Some of the best little spots in Adelaide are the ones you walk past all the time and pay little heed to. Tucked away on side streets, obscured by flashier doorways and in lanes you never knew existed, Adelaide is filled with little treasures waiting to be uncovered. Thankfully the team at Glam Adelaide have got you covered. Use this guide as a compass to navigate your way around Adelaide’s hidden gems.
55ml, Mill Street, Adelaide – 55 Mill Street. Situated on 55 Mill Street (get it, get it?!) this cute hole in the wall bar has established itself as one of our favourite places to hang out. This red brick slice of heaven is somewhere simple to hang out, the booze menu is small but effective and the vibe is relaxed and inviting. This is the sort of place you take someone on a first date; its low lighting and small intimate feel are quite conducive to holding hands and if you run out of things to talk about there are board games to save the night.
Red October, 22 Gilbert Place, Adelaide – named after a film starring a man with a famously dodgy Russian accent, this Russian gastro pub and bar opened in late 2017. Run by Roman and Marina something-ova, these real, long-name Russians have introduced Adelaide to modern Russian cuisine – and with the World Cup on in Russia, what better time to sample the culture than under the guidance of the owners of the stalwart Biblioteca Bar & Book Exchange? Russia’s food trends have to be better than its fashion. With an emphasis on beer and hard spirits, where better to celebrate when England win (it’s comin’ ‘ome) or drown your sorrows like a Russian sailor if you’re everyone else. как вы тосты! (cheers in Russian apparently).
Florence Rooftop Bar, 27 Gilbert Place, Florence, Italy – Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Was that Florence? A rooftop’s a bit like a balcony. Enjoy the romantic airs of northern Italy at this cocktail roof space inspired by Florence, near Verona. Sip a cocktail under the stars (if it’s not raining) in the rustic bar area, with its charming, exposed stone walls. It’s just up the timber stairs from Kaffana restaurant. It may be winter in Adelaide, but that shouldn’t stop you. There’s nothing quite like like an Aperol spritz in your nostrils while you freeze your nuts off.
Ancient World, 116a Hindley Street, Adelaide – Arguably the coolest dig for Adelaide’s underground music subcultures. This frequently transforming space serves as a band venue, dark dance floor and small bar, although you’ll find most punters scrambling for seats or standing room in the beer garden. With Big Shed beers on tap, an array of some of the best small batch wines and house-made tonic for your gin, no stone has been left unturned in the creation of a truly eclectic and fascinating space. With local, national and on rare occasion, international DJs passing through and a wide spectrum of indie and alternative acts, we highly recommend this place for bringing your Melbourne mates to prove Adelaide does have a grungy arty underbelly if you scratch hard enough. Perhaps one of the easiest places to miss for the uninitiated, you have to go down the alley near Snag in a Bag and turn left to find the entrance around the back. Get in for the good old days before it changes hands, as rumour on the street has it.
Baddog, 63 Hyde St, Adelaide – Baddog can only truly be described as a whiskey and bourbon bar. It looks and feels like an artist’s recreation of the classic American bar, where you plant yourself on a stool, slump over the bar and unload all your troubles onto the bartender. With its dark moody lighting, it also feels like one of the bars in Godfather II. It’s easily missable due to being further away from the small bar precinct in the city’s west, but that’s part of its charm.
Bank Street Social, 48 Hindley St, Adelaide – The multiple award winning Bank Street Social is, for many, the cream of Hindley Street nightlife. Since winning the 2015 Advertiser Food Awards for Best Small Bar they’ve maintained their lofty reputation in Adelaide’s nightlife and their expansive bar selection will keep you coming back for multiple visits. If you’re not big on crowds we recommend stopping by midweek to try their impressive wood fire pizzas and charcuterie platters. The mezzanine level allows a great vantage point for gazing across the warm tones of the interior architecture and for people watching.
Big Window, 99 Hindley Street – was forged out of the ashes of Oscar. Bought into by electronica star Tigerilla, despite it’s “big window” it has a subtle classy frontage, when compared with bigger players on the southern side of Hindley Street, like Dog’n’Duck, Red Square or the Palace. But once you’re in there, the slick décor and the sharp use of lighting make a big impact for Big Window.
Gresham Street – in general is a precinct that deserves a lot more attention. With three of Adelaide’s most unique small bars, we highly recommend a crawl through all three one night, perhaps on a Saturday to avoid the after work crowd. The best way is to make your way from French themed bar La Buvette sampling the buttery escargot and trying one of the exquisite French reds, perhaps a gamet, before dropping by the cosy Bibliotecha Bar and Book Exchange for one of their delectable snacks and whatever craft beer they have on rotation. To finish, Mississippi Moon is a great place to nestle by the bar and work your way through their top shelf bourbon range, maybe getting one of the West brothers to make a cocktail based on the sweet warm American institution.
Hains & Co- 23 Gilbert Place, Adelaide Ahoy! If you get lost in the backstreets near the infamous 24 Hour Pancake Kitchen you may stumble upon this sailor’s watering hole. This gorgeous nautical inspired small bar is full of tales to tell. They specialise in incredible gins and rums and bar owner Marcus can tell you something new and interesting about them all. We also recommend the cheese plate to nibble on whilst you’re learning how to perfect the pirate lifestyle.
