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Canberra’s Best & Worst Bars

By Ingeegoodbee - 16 April 2008 142

So we’ve had the recent to-and-fro with respect to Canberra’s best and worst when it comes to buying a meal. So how about Canberra’s’ best and worst when it comes to knocking back a couple of stiff ones (and no, I’m not talking about the loo’s at Black Mountain Peninsula).

Where, what and who are the wine bars, pubs, clubs, den’s of iniquity, salubrious establishments and cafes and restaurants that pay mere lip-service to the idea of food yet offer liquid sustenance non-the-less that keep the wheels of this fine city well lubricated.

It’s horses for courses of course – apples ain’t oranges after all – so the extensive list of wines by the glass and a limitless conga-line of tipsy office girls mightn’t always stack up against hard liquor, easy cocaine and a broad selection of rent-boys after 4.00am!

Disclaimer: those nominating quiet enjoyment of expertly crafted home brew on the back verandah (or anything similar) should be prepared to let other RAers judge for themselves by providing an address…

What’s Your opinion?

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142 Responses to
Canberra’s Best & Worst Bars
Ingeegoodbee 12:06 pm 16 Apr 08

Tulip Lounge for smart cocktails, Filthy’s for hard drinking, that front bar at the Mawson Club for casual Sunday arvo beers, Debarcle for a beer and somthing to eat.

What I want to know is where are the manky places with sticky floors and bar-flys that we used to have years ago – like that dive that was underground in the plaza at Woden, the underground cess-pit in Civic that was open ’till dawn – near Happys – was it called the Subway? and the Stockade in Braddon …

Thumper 12:03 pm 16 Apr 08

Yeah, Kurrajong was nice, especially in spring…

stereo henry 11:48 am 16 Apr 08

Parlour, which is owned by the Knightsbridge mob, that has just opened in the bottom of the New Acton complex on Edinbrugh Ave has a good vibe and serves tapas until 2.00am – and I here I was thinking you’d never be able to get a meal after 9.00pm in Canberra 🙂

Stainless Steel Rat 11:43 am 16 Apr 08

Duke said :

Hey what’s the deal with these trendy wannabe bars like Trinity giving you little silver dishes with your change? I must have over 100 of them at home – 5 ashtrays for every room. I’ve started giving them back and say nah mate, i’ve got enough of these things already, and they just give me this weird look – wassup with that???

No idea Duke,

I must say I got amusement out of going into Trinity on a Friday night at 9pm wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt though. Kinda why I give them the thumbs up, they didn’t care I wasn’t quite so trendy, and still gave great service!

VicePope 11:35 am 16 Apr 08

Wig and Pen. Creative beer in a (mostly) quiet place. Limited menu of stuff suitable for consumption with beer – it could do with an update. No pokies. No music. No TV. Friendly staff.

Oh, and I dropped into Mooseheads recently during the day because someone suggested we meet there. Not bad at all, and I might go back for lunch sometime. If there was a curse on the place, it may have dissipated. It’s still noisy when I go past on nights late in the week, but the crowd then would average but a small fraction of my vast age and probably appreciate such things.

What this town needs is something like Madam FlingFlong’s in Newtown (Sydney, not any of the others). Quiet, ambient music, temperature cool, comfortable lounge chairs, somewhat decadent deco.

Heavs 11:19 am 16 Apr 08

Edgars is pretty top notch.

Worst would have to be All Bar – Hero Heaven is what we call it now. I hope Edgars never goes that way – I remember when Allbar used to be a good little place for a drink, now I refuse to step in the door.

neanderthalsis 11:15 am 16 Apr 08

Regular drinking hole was the Kurrajong on a friday afternoon but they have been in freefall in terms of quality and price for a few months. Most of the former staff have left, even the regular the band seems to be avoiding the place. We migrated to Das Kapital at Narrabundah reasonably priced drinks, good tapas and nice atmosphere.

Duke 11:09 am 16 Apr 08

Hey what’s the deal with these trendy wannabe bars like Trinity giving you little silver dishes with your change? I must have over 100 of them at home – 5 ashtrays for every room. I’ve started giving them back and say nah mate, i’ve got enough of these things already, and they just give me this weird look – wassup with that???

Thumper 11:08 am 16 Apr 08

Durham Arms, Pot Belly….

Mælinar 10:58 am 16 Apr 08

Filthy McFaddens. Still not cleaned since it opened, stinks of old spew and spilt beer, like a pub should.

Has more whiskey and scotch labels than you can point a stick at, and the Guinness is kept fresh by the incumbents. They also stock cider on tap if you have a deathwish.

It now comes with more tradition, since they cleaned up some of the other crappy old bars around the place, and got more modern. Last time I was in the Phoenix I could actually see from one end of the bar to the other, which was a first for me – I think they may have changed some old blown lightbulbs.

Stainless Steel Rat 10:58 am 16 Apr 08

Dropped by the Trinity Bar in Tuggeranong a few weeks ago. Good cocktails, Beez Kneez on tap and really friendly staff. They had a DJ playing music and volume was good, you could still hear people talking.

dr. faustus 10:47 am 16 Apr 08


No, seriously. It’s more fun than a trip to the zoo (although with a slightly higher risk of some ape throwing faeces at you). Just remember to wear your stab-proof vest and thoroughly disinfect afterwards.

More seriously, as for bars, Julip Lounge in Manuka is a great spot for cocktails, if a little pricey. It’s the sort of place that Canberra has something of a shortage of.

My favourite bar/pub in Canberra is my local, but I’m not going to mention it, because I don’t want you bastards ruining it for me! 🙂

Duke 10:42 am 16 Apr 08

Oh and i’ve yet to find a single decent place to drink in Tuggeranong.

wagons 10:41 am 16 Apr 08

Knightsbridge, Trinity, George Harcourt’s Inn, Edgars, Kremlin, Hippo Bar – the only places to go really for the over 30s…I used to love all bar nun, but with the renovations it has lost all soul.

Duke 10:37 am 16 Apr 08

My local has become Soul Bar in Woden – good atmosphere, good clientele and miles ahead of anything else in the area (which is mostly clubs).

That Russian bar on Northbourne, Kremlin I think, is also a nice place as is Banara 1 if you’re in a more yuppie mood. Wig & Pen in Civic for quality beers and Phoenix Bar if you want a place to hide.

Places to avoid, oh where does one start? Any place with ‘Jack Lives Here’ signs on the windows, any place that holds more than 100 people, any place with drink specials, any place where groups of sporting teams drink.

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