There’s a reason Tasmania’s capital was known as “Slowbart” long before Dark Mofo (6-23 June) livened up those long winter nights. It gets seriously cold, and without a mental map of places to stay warm, navigating the city in the depths of winter can be a challenge.
Fortunately Hobart’s many bars know how to put on a party and are the perfect spot to hide out in before, after (or sometimes during) the numerous shows that are scattered throughout Dark Mofo. So whether you want to find the perfect spot to people watch or just refuel and warm up before diving into another late night adventure, here are the best spots to check out at this year’s festival.
The Talisker Wilderness Bar
This boat shed-inspired whisky bar will be a beacon of warmth thanks to open log fires, jaffles and a host of winter drinks using Talisker. Choices include a campfire hot chocolate, Moo Brew boilermaker and spiced hot toddy featuring Talisker 10 Year Old with honey, lemon, spice and gum leaves.
5-10 pm, June 14-16 & 19-23
You don’t need Virgil to guide you to this Dante-inspired spectacle. Right on Salamanca place, it leaps into the Dark Mofo spirit with a dark cocktail menu inspired by the nine circles of hell, while an Anther Gin pop-up upstairs will showcase their Goddess Strength collaboration.
With six hand pumps dedicated to Two Metre Tall’s wild and mixed culture fermented ales, this tap takeover is a serious workout for the bartenders. Fortunately those bartenders have plenty of practice: brewery owners Ashley and Jane will manning the taps and pouring their farmhouse ales and ciders every day during the festival.
From noon, June 12-24
With live music, comedy and spoken word, the downtown distillery door will turn into a festival venue in its own right. On the beverage side, Lark Winter Garden will host regular meet the maker events and a special Dark Mofo tasting of single cask whiskies.
12pm-10pm, June 14-16, 21-23
Given its status as one of Hobart’s most sought after dining destinations, it’s no surprise that Franklin’s beverage tasting event brings together some of the nation’s best drops. Showcasing “Australia’s most thought-provoking small producers of wine, beer and spirits” as well as some small-scale importers, tickets include tastings, snacks and entry to the afterparty at Tom McHugo’s.
1-5pm, June 23
The Glass House
Australia’s premier craft liqueur makers Marionette will be turning The Glass House into a late night cocktail den for the duration of the festival. The Supper Club will feature live music, midnight snacks and a range of cocktails inspired by the Marionette Liqueur Range.
9pm-2am, June 14-15 & 21-22
Instead of open fires, this rum bar will be channelling the warmth of the tropics by transforming into a Tiki Haven for the duration of Dark Mofo. There’ll be takeovers by Rum Co. of Fiji and Talisker plus drag queen bingo and a host of other events.
This tiny wine bar once again hosts A Cork In The Road, a decadent night of dancing fuelled by lo-fi wines that is one of the highlights of the season for Hobart residents (and a few lucky visitors).
9pm-4am, June 17
Bar Wa Izakaya
Mulled roku gin and the Moon Dog collaboration umeboshi shiso gose are both excellent ways to stay warm, but the biggest draw at this Elizabeth St Venue might be the piping hot noodles they dole out for Midnight Ramen. Whether refuelling before heading out or getting a snack on way home, you’re unlikely to make a better decision once midnight hits.
11pm-1am, June 20-22, 27-29
Feature image: Talisker Bar