Cocktails in Cairns
By Allie Winters
There is no better way to cool off on a hot Cairns summer night than with a chilled cocktail concoction or a beautiful brew. Cairns has a great nightlife, with plenty of places to drink and dance the night away. So pop on your best suit or dress because here is a guide to five of the best cocktail haunts in Cairns.
Lilo Wet Bar and Restaurant
If you think you’ll book a downtown Cairns hotel, Lilo is a good place to look for a great night out. The atmosphere is electric and the drinks are The main bar almost takes up the length of the room, and there is a huge deck with an accompanying swimming pool outside. For those who want a quiet time, a beautifully furnished lounge area serves as a place to chill out. Though all the beverage options are delightful, you can’t skip the classics at this classy establishment. Select a martini, caprioska or mojito and you want a perfect taste.
The Pier Bar
A chilled out, fun atmosphere and a killer location ranks this bar highly on the nightlife hot list. As well as having a killer cocktail menu and revolving list of bartenders’ specials, the Pier Bar is also the home of a string of stellar regular events. Monday offers the Killer Pool Competition, which kicks off at 8pm with no entry fee and a load of great prizes. If you’re in town on a Wednesday, you’re in for a treat with the weekly busker night — an awesome lineup of local music talent beginning at 8pm. Pier Pong Thursdays is also a fun time, with prizes including Reef Trips and bar tabs up for grabs. Best of all is the Sunday Session, which contains great cocktail specials and an exceptional lineup of live music acts topped off with the ever-present waterfront views and a dash of sunshine.
Blue Mango Cafe Wine Bar
Although the cocktail list is undeniably remarkable and the beer menu bountiful, it’s the wine list that astounds at Blue Mango. Sit back and sip on your choice of local or international semillon while you soak up the beauty of Trinity Bay. If you’re more about elegant tastes, start with a glass of the gorgeous Deakin Estate sparkling from Murray Darling in Victoria. For those with an appetite for something a bit stronger, you can’t ignore the pleasantly acidic Crabtree Watervale Clare Valley riesling. For those rouge drinkers amongst us, you can’t top a tipple of the Hamelin Bay Margaret River merlot.
Salt House Bar & Restaurant
Two bars for the price of one — plus an additional restaurant — Salt House Bar & Restaurant can only be described as cocktail city. The first of the two distinctive drinking places is the glamourous Sailing Bar, with its white decor and soft lantern lighting. This bar has a range of local and international beers and wines available by the bottle or the glass, and makes for a lovely place catch up with old friends. It also attracts some of the finest local and visiting musicians, who grace the stage for three nights per week. The second drinking space is the exotically decorated Deck bar, which features Balinese furnishings, day beds and an extensive cocktail list. To keep you entertained, top DJs spin tunes all night long.
The Vibe is good at this Cairns city cocktail hotspot, which also doubles as a casino and a nightclub. But be warned not to judge this book by its cover; though the place is quite unimpressive from the outside, looking like a small and slightly dowdy locals bar, once you pop through the doors it seems to go on for miles, with gambling rooms, function areas and smoker’s courts alongside a big main bar, large restaurant and huge atrium-style dance floor. If you’re in the mood for a bite or two, the place does fantastic bar food, including burgers and smoked salmon. The great air conditioning system makes it a good option for cooling off in the height of the Cairns summer.
Entertainment blogger Allie Winters is a North Tropical Queensland sommelier with a fondness for martinis.