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FOOD & DRINK

Six Local Bars and Wineries to Visit on Your Next Group Getaway to Canberra

Drink your way around the capital with this selection of vineyards, breweries and hidden cocktail bars.
By Melanie Colwell
November 19, 2019
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Six Local Bars and Wineries to Visit on Your Next Group Getaway to Canberra

Drink your way around the capital with this selection of vineyards, breweries and hidden cocktail bars.
By Melanie Colwell
November 19, 2019
  shares

SIX LOCAL BARS AND WINERIES TO VISIT ON YOUR NEXT GROUP GETAWAY TO CANBERRA

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Drink your way around the capital with this selection of vineyards, breweries and hidden cocktail bars.

Considering a boozy break in the national capital? Sounds like a magnificent idea. Canberra is home to loads of top-notch bars, wineries and distilleries where you can sip on locally crafted beverages — and meet their makers, too. Among them are Australia's first bar dedicated to reisling, a speakeasy that you need geographic coordinates to find and a brewery that specialises in traditional German techniques.

So, it's time to grab your mates, open your diary and start planning. To save you time and help you get started, we've scoped out six of the best venues in and around the city that serve a quality drink.

Regional holidays to the ACT are now permitted for some states — check the rules for your own state or territory here. Also, some of the places mentioned below may still be closed or operating differently due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please check websites before making any plans.

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    Launched in April 2016, Capital Brewing is now found all over the country — in bars, restaurants and bottle shops. It’s the creation of an alliance of local hospitality experts, including brothers Rich and Sam Coombes (founders of Batlow Cider Co), plus Tom Hertel and Laurence Kain (Honky Tonks). In charge of brewing is Wade Hurley, who’s worked at several of California’s most popular craft breweries. And now, you can check out where it all began.

    Gather around a table in the epic shed and sip your way through the collection — from staples like the crisp, clean Coast Ale, to the tropical-tinged Evil Eye Red IPA, inspired by a tattooed tree stump on the shores of Lake George. If you’re driving from Sydney, look out for it on the way into Canberra.

    Image: VisitCanberra.

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    Molly

    Are you, or one of your mates, good at reading maps? Molly’s address isn’t a street name and number, but a set of geographic coordinates, which mark an unmarked door. Behind it lies a 1920s-inspired speakeasy, featuring more than 500 kinds of whisky, a handful of expert bartenders, some super-comfy burgundy banquettes and a few dazzling crystal chandeliers. There’s also a spectacular, 100-year-old grand piano, which gets played on live jazz nights (usually every Tuesday). For a special experience with your crew, book a private tasting session in The Vault.

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    Brindabella Hills Winery

    To treat your gang to some of the loveliest rural views in and around Canberra, make tracks to Brindabella Hills Winery. This beauty lies on a ridge around 25 kilometres north of the city. It’s overlooking the Murrumbidgee River and the Brindabellas and foregrounded by vineyards. In between soaking up the serenity, sample your way through the wine list, from the passionfruit-driven 2018 sauvignon blanc to the complex 2013 shiraz. There’s also a cafe, which is open on the weekends, so you can dig into moreish share plates, like cured salmon with cucumber and lime, and calamari with yuzu mayo.

    Image: VisitCanberra.

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    As the name suggests, Bentspoke is a brewing company that isn’t afraid of an adventure. And that’s a reflection of its owners – Champion Australian brewer Richard Watkins and Tracy Margrain – who travelled all over the world researching their dream brewpub before setting it up in Canberra in 2014. Since then, the duo has made more than 50 beers and ciders types. Here in the Braddon brewpub, there are always 18 on tap. Just some of the brews you might find yourself sipping include Dr Brute, the world’s first double red brut IPA; the Muthur Funker, which contains six types of hops; and the G.F.G., a gluten-free ginger beer.

    Image: VisitCanberra.

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    For lovers of riesling, Rizla isn’t just a stop on a Canberra getaway but a destination in and of itself. This bar is the first in Australia to be devoted to the mighty riesling, and it’s all too easy to while away an afternoon in the idyllic garden-like outdoor seating area. Settle in and take your pick from the extensive riesling menu, which covers drops from, well, everywhere, including Canberra, South Australia’s Clare Valley, Germany, Austria, Italy and France. If one of your mates isn’t as much of a fan of riesling, there are plenty of other varieties to choose from.

    Image: Nathan Harradine-Hale.

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    Perched on the banks of the Molonglo River, Pialligo Estate is just a 15-minute drive from Parliament House, but it feels a bit like a hidden away European village. The winemaking approach follows suit: the focus is on expressing the local region through traditional techniques. Wine tastings, which must be booked in advance, double as mini degustations. In the company of a sommelier, taste your way through a flight, accompanied by matching snacks. Alternatively, book a table in the Pialligo Pavilion, where you can eat and drink at your leisure.

    Image: VisitCanberra.

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To discover more top-notch spots to have a drink in Canberra, head to VisitCanberra and start planning your next city break.

Top Image: VisitCanberra.

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