Cairns is very much a night time city since the soaring temperatures and soggy humidity during the day prohibit any kind of vigorous activity during the day time. Of an evening, the international crowd flocks to bars and restaurants that pulsate with travelers from all backgrounds, and the variety of nightlife and atmosphere here is truly electric.
Bars are clustered around The Esplanade or downtown Cairns and visitors should have no trouble locating a venue that suits them. Backpacker hostels hold nightly parties and most bars have theme nights too. Since Cairns is a holiday town, Saturday night seems to take place seven nights a week here.
There are a number of galleries and exhibition centers that host visiting artists and sell a great range of Australian art at champagne-soaked opening nights. A dozen movie theaters and the Civic Theatre boast movies and live performances that are well attended by locals and tourists.
This is the nightlife focus of Cairns with all the hotels and the casino operating elegant and popular bars and clubs. Mondos at the Cairns Hilton is a typical example, with its glass features and tinkling cocktails just the tonic on a hot, steamy evening. Walking around the streets is the best way to explore.
The Blue Mango Café & Bar is one of the great happening spots at The Esplanade. Live jazz acts and cheap drink prices mean that it, along with most of the bars in this strip, are packed to the rafters after work on a Friday evening. Tourists fill up the spaces all through the weekend.
The Mad Cow Tavern and the Rhinobar are two of the hip spots on Spence Street, which is easily the hottest nightlife strip in Cairns. During holiday periods and particularly close of school term, the bars and nightclubs along Spence Street are so busy that security contractors are called in for the duration.
The Reef Casino's five bars include the Flinders Bar, which operates a hearty and very popular grill, and the Osprey Bar, which is a sports bar hosting all major live sports events. The Vertigo Bar & Lounge is open from 16:00 Tuesday to Sunday and is the Casino's main bar, popular with locals and visitors.