The first time I visited The Howling Moon there was a lot to take in at once. The obvious views of Canberra’s first rooftop bar, the colour palette I wish my bedroom followed and the crowds all fighting over the leafy green wall which acts as the ideal Instagram backdrop.
Since returning (numerous times since its launch) I’ve had the opportunity to really appreciate what’s on offer at this buzzing venue.
While cocktails come out looking fun and flirty, behind the scenes they are taken very seriously. The work that goes into the bespoke beverages reflects the entire experience at the edgy bar.
Here, Western mixologist techniques have been adopted to suit the venues airy and fresh approach. You’ll find the drinks are light and blended with that rewarding hit of spritz or summer in every sip. All-natural products are utilised, and no nasty artificial syrups are found here.
If you really want to immerse yourself into The Howling Moon concept, I recommend the Mellow Melon cocktail which has taken on the colour theme of the bars brand.
For those looking to make their Instagram story really pop, the One Night In Braddon cocktail has been well thought out from its colouring to its taste and even the glass reminiscent of a goblet fit for a royal. A drink with a bite to it, the Maraschino liqueur gives it a complex taste while cranberry and grapefruit juices give aid to the cocktails intriguing colour.
The Sunset Spritz is a twist on your regular Aperol. A cheeky hit of grapefruit juice and gin add a pleasant touch to an already brilliant drink. Putting a unique spin on things to create a new experience for locals is a common approach at The Howling Moon.
For those after ultimate value when enjoying a bevvie out, try one of the pitchers (which you can get around three drinks out of). There are three flavours designed to quench your thirst without a strong alcohol content. During Wednesday happy hour 5-7pm you can get one of these delicious jugs for just $20!
The Howling Moon is a good reflection of what was, and what now is the new Rex. While the entire Hotel underwent a renovation, the rooftop bar was an upward extension which served its purpose to really elevate the hotel’s vibe.
Somewhere as magical as this venue could be perceived as exclusive, yet one of the best things about the Rex Hotel is that between this level and the Swan & King bar which sits one floor below, the public can always grab a drink.
The bar menu is serviced out of the main kitchen and is designed to suit a broad audience. In saying that, the menu is all the crowd favourites with a little flair and finesse. A rotating menu is also important to the team in order to service frequent visitors of the hotel.
For bar food I found the servings generous – you wouldn’t’ be able to get through a serving of the eggplant dipped in tahini all to yourself. A perfect pairing was the spiciness of the Asian kingfish with XO sauce to a cocktail. It’s hard to look past the house made bread and marinated olives or famous chicken wings, but if you’re looking to stray from the classics The Howling Moon cured salmon crostini sends the most welcomed hit of lime.
There’s something two dimensional about an evening at The Howling Moon. Imagine sipping on a Sunset Spirtz while watching the sun go down; crunching into a finger of tempura eggplant (which you can taste is at the prime of its year) while observing the season swiftly switch into Autumn beneath you.
After my last visit to The Howling Moon I have no doubts that locals favourite Lightrail stop will be the one just outside Rex Hotel.