ACT News

What lies beneath the city streets in Canberra

MOLLY

Molly Speakeasy owners Lorenzo Focarile, Dean Brown and Antony Arena at their bar in Civic West.
Molly Speakeasy owners Lorenzo Focarile, Dean Brown and Antony Arena at their bar in Civic West. Photo: Graham Tidy

If it's whisky or cocktails you desire, take a wander down Hobart Place (-35° 16' 46.45" S - 149° 7' 35.23" E, to be specific) and pay Molly a visit. Molly burst onto the Canberra scene last year with an air of mystery – a secret speakeasy identified only by a series of co-ordinates. In the past year and a half we've grown to know and love her. Beyond Molly's nondescript entry, the bar exudes a 1920s vibe, with prohibition era beverages to match.

Hobart Place, Canberra City. molly.net.au.

TRANSIT BAR

Underground

Underground Photo: Supplied

Transit Bar is one of Canberra's favourite live venues, and with good reason. From hip-hop to hard rock, cult favourites to newcomers, Transit has been committed to supporting local artists and bringing a diverse range of touring bands through the nation's capital. The Getaway Plan, Art of Sleeping and Gang of Youths are just a few of the artists that have taken the stage this year. Make sure to check out the craft beers the bar has on tap as well.

7 Akuna Street, Canberra City. transitbar.com.au.

A. BAKER SPEAKEASY

aBakerBar Underground

Photo: Daniel Spellman

A. Baker is one of our NewActon favourites serving up a mouth-watering menu of seasonal delights and its basement bar is equally committed to local products. The speakeasy boasts a range of spirits distilled in Australia, a cocktail list featuring fresh, regional products and home-made ingredients, and a seasonal wine list comprising some of the best the Canberra region has to offer. Set against a raw industrial backdrop, this is one of the coolest underground spots in the city.

15 Edinburgh Avenue, NewActon. abaker.com.au.

ACADEMY

Academy bar in Canberra.

Academy bar in Canberra. Photo: Australian Capital Tourism

Today Academy is renowned for bringing the biggest names in dance music to Canberra, but it has been one of the city's favourite underground entertainment destinations for decades. It was converted from a 37-year-old cinema in 2003 and features a huge screen centre stage – a homage to the venue's former life. Nowadays, Academy's stellar line-up of international acts and resident DJs will have you dancing into the wee hours of the morning. Before you head underground, stop by the Candy Bar on the second level for a tasty $10 cocktail.

50 Bunda Street, Canberra City. academyclub.com.au.

HAPPY'S

Happy's Chinese Restaurant

Happy's Chinese Restaurant Photo: Lauren Brown

Canberra's first Chinese restaurant opened in 1963 and it has become a city institution, however you have to know where to look to find it. The small doorway in Garema Place is easy to miss, but when you head downstairs you'll find a family restaurant that embodies its name. The wall is emblazoned with a mural of the Great Wall of China, painted by the original owner. His grandson has since taken the reins and continues to serve the same delicious flavours of Cantonese cuisine.

1/17 Garema Place, Canberra City. happys.com.au.

DIGRESS

Underground

Underground Photo: Supplied

While curry and karaoke may not be a traditional pairing, there are few better ways to spend a Thursday night in the city than curry-oke at Digress. This cocktail bar with a difference features a line-up of events every week including painting on Mondays, trivia on Tuesdays and bingo on Wednesdays, all served with a side of curry and rice. We'd also recommend the signature cocktail, Proud Punjabi – an alcoholic twist on the traditional Indian mango lassi.

11 Akuna Street, Canberra City. digress.com.au.

PANCAKE PARLOUR

Pancake Parlour.

Pancake Parlour. Photo: Daniel Spellman

The Pancake Parlour opened its doors in the iconic Sydney Building in 1984, and the past three decades has seen it become a city fixture in its own right. If you thought pancakes were just for breakfast, think again. The Pancake Parlour is open until late most nights and offers an enticing array of sweet and savoury options. Stick with the classic, maple syrup-topped stack or try something a bit different, here your pancake can be served with chicken parmigiana, a scotch fillet steak or even a barramundi fish fillet.

122 Alinga Street, Canberra City. pancakeparlour.com.

TED'S CAMERAS

Teds Underground

Teds Underground Photo: Daniel Spellman

Ted's Cameras has always been at the forefront of technology, and its basement shop in Petrie Plaza is a mecca for photographers. The store has gained a reputation among Canberra's top photographers as the place to visit for professional gear and an excellent range of darkroom materials. You're in good hands with a team of knowledgeable staff and whether you're a hobbyist or a professional, you'll find what you are looking for here.

9 Petrie Plaza, Canberra City. teds.com.au.