Where to find the best happy hours in Newcastle

Get the lowdown from a local on the best spots to end a day in the harbour city - without breaking the bank.

Test the pro mixologists at the Basement
  • Michelle Meehan
  • December 2018

Seeing everything Newcastle has to offer can be thirsty work. Luckily the coastal city has a range of great bars with even greater happy hour deals to help you wind down after a busy day of sightseeing.

Basement on Market Street

This intimate urban hangout represents the changing face of Newcastle’s CBD, which has come alive with creative collectives, funky boutiques and a thriving small bar scene. With a dark and sophisticated ambience, yet surprisingly relaxed vibe, Basement specialises in innovative cocktails such as the Firebird, a white rum, guava, pineapple, falernum, bitters and cinnamon concoction that is so smoking hot, it comes with an open flame. Enjoy the best mixes for less from 4pm on Thursday Thirstdays, with $12 specials from their extensive list.

Bar Petite

Nestled under the Novotel Hotel, Newcastle’s original tapas lounge bar may be hard to find but is even harder to leave, especially after you’ve relaxed into one of the plush velvet armchairs or baroque-style sofas comfortably crowded into the cosy space. Part elegant cocktail lounge, part rustic French wine bar, it features one of the city’s longest happy hours, with AUD $5 tap beer, ciders and sparkling from 12-7pm on Fridays.

Wash down tasty bites with tap beer at Bar Petite.
Wash down tasty bites with tap beer at Bar Petite.

Honeysuckle Hotel

Built as a cargo wharf in 1910, this reinvented hotel mixes heritage features with contemporary style and panoramic views of coal ships and cruise liners at one of the world’s busiest ports. Tonnes of seafood pass through Newcastle Harbour each year, inspiring an ocean-themed happy hour, with 25 per cent off the freshest oysters you’ll find this side of the seabed from 5-6.30pm daily. Those looking for something a little stronger can kickstart their weekend with a AUD $9 Espresso Martini from 5-8pm on Fridays.

Foghorn Brewhouse

A former abandoned warehouse in the city centre is now home to an award-winning brewery (open for behind-the-scenes tours on weekends) offering 16 taps with a rotating list of house-brewed craft beers. Highlights include their Sligo Extra Stout – which won the gold medal at the 2017 Australian International Beer Awards – and the uniquely named Dads With Prams low-alcohol pale ale, one of the lightest craft beers in Australia. Work your way through the lot with AUD $2 off any schooner from 3-5pm Monday to Friday.

Great beers straight from the source at Foghorn.
Great beers straight from the source at Foghorn.

Battlesticks Bar

Happy hour on the harbour is a must at Battlesticks Bar, where a row of white sail-like structures perfectly counterpoint the panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows. But enough about the architecture. The mind-blowing drinks menu includes eight beers on tap, 280 wines, up to 100 types of spirits and more than 30 cocktails, including their signature Harbourside Sipper with Plantation Pineapple rum, 1800 Coconut tequila, lime, sugar syrup and a salt rim. Its equally extensive happy hour offers AUD $6 tap beers and AUD $4 sparkling wines four days a week (including weekends) from 12-6pm, as well as AUD $10 cocktails to get you in the spirit from 8-10pm Wednesday through Friday.

The Flying Tiger 231

With exposed brickwork, lush plants and a replica airplane coming through the wall, this is a quirky industrial-meets-tropical den. Licensing laws mean you can’t stop in for a drink without grabbing a bite to eat but their charcuterie boards and tapas plates make this easy to bear. Enjoy share plates while sipping on AUD $8 Aperol Spritzes every day until 5pm, AUD $12 cocktails on Wednesdays or AUD $6 house pours with every meal on Thursdays.

Soak in the electric atmosphere at The Flying Tiger 321.
Soak in the electric atmosphere at The Flying Tiger 321.

Customs House Hotel

The trickling water fountains, harbour views, ultra-comfortable day beds and vine-draped umbrellas make this the perfect venue for sunny afternoons. But their happy-hour offering, which includes AUD $5 craft ales from 4-6pm Monday to Thursday, is just as enjoyable on the verandah or in one of the two indoors bars and typical pub-style pool room.