Discovering Australia's hidden gems


A Dose of Decadence at the Best Bar in Cairns

It’s with a heavy heart (and a heavier tummy) that I write this post.

My last hurrah at Salt House.

This unique alfresco bar overlooking the Cairns waterfront instantly became dear to my heart, and I have spent many a leisurely hour (or four) here most days since.

Oh, bar of my dreams, let me count the ways I love thee …

Is it your large comfortable day beds bordered by lush tropical vegetation, with a view of the majestic mountains meeting the sea?

This ultimate ‘hang out’ location is mostly open air which lets in the sights, sounds and smells of tropical North Queensland.  Feel the sun and breeze caressing your skin while you sip your impressive cocktail, a sight sensation in itself.

Is it your cocktails that enamour me so?

I must admit, I don’t generally ‘do’ cocktails, but these lovelies were a little hard to resist, and looked so at home on the edge of my tropical day bed. The Kiwi Dream cocktail remained unsurpassed so I had to steal the recipe!  Future dreamy experiences shall now ensue no matter where I’m located.

Could it be the childlike excitement you instil in me in anticipation of scouring your menu every day (yes, it’s the same menu …) for the most delicious bar food I’ve ever had. Once again, I don’t usually ‘do’ bar food, but this stuff is special. Gourmet style bar food without the hefty price tag.

I’m in a constant dilemma between wanting to try every delicious item on the menu, and not being able to go past my favourites. Fascinating how I manage to convince myself that those delightful, crispy edged sweet potato wedges are a health item and therefore quite acceptable to have every day.

The food presentation was nothing less than a work of art, and of course there’s the fun factor of enjoying it whilst leisurely sprawled on my day bed under warm tropical skies, listening to chilled tunes emanating from the centre bar.

Do I love thee for thy musical moments?

Sunday afternoon  they had live music at the foot of my day bed (aka second home). Guy, guitar and great playlist. Toe-tapping tunes every one of them.

[Insert video clip here – if only I had the WordPress upgrade …!]

A blissful way to ease out of the day and into a relaxed evening in Cairns. A melodious sunset on another fantastic day.

Is it the setting sun across the water that makes you so irresistible my dear Salt House? A tequila sunrise by my side mirror-imaging the view.

A soft, gentle light appears at dusk, bathing my day bed with a delicate afterglow. The breeze takes on a chill and I take out a light jacket, having come prepared for extended hang-out time.

The outdoor design of this bar gives it a completely different feel (literally and figuratively) to indoor establishments. Perhaps it could be compared to a deluxe beer garden, but that doesn’t seem to do it justice. To quote my partner,  “It’s an upmarket pub without being up itself!”

The casual yet classy atmosphere pervades day and night. The layout is open-plan, spacious and spotlessly clean with private little nooks for individual groups separated by water moats. Being alfresco doesn’t mean that you’re completely at the mercy of the elements. There are several large sun umbrellas that get constantly shuffled around to provide just the required amount of sun/shade. Of course when the tropical cyclone hits, this place could have its disadvantages.

The day beds were certainly prime position but all of the other furniture was also extremely comfortable and designed for lengthy, leisurely sojourns. A great place for meeting friends or simply sitting solo with your favourite book,  journal, and life contemplations.

And the perfect spot for writing up my latest blog article!

Oh, bar of lofty thoughts, how I love the cerebral gymnastics you offer.

Thursday nights are Trivia nights, which aren’t really very lofty, but certainly lots of fun. No, we didn’t retain our previous trivia glory, but did walk away with a bag of peanuts and a head full of new and interesting trivial facts.

Trivia Room with a View

The views from Salt House are divine. The expansive shimmering Coral Sea back-dropped by surrounding mountain ranges in one direction, and Cairns marina with boats bobbing on blankets of blue in the other. Stay there for long enough and feel the atmosphere change as twilight engulfs you.

So, as the sunsets on an era (the age of Salt House) I feel simultaneously sad at leaving but blessed for having discovered this wonderful place and enjoyed it to the fullest.

Fellow travellers, if you are in Cairns and would love to experience total decadence without a dent in your hip pocket, I would highly recommend a trip (or ten) to Salt House.

Copyright August 2012

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Comments on: "A Dose of Decadence at the Best Bar in Cairns" (7)

  1. Ann jeffrey said:

    Ten trips it is then!! Looks beautifully decadent!

  2. All I can say is…there had better be one of those day beds with my name on it in November!!

    • Oh there definitely will be Trice! Go for the one in the right corner surrounded by tropical leaves. I was able to get a bed every time I went except the final time. Avoid peak times like Sundays or get there early and settle in! They also have a lovely restaurant – brekky with a view then claim your day bed for the day. 🙂

  3. You should write tourism advertisements for Cairns, Suze! You’ll have them flocking in! Looks like the perfect place to have a kiwi dream cocktail or two 😀

    • I have been trying to think of a tourism publication that might want to buy it. Would be nice to make some $ : ) Definitely the place for dreamy cocktails …

  4. I agree with Anni. Perhaps, you should try and sell it to Salt House 🙂

    Great blog hon!

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