After Hours in the Capital

When most people think of Canberra, what comes to mind is all politicians, government employees and university students. But what was once quite a ‘boring’ city, is fast becoming ‘cool’ and the nightlife is coming along for the ride.

For those after a good drop of wine, Benchmark Wine Bar is a favourite spot for those working in the city. Serving over 100 wines by the glass and over 400 choices by bottle, Benchmark is the place for connoisseurs, though isn’t too pretentious for those without a well-trained palate. Their menu is French influenced and based on simple flavours matched perfectly with the wines on offer.

Knightsbridge Penthouse is a relaxed lounge bar with an impressive drinks list featuring cocktails, wines and local beers. On a week night, enjoy an after work wine with colleagues and on the weekend head to ‘Knighty’ for a mix of soul, funk and r’n’b tunes.

Canberra's best rooftop bar, The Aviary, is made almost entirely of shipping containers! The furniture is all made from sustainable, recycled materials and the views are second to none, with panoramic windows offering views across Canberra's famed landmarks and scenery. The cocktails are hero here with an inventive take on the classics, but local brews and wines also feature on the menu.

Canberra is up and coming with microbreweries and BentSpoke, a Canberra microbrewery and taphouse is leading the charge. Co-owner Richard Watkins, was twice-crowned Best Australian Small Brewer, and here he pays homage to Canberra identities and landmarks with his brews, with names including the Barley Griffin, Mort's Gold and Braddon Bitter. The bar has 18 taps, regularly rotating ales, lagers, ciders and one-off batches. This place is a great alternative to the classic pub and serves a menu with innovative dishes, inspired by seasonal produce.

Just outside the city centre in NewActon, Parlour Wine Room is a hit with the after 5 crowd, and for good reason. Parlour offers Spanish tapas, innovative cocktails and boutique wines in beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces. Visit on Fridays from 6pm for relaxed live music or treat yourself to High Tea, served each Sunday from 11am.

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