Those of you that know me well know that I love a drink or two! What you may not know is my travel niche is writing about where to have the BEST beer, spirit or wine experience. So, it will come as no surprise that I am writing about the Top 3 Bars in Cairns.

Three Wolves
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Cairns is best known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and Fitzroy Island. But Cairns in far north Queensland is also renowned for its waterfront bars and restaurants and emerging boutique breweries and distilleries. Macalister Brewing Company in Smithfield’s industrial precinct and Mt Uncle Distillery between Mareeba and Atherton are popular destinations. 

Crystalbrook Collection Hotels Cairns
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Crystalbrook Collection Hotels and Resorts

Cairns has become one of the fastest-growing destinations in Australia. Tourism and construction is booming and soon there will be three five-star Crystalbrook Collection Hotels and resorts in the centre of Cairns. The Riley, Bailey and Flynn are said to be like siblings, each is unique with its own personality but share many similarities.

Ghassan Aboud Group lead by Ghassan Aboud, billionaire businessman and philanthropist has created over 3,000 jobs, 800+ luxury hotel rooms and suites plus injected close on $1 billion into the Cairns local economy.

Cairns may not see the same amount of foot traffic as Sydney or Melbourne, but this regional city has a lot to offer visitors. But I am here to tell you where to find the best bars and cocktails in one of Australia’s best cities. Any one of these Cairns bars will be the perfect location to toast your vacation.

Crystalbrook Collection Hotels Cairns
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Crystalbrook Collection Hotels Cairns
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Three Wolves

It’s easy to miss the entrance to this happening Cairns laneway bar and restaurant. Three Wolves is hidden down Red Brick Laneway off Abbott Street in the centre of Cairns CBD. I was introduced to Three Wolves through their Whiskey Masterclass with Mark Hickey, an award-winning whiskey brand ambassador. Mark travels the world sharing his love of whisky production and of course whiskies.

Learning about whiskey making these days has never been easier. There is nothing quite like relaxing over some fine whiskies in a cosy bar with friends and strangers. Classes are geared around people who are interested in learning more about barley, distillation, barrels and sampling some fine quality whiskies. Three Wolves not only specialise in whiskies, they carry a large selection of beers, craft spirits, delectable cocktails and share boards and tapas style plates.

Wolf Lane Distillery

Behind closed doors, opposite Three Wolves, a new venture is humming away in an old 1900’s horse stable. Darren Barber, part owner of Three Wolves, Flamingos Tiki Bar and Gin Social as well as New South Wales Bay Rd Brewery will open Wolf Lane Distillery in 2019, the first Cairns city Gin distillery.

This working distillery and retail space will allow visitors the opportunity to enjoy a tasting or take a bottle home to share with family and friends. With the abundance of botanicals available from the region, this tropical spirit makes Wolf Lane Gin, unique from other Australian craft gins.

Red Brick Laneway may soon welcome a name change to “Wolf Lane” in honour of both businesses.

Address: 32 Abbott St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

Whiskey Masterclass Cairns
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Flamingos Tiki Bar

Tiki Bars have been popping up all over the world, since 1933 when Texan, Ernest Gantt better known as ‘Don the Beachcomber’ created the first Polynesian tropical-style rum bar in Hollywood. Just like Don the Beachcomber, Andrew and four good friends have created a tropical classic tiki bar serving a wide variety of exotic rum drinks and rum cocktails.

Hidden below street level on Cairns busiest street you find Flamingos Tiki Bar. This small bar offers plenty of natural light enhancing the colourful Polynesian hula girl wallpaper and tropical prints that adorn the walls. There is just a hint of kitsch with a combination of modern primitivism and piped music captures the vibe. Flamingos is the perfect place to escape and try some of Australia’s award-winning rums or sip a Flamingos original cocktail.

Rum Masterclass

Flamingos runs Tiki cocktail Masterclasses for groups of six or more for those looking to improve their cocktail making skills while learning more about Tiki Culture. The bar is open Tuesday to Sunday from 4pm to late.

Address: 43 The Esplanade, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

Gin Social

The world has gone mad over gin! This trendy drink is globally celebrated each year on World Gin Day. Like the rest of the world, Australia’s gin distillery industry is flourishing with new distilleries and brands launched each year.

To celebrate the humble juniper berry and other amazing gins and gin cocktails head to Gin Social and experience a sense of luxury at Hilton Hotel Cairns, located on Cairns Esplanade.

Gin Social also has a large wine, beer and spirits selection for those who wish to indulge in something other than gin.

Boasting absolute waterfront, Gin Social is a beautiful location and great venue for any size celebration. Just 2 minutes’ walk from the Reef Fleet Terminal and a 5-minute walk to Cairns CBD and Convention Centre.

Following a busy day of sight-seeing, enjoy a relaxing curated cocktail at Gin Social and take in the spectacular Cairns water views and tropical climate.

Address: 34 The Esplanade, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

The Botanist at Gin Social Cairns
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