Hula Hoop, 269 Kensington Road, Kensington Park – A great outer suburb destination. They’re a restaurant and bar located at the site of the old Regal Theatre, and brought to us by the same folks who have wonderful Uxbridge Kitchen. They have a quaint courtyard that’s gorgeous to sip on those Summer beverages and a great homely feel inside on cold nights. They also have a wicked food menu.
Kutchi Deli Parwana, 7 Ebenezer Place, Adelaide The second chapter of the Parwana tale that captured the hearts of so many Adelaideans. Nestled down the now bustling backstreets of the East End you’ll find Kutchi. Bringing you all the delicious flavours and hospitality of Parwana’s signature Afghani restaurant, but with more of a relaxed, modern, street food kinda vibe. If you like a curry you’ll adore this, but also grab a Lamb Mince Bolani *drools uncontrollably in a Homer Simpson fashion*.
Lindes Lane, Lindes Lane (off Rundle Mall) Adelaide – Oh we could truly gush about this tiny spot. When wandering down Rundle Mall make sure you slip down Lindes Lane and discover this wonderful venue. You can stop in here just to grab a sneaky beverage whilst indulging in a little retail therapy, but we’d strongly suggest you grab some food. The Asian Sashimi Tuna Nachos with Sriracha mayo and wasabi sounds like madness but is like nothing we’ve eaten before. A true signature and something you simply have to try.
Maybe Mae, Peel St, Adelaide – With Adelaide’s most well camouflaged doorway, this little gem has seen plenty of loose nights with Adelaide’s well heeled and glamorous crowd. It’s Adelaide’s strongest long term performer, still packing in the punters a few years on. Actor Dev Patel name dropped it in a very influential site recently. Nick the bartender will sort you out. Once you walk down the beautiful tiled alleyway between popular Peel and Leigh Streets you’ll notice an inconspicuous stairwell. Go upwards to experience delicious burgers from Bread and Bone, and when you go down you’ll end up at what appears to just be the toilets. Listen for the music coming through the beautiful wooden carved wall, then put your hands on it and push. What unfolds will definitely delight you.
Naya, 2/24 Waymouth Street, Adelaide We stumbled across this new spot after indulging in a night at nearby Bistro Dom. Thinking it was just a bar we sauntered in for ‘just one more drink’. We then discovered it actually serves up a wonderful array of modern Indian cuisine. There’s a serious spread of dinner flavour at Naya and you can swing in for a delicious quick fix lunch too. Definitely worth checking out.
Sunny’s Pizza – Perhaps Adelaide’s most innovative cross-hospitality concept, Sunny’s is simply one of the best things to happen to Adelaide since Udaberri kicked off the city’s now burgeoning small bar movement. It’s also one of the most easiest to miss venues because it’s away from any significant thoroughfare being on the part of Solomon Street which snakes behind the block and faces a rather unseemly carpark. Nevertheless, it is an aesthetic and conceptual masterstroke. The brainchild of a tight crew of young mainstays of Adelaide’s hospitality scene, the venue shines because it reflects their collective backgrounds in the hospitality, nightclub and small bar sectors. As such, the venue is effectively a gourmet pizzeria, small bar and nightclub, all seamlessly rolled into one concept. The layout is unimaginably sublime, the aesthetics effortlessly chic and the pizza is painstakingly on point.
Thrift Shop, Waymouth Place, Adelaide – You may have noticed whilst strolling down Waymouth Street the little alleyway with a cute astro-turf area at the end. We certainly passed it a few times before going on a journey of discovery. That garden party area belongs to the adorable Thrift Shop Bar. The décor is, as you’d imagine, made up of mismatched thrift shop tokens collected over time. We love that each time we stop by we discover something new (like their Narnia Room function space, adorable). Plus their ENTIRE drinks menu from beer to wine to spirits is all Australian. Seems like a simple concept but it’s quite the task to stick to these guns. Nip down and grab a cocktail but expect to try something new!
Vietnamese Laundry, 152 Sturt Street, Adelaide Still in its early years, this innocuous street food eatery has become a cult favourite, winning a slew of rave reviews. We love their generously sized banh mi, as it truly is more of a good thing. The open airy wooden location is so great for these warmer seasons, match that with the awesome Vietnamese iced coffee here and you have yourself a winning combination.
Blink And You’ll Miss It: Pop Up Bars
Here are some bars that if you blink, you’ll definitely miss them. They’re not in town for long, so pop these at the top of your to-do list.
Moxie Bar, on the balcony at 6 East Tce, Adelaide – This pop-up gin bar is only here during the Fringe from 16 February until 19th March. So you definitely don’t want to miss this one! You wouldn’t know it, but it’s perched perfectly on a balcony overlooking The Garden of Unearthly Delights. With over 40 different gin infusions to choose from, you can pick and mix from their range of uniquely crafted gins to find a winning combo or let the experts whip up something incredible.
Saké Society, 16 Ebenezer Pl, Adelaide – The humble rice grain will once again rise to the challenge by becoming the hero of Adelaide’s first dedicated pop up saké bar, Saké Society. With authentic Japanese saké, whisky and master sessions, which pair different saké styles with unexpected foods, this seems like the place to be in Adelaide if you’re looking for some cultural adventure.
With so many great options, we’re sure you’ll enjoy uncovering these Adelaide’s hidden treasures.