Pitcher Perfect: The Best Bars in Cairns for Wine & Cocktails
Searching for the best bars Cairns has on the radar to make your tropical vacay a total hit? You’ll find them here at Sitchu.
Sun-kissed days to balmy nights, when it comes to bar hangouts in the tropics, Cairns has much to boast about. So, whether you choose to sit back with a pina colada in hand and sand between your toes, or chill out on lounges in speakeasy bars, the scene here has holiday vibes going year-round.
We’ve tasted our way around the best bars Cairns has to offer along the Esplanade, the Marina and within the central city district, so we’ve covered all the bases for your next tropical trip.
Cairns is one of our favourite places to spend a week in the sunshine, and has plenty on the radar for foodies, too! We think it’s high time you booked a getaway to explore this tropical corner of Queensland.
Looking for gourmet food, good vibes, live music and sport? You’ll find it all and more at Boardwalk Social! This market-style precinct serves tasty sourdough pizzas, bountiful salads, tacos, burgers and sides, with over 80% of the produce being locally sourced. Pop by for lunch, late dinner or some cocktails and enjoy the energy of one of the best bars in Cairns.
Ground floor, 85 Esplanade, Cairns
A vibrant and tropical rum bar and seafood kitchen has landed at Crystalbrook Riley. Inspired by the romantic notion of lounging by the coast with a pina colada in hand, Calypso Club seeks to blend elegance with playfulness at this gorgeous destination on the Esplanade. Their unique cocktails are inspired by the Far North sugar cane history, made with fresh and seasonal tropical fruit along with local and international rums. The vibes at Calypso Club are always just right, with a curated music program to set the mood.
Ground Floor, Tower, 131-141 Esplanade, Cairns
MOKU beach club is in permanent vacay mode! Visit this tropical sanctuary for some serious sassy cocktails and endless good vibes. MOKU offers Cairns’ only swim-up bar, so it’s a must-do on your next trip to Tropical North Queensland. Nibble on some island-inspired share plates in a cabana by the pool as you unwind.
Sitchu Tip: As the pool is part of the Novotel, you’ll have to grab a day pass on your way past reception, but if you want to stay dry, you can visit the Terrace Bar for free and enjoy an equally bountiful selection!
Novotel Oasis, 122 Lake Street, Cairns City
Inside the Hilton, Gin Social delivers an extensive menu of the good stuff. We are talking over 40 of the best gins, the world over. If gin doesn’t take your fancy, they also have a decent selection of rum, bourbon, whiskey and tequila. Clean tropical décor makes this the perfect hang, post-beach hop. And let that air-con take you places while you sip on some rather aesthetically pleasing alcoholic creations.
34 Esplanade, Cairns
Candlelit and cosy, this ambient bar boasts quirky furnishings and DIY grazing boards. Just what you need after a long day in the tropical sun. You’re utterly spoiled for choice at this award-winning bar in Cairns, with wine lists showcasing regions around the world. With live music on Friday and Saturday nights in the courtyard, you will be hard-pressed to find a friendlier service.
12/14 Lake Street, Cairns
Ideally positioned on the Cairns Marina, Salt House provides A-class views of the mountain-fringed inlet. The bar itself is equally easy on the eye with day beds galore, palm fronds and cool ponds to dip your feet in. The cocktail menu truly shines here, we recommend trying Tomorrow's Dust, comprised of Shirl the Pearl cumquat gin, Aperol, apricot, lime, hand-squeezed orange, whites and lemon bitters, for the ultimate tropical cocktail to get your holiday started.
6/2 Pier Point Road, Cairns
Tucked away down an alleyway, Three Wolves is a speakeasy bar that takes its spirits very seriously and is well-known as one of the best bars in Cairns. Aside from their extensive cocktails, wine and beer offerings, they have dedicated menus for vodka, gin, tequila, rum and whisky. There’s no doubt that they will have your favourite tipple on hand. For those who want something spesh, select a barrel-aged negroni.
32 Abbott Street, Cairns City
No comprehensive list of Cairns’ watering holes is complete without Hemingway’s. Why? Because they have a 19-metre bar and 20 beers on tap (with at least half being the brewery’s own creations). Add the modern interiors of black and wood accents and dazzling waterside views to the mix, and you’re set for a chilled-out evening. Order yourself a drink and a pizza and kick back to soak up the serenity.
Wharf Street, Cairns City
Hands down, Rocco has the best (and most extensive) Champagne menu in Cairns, and if that’s not enough, the rooftop location offers up sweeping views of the city and the Coral Sea. The ambient bar also has a selection of Mediterranean bites to feast on, complemented by a decent lineup of aromatic cocktails. Our favourite cocktail is the Chamomile High Club, which harmonises Absolut Vodka, elderflower liqueur, homemade chamomile syrup and hints of passionfruit, and is layered with a vegan chamomile-infused foam. We will take one for each hand.
Crystalbrook Riley, 131-141 The Esplanade, Cairns
Kewarra Beach Shack Bar
A short twenty-minute drive from Cairns and you could be sipping away on a pina colada with sand between your toes. Literally. On a private stretch of sand directly in front of the Kewarra Beach Resort, the Kewarra Beach Shack Bar is what holiday dreams are made of. Open seasonally, there are no extravagant cocktails here, just plenty of pina coladas to go around. Check the bar’s socials for any fun themes, we hear the woodfired pizza night is the place to be.
80 Kewarra Street, Kewarra Beach
The Pier Bar
If you’re searching for sunshine, snacks and casual cocktails, the Pier Bar is the place! Serving up classic cocktails as well as in-house creations, this Cairns bar also pours from an extensive wine and beer menu. There’s an accompanying dish for any appetite, just in case you need some bites to balance out the beverages.
The Pier Shopping Centre, 1 Pierpoint Road, Cairns
Miss Chief Bar & Eatery
Secreted away upstairs, perched above the hustle and bustle, lies Miss Chief Bar & Eatery, just waiting for you to find her! This lush tropical bar blends delicious cocktails with more-ish share plates, making it the perfect stopover between shopping and socialising on your next night out in Cairns. It might just be time you visit Miss Chief and discover what makes this cosy spot one of the best bars in Cairns.
Level One, 39-49 Lake Street, Cairns
Do poolside cocktails take your fancy? We’d expect so, as they certainly took ours! Paper Crane is Crystalbrook Riley’s signature bar by their pool, and the perfect palace to sip champagne or cocktails in the sunshine with the relaxed ambience of their tropical pool area. This bar and restaurant is located on the Esplanade, so it’s perfect for staring out over the Coral Sea, or for people watching and doggo-spotting as the afternoon rolls on by.
Crystalbrook Riley, 131-141 The Esplanade, Cairns
Wolf Lane Distillery
Known for their famous Three Wolves Bar, the team turned their hand to distilling their own gin, with fabulous results! Toddle a little further down the laneway from the Three Wolves, and you’ll find yourself at Wolf Lane Distillery, where you can sip on each of the gins created right here in Cairns. You can opt for a special tasting board, or simply just select a refreshing cocktail or G&T to unwind in this bright and light bar in Cairns. You’ll notice unique, local flavours from the region in these tropical gins, it’s an experience not soon to be forgotten!
28-30 Abbott Street, Cairns