ACT News

Socialising in the great outdoors: the best of Canberra's beer gardens

You know it's summer when you can sit in a tranquil garden and savour a refreshing drink, tasty food and excellent company while enjoying the sunshine or balmy night air. These are some of the In the City team’s favourite places to socialise in the great outdoors.

Mint Garden Bar

Mint Garden Bar is nestled among the Gorman House Arts Centre buildings and provides a tranquil wonderland to relax and unwind. Delight in a classic cocktail from the extensive list or peruse the wine and boutique beer selection.

The bar has remained popular after opening three years ago, serving canapés and nibbles and hosting special food and drink events throughout the year.

Sage Dining Rooms manager Kat Strand says the bar is surrounded by living plants, with many of the herbs and flowers used in the bar’s original cocktails.


“In summer, it’s definitely the spot to be.''

“We do live music on Saturday evening, jazz style, really relaxing music. We have heat lamps all around the garden which creates a cute atmosphere out there with the fairy lights as well.”

Mint Garden Bar offers a small bar menu, including five pizzas, with plans for a tapas style menu available from October in time for daylight savings.

The ambient garden creates an ideal setting for celebrating a special occasion or indulging after a long week at work.

P: 6249 6050



Since opening in August, Hopscotch in Braddon has proven to be a hotspot for foodies and beer and scotch connoisseurs.

Outside, there's a large mural created by 16 year-old street artist Solomon Grainger, creating a funky yet friendly vibe.

Brian Smith, who co-owns the bar with head chef Nick Parkinson, says the space will only increase in popularity as the weather warms. He is looking forward to building on Hopscotch’s success

 “We are in the process of organising our outdoor fire pit, which will be definitely here by summer for meat on the spit, and acoustic live music. It’s all about creating a family friendly venue, particularly on Sunday,” he says.

“We have had up to 140 people sitting outside here in winter so if that continues, it will certainly be the place to be in summer.”

With eight beer taps that are constantly being rotated and the establishment’s whisky list is continuously expanding, there's always something new and exciting to try.

“We started with about 45-50 [varieties] and it has easily grown by about 10,” Smith says.

“Our other big point of difference is that we have a wood fire grill. If you’re lucky enough to get a seat by the kitchen, you will be mesmerised by the smell of the wood burning,”

P: 6107 3030


Parlour Wine Room

With the summer months fast approaching Parlour Wine Room is preparing for drinks out on the deck.

The Parlour terrace, facing the ever-changing landscape of NewActon, will be home to the quality sparkling wines, beers and signature cocktails. With the venue taking out the Australian Hotels Association 2014 ACT’s Best Wine List title, and with a plan to partner up with Eden Road Winery during the summer months, the deck will be the premier hotspot for after work drinks and to while away the hours with friends or loved ones.

There are plans for DJs and live music on the deck, and possible live paella demonstrations to really turn up the heat. There are also the food offerings from the kitchen, with Parlour’s extensive and accessible tapas menu available on the deck during summer.There's also a late-night menu for those whose appetites stick around well after the sun goes down.

The Parlour terrace is open Tuesday to Sunday from midday until late and the kitchen is open all day.

P: 6257 7325


ANU Fellows Bar and Cafe


The Fellows Bar and Cafe at the ANU offers a gorgeous, sprawling outdoor space hidden within walking distance of the city.

Fellows Bar and Cafe senior supervisor Jake Norrish says surrounded by beautiful grounds and out of the hustle and bustle of the city, the venue offers a peaceful place to gather as the sun filters through the trees.

“It’s more of an afternoon bar because we close at 8 o’clock, so it’s the perfect place for academics and young professionals who work in the city to head on over and have a drink,” Norrish says.

The garden sits up to 400 people, making it one of the biggest and best spaces in the city to hold your next function, thought-provoking conversation or quiet get-together with friends.

P: 6125 5289