An insider’s guide to Adelaide’s nightlife scene

An insider’s guide to Adelaide’s nightlife scene

Victoria Square, Adelaide
Photo: Silveryway/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Words by Tobias Handke

Despite having a population of just over one million and a city that can be easily traversed by foot in half an hour, the City of Churches is a hotbed of exciting pubs, bars and clubs catering to everyone’s needs.

Adelaide’s long been the butt of jokes when it comes to Australia’s nightlife scene, but there’s been a real shift in recent years. With Sydney’s lockout laws turning it into a nanny state and Melbourne overrun with too many venues struggling to keep punters coming back, Adelaide has emerged as a frontrunner for nightlife capital of the country.

So next time you find yourself in Adelaide, be sure to visit these tremendous venues and enjoy some local booze in friendly surroundings and get a taste of Adelaide’s underrated nightlife.

Rocket Bar & Rooftop

A staple amongst the mid-20s crowd, Rocket Bar & Rooftop is home to weekly live music and specialised club nights. Hip hop, indie and electronica are the sounds of choice, with DJs spinning tunes well into the morning. The dance floor is always a mass of sweaty bodies while upstairs the rooftop bar is the ideal spot to get some air, sink a few pints and have a dart.

142 Hindley Street Adelaide


Those with refined tastes will enjoy what’s on offer at Udaberri. Nestled in the popular Leigh Street, this European-styled bar has a revolving range of craft beers to choose from along with some top-notch local wines. Udaberri also offers a delicious menu offering cured meats, conservas mariscos (seafood served with baguettes) and share plates. The crowd is a mixture of suits and hipsters and the venue is open until late seven days a week.

11-13 Leigh Street Adelaide

Clever Little Tailor

Peel Street is where the rejuvenation of Adelaide’s nightlife first began, with Clever Little Tailor the leader of the pack. The rustic décor – exposed brick walls and wooden finishings — of this cosy wine bar creates a warm and inviting feel, matched only by the extensive range of drinks available. The staff are super friendly and knowledgeable, whipping up all kinds of cocktails and intricate drinks while keeping the lines moving.

19 Peel Street Adelaide

Lions Art Centre

The legacy of Adelaide live music venue Fowler’s Live lives on with the recently opened Lions Art Centre. Taken over by the crew behind Spin Off Festival, who also curate a number of highly rated club nights across Oz, the refurbished venue is one of the state’s newest and coolest spots. Experience a diverse range of live music – the likes of metal act Thrice, Ruby Fields and Touch Sensitive all having played there this year – and one-off themed parties while enjoying a few froths with mates in this awesome city locale.

68 North Terrace Adelaide

Hains & Co

It’s not often you get the chance to feel like a pirate while knocking back a few rums, but that’s exactly the scenario when drinking at Hains & Co. This nautical-themed establishment specialises in spirits, with expert mixologists on hand to concoct whatever your heart desires. You can also chomp down on cigars from around the world or feast on some tasty snacks while enjoying the gin of the month.

23 Gilbert Place

Electra House

Some of the best-dressed people in Adelaide frequent Electra House. Part fine dining, part New York bar, this three-level entertainment precinct features two main bars and a modern Asian restaurant.

You can order refined pub grub at the downstairs bars or head up to the spacious Level One restaurant for incredibly tasty Asian cuisine. Make a night of it and indulge in a three-course savoury and sweet menu for $68 or $89 per person, before sipping on tasty cocktails in the Chamber Bar and dancing the night away.

131 King William Street

Bank Street Social

A nondescript entryway between coffee franchise Cibo and Zambero leads to an underground ’20s-era prohibition-style bar with a focus on local produce. Banks Street Social is an award-winning locale where you can relish one of the best selections of gin and whiskey sourced from around Australia while chowing down on scrumptious pizzas.

If spirits aren’t your thing, there’s a healthy selection of wines and tap beer too, with DJs spinning a variety of music (from soul and funk to electronic) to keep the dancefloor rocking all night.

48 Hindley Street


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The Exeter Hotel

The east end of Adelaide’s CBD is a mishmash of trendy cafes, international restaurants and renovated pubs. Of all the watering holes on this well-known strip, none are as celebrated as The Exeter Hotel.

A favourite with uni students, The Ex is your quintessential pub, with cold Coopers on tap and a kitchen serving up hearty pub grub every night of the week. Part of their motto is “no pokies, no bullshit”, which pretty much sums up this Adelaide institution.

246 Rundle Street