loving makeover. About an hour’s drive from Hobart, the shiplap U-shaped bar is just the spot for a Willie Smith’s Organic Apple Cider and homemade pie.
60 High Street, Oatlands; (03) 6254 1119
Two Meter Tall
Get your craft ale and cider fix 40 minutes’ drive from Hobart at Two Meter Tall’s Farm Bar. It’s true farmhouse brewing, using local river water, grain and hops grown on the River Derwent-hugging farm and natural fermentation processes. Truly funkadelic – plus there’s a barbecue you’re welcome to fire up (BYO picnic).
2862 Lyell Highway, Hayes; 0400 969 677
Image credits: Adam Gibson (Jesse Hunniford); Alastair Bett (Suzie Luck's); Adam Gibson (Evolve); Lusy Productions (Geronimo); Adam Gibson (1830); RACT Destinations (Hazards).