Looking to sit back with a cold beer or a cocktail in the tropical heat of Queensland? Port Douglas has a number of pubs and bars for all occasions. If you’re on a budget, head to the local pub. Prefer a margarita with a view? Barbados might be for you. Check out our picks for the best bars in Port Douglas.
For a creative cocktail in the evening, head to Jimmy Rum’s on Macrossan Street. The vibe is tiki-meets-cigar lounge – sans cigars, of course. The venue is hidden in The Portico Building, so keep an eye out for a red light. Enjoy a creative cocktail from some of the finest bartenders in the region. Happy hour is from 5 to 7pm every night, where you can get a classic cocktail for around $12. The Jimmy Rum’s ‘manifesto’ explains the establishment’s goal: ‘To serve our valued patrons the most delicious drinks at the most reasonable prices in a world of vibrant tiles, exotic tunes and luxurious seating.’
If the name didn’t give it away, this bar is all about rum and Caribbean style. It has a number of signature cocktails, wine and beer to enjoy as you watch the sun set over the Coral Sea. The vibe is reminiscent of a yacht club, both sophisticated and relaxed. Barbados offers a great selection of charcuterie boards and share plates, as well as light meals such as fish tacos or salt and pepper squid. This is definitely a bar to visit during daylight hours to take in the beauty of your surrounds.
Hemingway’s brewery is the perfect venue for an afternoon drink. Located in the Port Douglas marina, this pub is great for a sunny, social beverage. Craft beer aficionados will relish the opportunity to taste a local Queensland brew in the form of Hemingway’s Pale Ale, Lager, Dark Ale, Pilsner or Small Ale (lower alcohol content). In terms of food, you can get burgers, tacos, pizza, salads and fish, chicken or beef cuts for mains. For entrees or share plates, try the chicken wings or chilli cheese sweet potato wedges. There’s also occasional live music and discounted members deals, as well as a second location in Cairns, alongside the actual Hemingway’s microbrewery.
For a fab night on the town, try Estilo at the QT Hotel Port Douglas. This popular designer bar is the perfect place to have a special occasion drink, but consider booking ahead if you’re in a group. If you want to grab a bite, the food on the menu is sourced locally, from the nearby Atherton Tablelands.
On the opposite end of town – literally, at the southern end of the Four Mile Beach – is The Beach Shack. Part bar, part restaurant, the Beach Shack offers fun and friendly casual dining in Port Douglas. While you can get ‘pub grub’ like fish and chips, a steak or chicken parmigiana, most come here for the pizza. The fusion-style pizzas come in flavours like The Mexican (Ground beef, beans, onion, jalapeños, chipotle sour cream and coriander), Casablanca (Slow braised lamb shoulder, onion, lemon, mint yoghurt and Macadamaia nut dukkah) and The Shack Special (Mushroom, prosciutto, goat’s cheese, tomato and basil). Vegetarians will like the roasted pumpkin pizza with pesto, rocket, cherry tomatoes and feta.
As the oldest pub in Port Douglas, this gorgeous refurbished court house is a sight in itself, with remnants of early colonial design like a beautiful wrap-around balcony. The Court House Hotel has a beer garden and rooftop bar, so there’s plenty of space to enjoy. The drinks menu proves the pub is welcoming to families, offering tea, coffee, juices and milkshakes for those not wanting or able to sip something alcoholic. The food menu offers burgers, sandwiches, as well as fresh seafood and a grill menu. You might have a harder time if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, as there are only a few options. The ‘Courty’ also has a sports bar where you can take in a game of NRL or AFL football.
‘The Yachty’, as it’s known to locals, is a great spot for lunch or dinner. Admire the ocean views over Dickson Inlet while eating a burger or sitting back with a glass of wine or beer. While a lovely spot, the yacht club isn’t known to attract young party-goers, and is better suited to quieter types and families. Having said that, it does host the occasional live music night or full moon party. If you’re travelling on a budget, go to the club on a Wednesday where, in the afternoon, yacht club members offer free sailing trips to members of the public. You must be at least 18 years old to participate.
The Tin Shed is a community-style pub, that is perfect for locals and strangers up for a good yarn and a unique insight into Port Douglas history. Also known as The Combined Club, The Tin Shed offers live music, raffles, and the occasional community activity. They have 16 delicious beers and ciders on tap, as well as a further drinks menu, providing ample variety to patrons. In true RSL-club style, members must adhere to a strict dress code that doesn’t include singlets, tank tops, swim-wear or gym-wear. Apparently shorts and thongs are fine.
The rusty corrugated iron exterior offers a good clue as to what’s inside IronBar. The decor pays homage to the Australian outback. Despite offering a decent family feed, IronBar turns into a party later at night. You might enjoy cane toad racing, followed by a steak, and then a spot of dancing until 3.30 in the morning.
If you want a hearty meal and great service, Salsa Bar and Grill has you covered. For an upmarket version of a steakhouse, the food at Salsa’s is quite experimental. There is even coral trout on the kids’ menu. The lunch and dinner menus are a patchwork of cuisines – from creole Jambalaya to slow roasted duck – but if you’re stuck, you can’t go wrong with a juicy beef fillet or pasta. Even more varied is Salsa’s drinks menu, with a huge range of cocktails and wines from regions across the continent. Salsa’s is also available for wedding receptions.