With over 300 days of sunshine annually, Townsville fortunately has plenty of bars where you can quench your thirst after a long day of exploring the tropical city. From rooftop havens to local hangouts, here are the 10 best bars to visit in Townsville.
Hooch & Fellow opened in 2016 and is the only regional bar to specialise in full table service. In its first year, it became the most nominated regional bar at The Australian Bartender Magazine Awards, with four nominations. The cosy cocktail bar brings a little bit of cosmopolitan Melbourne to the tropics. It has a rotating list of four to five cocktails, which changes depending on the freshest ingredients available. Owner Josh Agostino says that from “handmade syrups and purees, hand-cut ice to frozen cocktail glassware, everything is thought out when it comes to drinks and we don’t compromise on that.”
Rambutan has it all. It’s a hostel and hotel, as well as a rooftop bar and restaurant. The bar is open daily from midday until late, so it’s the perfect place for pre-drinks as it’s located in the heart of Townsville’s nightlife district. The bar at Rambutan is stocked with local and imported beers and wines, and a classic cocktails list. There’s live music on Friday nights, as well as DJs and live entertainment poolside at its popular Sunday sessions.
Shorehouse is one of the newest additions to The Strand. The covered deck, with its relaxed furnishings, catches the sea breeze and has views across the water to Magnetic Island. The architecturally-unique Shorehouse resembles a casual beach house, with its upcycled timber roof and white accents. The drinks menu complements the modern Asian dishes served at Shorehouse. There are craft beers on tap as well as an extensive cocktail and wine list.
The Ville Resort-Casino is currently undergoing a $42 million redevelopment in stages. The first stage included the introduction of the new Quarterdeck, which comes equipped with views over the infinity pool towards Magnetic Island; a dance floor; indoor and outdoor seating for 330 guests; and two big television screens. The bar menu at Quarterdeck includes wines from France and across Australia, as well as modern takes on classic cocktails like the Quarterdeck mojito and Maggie Island iced tea.
Established in 2015, the Heritage Exchange is run by the team behind its Flinders Street East neighbour: the Heritage Bar and Grill. Housed in the Exchange Hotel building from the 1880s, Heritage Exchange has exposed red bricks, vintage decor and a cosy outdoor space. There are also three bars within one venue: the Whisky Bar, the Rum Garden, and the Public Bar. The Whisky Bar has 70 different whiskies from around the world and whisky flights. The Rum Garden serves 50 international rums, and you can’t visit a Heritage property without enjoying a cocktail or two.
Located in a residential neighbourhood near James Cook University and overlooking the Ross River, Riverview Tavern is a very popular bar and restaurant in Townsville. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating, and the tavern always has rugby league and UFC games playing on its big screen. Join the locals and relax on the deck in the evening with a pint of one of the many Australian beers on tap.
The Watermark Townsville is located along The Strand, which is the city’s most popular attraction. It is open everyday from morning until midnight and offers waterfront views in a relaxed environment. The Watermark has live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and daily drink and food specials. The Beach Bar at the Watermark has lounges inside a raised beer garden deck. It serves a wide range of beers, wine and cocktails.
The TapHouse Townsville is North Queensland’s first bar with self-pour craft beer. It says it offers a different way of “thinking, tasting and appreciating speciality beers and ciders”. There are eight taps to choose from, with a rotating selection of beers. Guests purchase a prepaid card, which they tap on the screens next to the beer before pouring their own glass. Save money and only pay for the amount of beer you pour. The TapHouse also has a small cocktail list.
The Cactus Saloon is part of the Cactus Jack’s Bar & Grill family, which has been serving Tex Mex to the people of Townsville for 24 years. They have a featured DJ on the weekends, craft beer and cider on tap, and some of the best cocktails in town. There’s both inside seating in the Saloon Bar and an outdoor space at the Sky Bar. If visiting with friends, why not get the Bucket List: a bucket of four beers and a 750g bucket of buffalo wings.
The Australian Hotel was first opened in 1888, but in recent years it has had a full renovation. Located on Palmer Street, the Australian Hotel is a great place for a relaxing afternoon drink, or to watch an important sporting match. There are daily drink and meal specials, and live music on the weekends. The Australian Hotel pours a variety of Australian beer, including Queensland classics and Furphy, a Geelong-based brew.