Our Favourite Whisky Bars Across Australia
Looking for somewhere to whet your whisky-loving whistle? No matter where you are based in Australia or where you are travelling to, the Archie Rose team has got you with a comprehensive list of our all-time favourite whisky joints promising a bonafide good time, great vibes, and of course a brilliant selection of homegrown and international whiskies for you to indulge in. Bon Appétit!
NEW SOUTH WALES
Archie Rose Bar & Cellar Door Topping the list of bar recommendations in NSW, how could we forget our very own home in Sydney? Located in Rosebery, mere kilometres from the Sydney CBD, the Archie Rose Bar showcases the full Archie Rose spirits range, including a number of unreleased products, whilst also offering an interesting selection of local craft beers, award-winning biodynamic wines and food by local producers. Oh, and did we mention we offer a range of masterclasses suited to every interest and taste bud? The bar really is the perfect place to pull up a stool, settle in and enjoy great drinks with even better company.
The Baxter Inn If you’ve ever wandered into the courtyard at 152 Clarence Street, you’ve probably noticed the flurry of people heading through the mysterious white door. Those in the know (which, let’s be honest, is most of Sydney) will have fond, and maybe fuzzy, memories of the hundreds of whiskies stacked from floor to ceiling that seem to go on forever, of the soft hum of blues that carry through the venue or of the knowledgeable, friendly and passionate bartenders that make you feel right at home in this den of malted delights.
Shady Pines Saloon Have you ever wished you were John Wayne, swinging through those saloon doors and having a shot of whisky slid down the bar to you? Well, head down to Sydney’s very own Shady Pines Saloon to have all your dreams come true. With American drams including everything from Jim Beam to Pappy Van Winkle, walls adorned with taxidermy and U.S memorabilia, together with live country music bands playing every Sunday, you’ll feel like an extra in a western movie!
NOLA NOLA in Barangaroo, which takes its name from the colloquial term for New Orleans, Louisiana, is a bar & restaurant featuring elevated creole cuisine with southern BBQ and the largest collection of American Whisk(e)y in Australia and, perhaps even the Southern Hemisphere. If you’re on the hunt for something rare and obscure, chances are you’ll find it here. Even the elusive Pappy Van Winkle.
The Duke of Clarence Heaps of Irish whisk(e)y, along with other whiskies from around the world; go here if you want a boilermaker with a hand-pumped real ale and a nice English meal (whether that’s the Sunday roast or a curry dinner). They’ve ripped up an actual pub from England, shipped all the bits over, and reassembled it. It’s also owned by the people who’ve just started Hickson House Distilling Co., so they’ve got some tasty whisky in the works that’ll be up on their back bar in a couple of years.
Jolene’s One of the newest bars on the scene, this is the place to go for American whisk(e)y and live music (they play both kinds, country and western!). Good music, great food, and bangin’ drinks are guaranteed.
Tokyo Bird Sydney’s number one Japanese whisky bar; A huge selection of both well-known and hard-to-find whiskies, is stuck right on top of a kitchen pumping out awesome Asian food (try the chicken hearts and chicken skin skewers!).
Banchō This hidden gem has a massive selection of Japanese whiskies to try. If you’re a big spender, this is the place to go - you’ll have the option to purchase a whole bottle of whisky, and they’ll store it for you in one of their glass VIP lockers for you to drink at your leisure whenever you decide to drop in with friends.
Howling Wolf If you live down south, not to worry, Wollongong has its own source of beer and spirits for the locals to get their fix. Check it out for a great time with tasty food, a solid selection of booze, and banging tunes.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Molly Head down to Canberra’s CBD, down Odgers Lane and look for the wooden door. You’ll hear the soft staccato of live jazz lifting you up the stairs and into Molly. Taking its name from the Molly Pitcher Club that campaigned for the repeal of Prohibition, the vibe inside takes you back to that time - close your eyes and you can almost see the mobsters and flapper girls in this true prohibition-style speakeasy with an impressive whisky selection from around the world, live jazz and superior service!
Volstead Repeal Following the trend of speakeasy whisky bars, Canberra’s Volstead Repeal is tucked away off of Mort Street in Braddon. Named after the repeal of The Volstead Act in prohibition-era America, allowing the consumption and enjoyment of hard liquor once again! Volstead repeal offers an impressive selection of whisky from around the world, with most of it being taken from the owner’s private collection.
Hippo Co A long-standing institution in Canberra, Hippo Co has been around for many years in different iterations but it currently stands as a whisky bar with close to 300 whiskies adorning its back bar. The team here host regular whisky masterclasses which are suitable for the most novice of whisky enthusiasts to the seasoned connoisseurs. Chill out on the balcony with a whisky flight and enjoy the live music.
Varnish on King Located in the heart of Perth’s CBD, Varnish on King is a hidden gem found in the basement of a heritage-listed building. With a formidable range of American and Canadian-style whiskies, mouth-watering cocktails and amazing food offerings from their kitchen, the venue proves itself to be one of the best in town. Stop by to try one of their signature whisky & bacon flights, or perhaps a nip of our recent Varnish On King x Archie Rose Single Cask Rye Malt collab release.
Bar Lafayette One of the oldest and best small bars in Perth, Bar Lafayette has a little something for everyone - but if single malt whisky is your thing then look no further. An amazing team of bartenders who know their stuff, coupled with one of the best lounges to enjoy a dram. As the SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Society) partner bar in WA, Lafayette boasts extremely rare independent bottlings, alongside their already well-stocked whisky list.
