In Food + Drink

Drink Different: The Explosion Of Adelaide Small Bars

Wine may be Adelaide's drink of choice, but a slew of small bars specialising in crafty cocktails is proving to be a worthy contender. Here are the pint-sized places you need to know.

Adelaide has always done wine well. But the recent explosion of Adelaide small bars has put local craft spirits and beers into the spotlight alongside the traditional vinaceous offerings.

Previously unused, small spaces are increasingly becoming home to some of the city’s best bars – more than 70 pocket-sized places have popped up since 2013, with more to come.

Duck into a random laneway and you’re likely to uncover a slew of small bars peppered around the city. The sheer volume of bars mean that just about every taste is catered for, ensuring you can sip a knock-off beer or weekend cocktail with less crowds and more charm.


Adelaide small bars, BRKLYN

The seating section of BRKLYN. Photo: BRKLYN

Open just shy of a year, BRKLYN brings us a little slice of the big apple. Gritty, edgy and mysterious, it channels the vibe of the New York borough with mellow beats and cocktail-savvy bar staff.

Sandwiched between a barber and a deli, you can team your afterwork whisky sour with a trim from one of the experienced barbers. Chase it with a pastrami-loaded Reuben sandwich or lobster roll, both served with crisps and dill pickles.

It’s the perfect spot to start a night out; casual and effortlessly cool. Just follow the circle ‘BRKLN’ neon sign.

260a Rundle Street, Adelaide

Proof Bar

Proof Bar in Adelaide, Adelaide small bars

Proof Bar in Adelaide. Photo: Facebook

Proof is surprisingly unassuming; with tall windows and earthy green exterior, it’s easy to miss despite enjoying a reputation as one of the city’s most popular rooftop bars.

Inside, the space is cosy and comfortable, with friendly staff to talk through the dozens of boutique liquor bottles along the barricade of the back wall. Upstairs, fairy lights illuminate a secretive outdoor nook.

Proof’s Manager, Shane Ettridge, says that the space aims to bridge his love of drinks and design.

“We put a lot of work into the creation of cocktails, the execution of classics and the research that goes into our wine list. Wine-wise, it’s a mix of local, Australian and international drops. We’re always looking for something new and delicious, that speaks of the region it’s from,” Ettridge says.

Highlights of the impressive menu include Moonlight Flat oysters, mushroom ragu and taleggio toasties and duck crepes.

9a Anster Street, Adelaide

Cantina Sociale

Adelaide small bars

Wines by the barrel at Cantina Sociale. Photo: Cantina Sociale

Being stationed amid some of the nation’s best wine regions certainly has its perks. Cantina Sociale takes full advantage of them, stacking wine barrels filled with local juice to form a bar feature that doubles as a wine list.

Langhorne Creek, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale are all represented, alongside a short by-the-bottle list and select cocktails. Wine-friendly fare runs Euro-style, with CUCA preserved seafood, pate with brioche, duck rillettes with baguette, cheese and charcuterie platters.

108 Sturt Street, Adelaide

Mr Goodbar

Adelaide's own Red Hen Gin on pour at Mr Goodbar, Adelaide small bars

Adelaide’s own Red Hen Gin on pour at Mr Goodbar. Photo: Facebook

Take an aperitif on the ground floor of this three-storey heritage-listed haunt. Specialising in cocktails and good times, Mr Goodbar has plenty of nooks and crannies to escape to with a strong drink.

Graze on charcuterie and cheese plate, or blue swimmer crab cakes and Jamaican beef patties for something more substantial. Swing by on a Friday afternoon for local wine tastings.

12 Union Street, Adelaide

Baddog Bar

To track down Baddog, a blues-style bar, look out from the ‘Beware of the Dog’ stamp on the pavement, just outside of the popular Peel and Leigh Street bar stretch.

Dark and atmospheric, Baddog’s industrial fitout regularly hosts live music acts. The drink selection is a point and ask situation, with a 120-strong bottle list dominated by gin and whisky.

63 Hyde Street, Adelaide

(Lead image: Proof Bar Adelaide. Photo: Facebook)

Published 22 August, 2017