We have plenty scattered across the region and these boutique beverage houses just keep popping up. Whether you want to catch a sundowner on a lazy afternoon, make the most of happy hour or relax with some live music, we’ve got you covered with a list of our favourite drinking holes in the Shoalhaven. There’s something about chilled, small bars in chilled, small towns that just works - so move over Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, we’re giving you a run for your money.
1. Bangalay Dining and Villas, Shoalhaven Heads
Treat yourself to some delicious cocktails, inspired by native ingredients at this luxury venue in Shoalhaven Heads. We recommend making a whole night of it at Bangalay Dining - head for some sneaky sundowners in the outdoor area before sitting down for a meal in the restaurant. Happy hour runs between 5pm to 6pm and its the perfect opportunity to try some creative cocktails like the lemon myrtle pina colada or the wattleseed espresso martini. These unique flavours of Australia will dance on your palate as you soak up incredible views of the sand dunes at Seven Mile Beach. The stunning Bangalay Villas are just next door for those who'd like to make this an all-inclusive stay filled with food, drinks and wine, great for romantic retreats or group getaways!
2. Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar, Mollymook
A luxurious place to unwind and really take your holiday relaxation game up a notch. Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar is all about glam, with sun beds and beach umbrellas scattered around the suspended pool. That's right, you can laze about with your preferred beverage and then take a dip - the bar is tucked away behind lush palm trees and will make you feel like you're on a chilled out island getaway. If you happen to be around on a Sunday, then we definitely recommend hitting up Bannisters for their Rooftop Sunday Sessions, with live music kicking off at 4:00pm - the perfect time to sit down and listen to some talented musicians while catching a glorious Mollymook sunset. The drinks list includes a decadent Death by Chocolate, a classic Caipirinha and some superb craft beers. All of this combined with a yummy food menu featuring delicious South Coast calamari, oysters, and crab tacos - what's not to love!
3. The Quarters, Huskisson
Warm and welcoming. Fresh and friendly. Coastal cool. What more do we need to say about The Quarters in Huskisson? The owners of this boutique drinking hole are all about great wine, real cocktails and cold beer. We can’t think of a much better combination! Pay a visit to this eatery, located inside a 100 year old coastal cottage just a stone’s throw from pristine Jervis Bay. There’s a wonderful cocktail list with modern drinks such as the Tanqueray Gin with chilli flakes, ginger beer and lime plus a huge wine collection featuring local Australian vineyards as well as producers from around the world.
4. Queen St Eatery, Berry
A small and intimate venue that oozes South Coast sophistication, Queen St Eatery is a little bit French and a little bit Aussie. The restaurant is a new addition to Berry’s bustling food and drink scene and does not disappoint. It’s open for breakfast and lunch as well, but we recommended heading here for a romantic dinner and pairing your meals with some delicious wines - there’s a wonderful selection to choose from. Make sure to book in advance though because they’re only open at night from Thursday-Sunday.
5. Tallwood, Mollymook
At Tallwood, it’s all about having a great time over a delicious meal and drinks. The ethos behind this Mollymook culinary institution is sharing, so it’s a great venue for groups to come and enjoy the gourmet delights of the South Coast. Alongside a highly acclaimed contemporary Australian menu, there’s a drinks list that’s equally as impressive. The seafood dishes go exquisitely with tequila and Campari-based Matador cocktail and the GV and lime is a modern gin cocktail with a spicy Asian twist. This small bar venue is just minutes away from beautiful Mollymook Beach and a great place to relax after an afternoon in the water.
6. Wild Ginger, Huskisson
This wine bar in the heart of Huskisson serves up some mean cocktails and a South East Asian storm. Wild Ginger is the place to go for a little bit of spice, with a menu that perfectly blends Asian flavours with beautiful South Coast seafood. Sip on a refreshing lychee caipiroska, which pairs brilliantly with a meal, or just have a cheeky drink. Alfresco happy hour is from 3-6pm where you can grab a $10 cocktail and try some delicious nibblies off the excellent bar menu. The snacks aren't just like any typical bar menu, though - Wild Ginger offers up inspiring Asian bites such as the pork belly betel leaf and the veal and chicken shallot mousse. So take a seat in the lovely outdoor space, we think it's a fantastic spot to have a couple of sundowners and enjoy the good life.