NOLA NOLA (no relations to NOLA in Sydney), is two levels of a whisky and beer lovers’ heaven. A seriously good list of Scotch, Bourbon and Rye whiskies from across the globe, paired with an equally fantastic list of local brews and glorious Southern-inspired cuisine ensures a good time to be had by all. A great spot to kick off your evening, or for a late-night bite to eat. If you’re lucky there might even be some of our NOLA x Archie Rose Single Cask Rye Malt left.
Bad Dog Bar This innocuous spot is beloved by all who’ve passed through her doors. No official opening hours add to the mystery and charm of this venue with the simple ethos of “If the light above the door is on, we’re open”. A minimal space, balanced by an eclectic American whisky selection, featuring releases from the well-known to the unknown. The main driving force behind the bar is the owner Zak, a true gentleman, who always has a smile on his face and a great story to tell. Amazing live blues, great beer and whisky served with a smile tick all the right boxes.
Whisky + Alement The stalwart of the Melbourne (or world) whisky tour; Brooke Hayman & Julian White established Melbourne’s first dedicated whisky bar in 2010. An impressive lineup of over 1200 well-curated whiskies on the back bar, cocktails, beers & a limited takeaway whisky offering. Their well-versed, friendly staff and whisky classes cater for everyone from the novice to pro imbiber.
The Elysian Whisky Bar Perched at the top end of Fitzroy’s famed Brunswick street, the Elysian boasts an intimate space set in the vein of Asia’s top metropolitan whisky establishments. An extensive back bar features your everyday staples but deep dives into some incredibly hard-to-get high-end independent bottlings. Cocktails here are on point, as are the jazzy tunes, bar snacks and take-away bottle selection.
Buck Mulligan’s Place for literature and a dram, Buck Mulligan’s has a great selection of Irish Whiskey with a dedicated local following. A great spot to meet some of Melbourne’s literary elites or find a cosy corner for a book and a dram.
Bad Frankie Whilst not flying the flag of a dedicated whisky bar; Fitzroy’s Bad Frankie carved out the niche of being the country’s first all-Australian spirits, wine & beer venue and has since gained a huge following. As a place for Australia’s craft distillers to call their own, they have an impressive range of local whiskies (and basically every other spirit produced here), served with a jaffle on the side, in a cozy neighbourhood setting.
Hats & Tatts Newly relocated to Russell Street Melbourne CBD, Hats & Tatts do great food, great bants, and great whisky! It’s a 5-star dive bar where you can get great cocktails and shots of whisky poured by surly bartenders. Make sure you eat the tater tots and mac & cheese waffles!
Boilermaker House Beer and whisky, what’s not to love?
Evolve Spirits Bar A stunning venue with a beautiful view and an intensive selection of whiskies old and rare. If a 42-year-old whisky or a bottle from the 1980s sounds like your thing, this is the place to visit. This is a destination for the discerning drinker or those who want to treat themselves to a little something extra.
Gold Bar One of Hobart’s most loved little hideaway bars. Showcasing a broad selection of Australian spirits, the team have managed to procure many of the lesser-seen bottlings from local distillers due to the bar’s fantastic reputation for supporting local producers. The bonus of being located just a stone’s throw from Sullivan’s Cove and Salamanca Wharf makes Gold Bar a must-visit.
The Gresham Bar An institutional venue in Brisbane’s CBD open from 7am-to 2am 6 days a week. Pop in for stellar service no matter the time of day! The cosy surrounds of this heritage-listed building contain a stunning fit-out including chesterfield couches, brass fittings, and historic picture frames. The backbar consists of a curated selection of spirits with a heavy focus on American Whisk(e)y and Scotch. With rotating beer taps and a tight ten-drink signature cocktail list they also have you covered for snacks with some of the best toasties going around!
Cobbler Whisky and Cocktail Bar The spiritual home of whisky in Brisbane. Opened in 2013, this bar provided the template for many of the most successful and popular bars around Brisbane today. Focusing on Scottish and Japanese Malts, they also have one of the largest Australian whisky collections in the city. A strong list of signature cocktails backs up their offering with snacks provided in the form of cheese and charcuterie. For those in the know, margarita Mondays are where it’s at! (think 15 delicious variations on the margarita for VERY friendly prices).
Savile Row One of the first venues to follow Cobbler’s blueprint, Savile Row has evolved into Fortitude Valley’s place to be! With DJs spinning decks late into the night on weekends, come in and ask the staff about their 1000+ strong collection on the back bar. A massive focus on Scotch is supported by a great curation of spirits from around the world. Head upstairs for the full table service experience and try something from their extensive collection of house cocktails. Once you settle into one of their booths, good luck getting out!
Death and Taxes This laneway hideaway can be found halfway up Burnett Lane in Queen Street Mall. Open from 3pm seven days, drop in after a busy day shopping and running around the city for a well-earned dram from their library of whisky. Whilst the booths in the back are great for a group, the best spot is definitely up at the bar where you can marvel at the towering wall of whisky in front of you. Ask the staff for a recommendation and they’re sure to bring down something special.
Smoke and Oak Darwin’s premier whisky establishment, the large portrait of everyone’s favourite ghostbuster Bill Murray welcomes you in. With a heavy focus on live blues and jazz, Whisky Wednesday is a must-do for anyone visiting the northern capital.
Hanky Panky Lounge A go-to hospo hideout, Hanky Panky is the brainchild of Anneliese Grazioli and David Robinson, both titans of the hospitality scene. A classy cocktail establishment serving up fresh oysters, and snacks, and boasting a formidable whisky collection. For those in the industry, the hospitality specials are legendary. Anneliese makes sure to give back to the tight-knit community that keeps the bars and restaurants of Darwin humming along.