7. Kanpai, Huskisson
Did you know that Kanpai means cheers in Japanese? So there’s no better place to go and say bottoms up! The top picks to try off of Kanpai’s Kakutero (cocktails) list are the Salty Sumo - an uplifting espresso hit, or the charmingly named Lucy Lui, with Chambord and Bacardi featuring a dash of Japanese Yuzu syrup, lime and lemonade. While you’re here, have a little taste of some sake, a must try with some sushi or sashimi. If you're more of a beer drinker then try a taste of Japan and sample the refreshing Asahi on tap and pair this with a delicious snack of steamed chicken buns. There is also a fantastic outdoor area that boasts beautiful views of the bay, making Kanpai a superb spot to drink and dine out in the open.
8. Harvest Bar, Milton
An all-round venue that’s great for a girls night, hot date or family dinner, Harvest Bar in Milton serves up great vibes, awesome cocktails, craft beers and a tapas style menu that’s oh so moreish. The delicious fried arancini balls, ploughman's and cheese boards are all yummy sharing options. The cocktail list features all the classics including the Cosmopolitan, French Martini and Sangria, all beautifully crafted by the knowledgeable mixologists behind the bar. Party the night away with some bevvies and live music in this rustic and cool space and then spend the next morning wandering through the main strip of Milton. You might just need a strong coffee from one of our excellent local cafes to wake you up and kick that hangover!
9. Little Snapper, Culburra Beach
A perfect way to end a day in the surf is by sitting down for some drinks at Little Snapper, a lovely local haunt in Culburra Beach. This venue is all about relaxed vibes paired with high-quality casual dining. In addition to its excellent fish and chip menu (there are a few delicious options to try!), the restaurant is a fantastic small bar too. With a great selection of craft beers, traditional cocktails and an extensive wine list that features a lot of local drops, it's a great place to unwind after a day of exploring. "Community Happy Hour" is from 5pm to 6pm every night and in January $1 from every cocktail sold will support the NSW Rural Fire Service, another awesome reason to stop by for a bevvy!
10. Dog & Monocle, Nowra
If you fancy trying something a little bit different, head to the Dog & Monocle, a quirky and refreshing steampunk supper club in the heart of Nowra. This place is a wonderful throwback to the 1950s, with staff dressed in old school garb and a retro decor that creates a luxe and romantic ambience. Take a step back in time here and sample the craft beers, gins, whiskies and carefully crafted cocktails. Gin enthusiasts will absolutely love this place and we highly recommend the house's favourite cocktail, the Bee’s Knees. It's a delectable concoction of botanical Hendrick’s gin, honey syrup and lemon. We think it’s a great dinner date venue that will be sure to impress!
11. Cupitts Winery, Ulladulla
This family-run operation is a South Coast wine and beer institution and one of the best spots in the Shoalhaven for an afternoon filled with sundowners. At Cupitts, you can sit inside the restaurant with a drink and some food, perch on the deck with some beers or get cosy in the outdoor dining area - all of which overlooks the spectacular on-site vineyard and boast views of the surrounding escarpment. This is the place to go to taste some delicious local drops and perfect for wine lovers and craft beer enthusiasts. We highly recommend grabbing a tasting paddle of beers, all brewed in-house at Cupitts brewery, and pairing this with a decadent cheese board featuring delights direct from the property's very own fromagerie!
12. Dangerous Ales, Milton
Recently opened Dangerous Ales is the awesome on-site brewery at The Milton Hotel. Located within a newly renovated historic site, this small bar is the ideal hangout for any beer lover. Come and visit for a local brew mixed an excellent pub menu and some live tunes. Make sure to try the IPA or the Oatmeal Stout while you're here. The beer garden is family-friendly too so it's great for parents wanting to have a relaxed evening with the little ones.
13. Ocean Vibe, Ulladulla
This cool rooftop pad boasts amazing views over Ulladulla Harbour and is a sweet spot to catch a sunset after a long day. Ocean Vibe is generally known for its coffee and cakes but also stays open into the early afternoon and serves up yummy drinks down by the water. The outdoor garden seating is stunning and a great place to gather a group of friends. They can even host your next celebration so get in touch with the team if you're planning a birthday bash, bucks or hen's weekend. On Thursdays and Saturdays, the restaurant is open till late so you can also combine your afternoon of refreshing sundowners with an evening of delicious food!