It’s pretty much written in stone that Melbourne is the Australian city you need to visit if you’re after incredible nightlife, culture (hello amazing art galleries) and just a good ol’ time.
Fortunately for you, we know the best bars in Melbourne for enjoying a simple glass of wine with a date or loved one, weekend beers with the boys, or somewhere to visit with a group of friends where you can share plates of food and enjoy plentiful banter. With Melbourne being home to a number of laneways, some of these bars can be tricky to find, but hunt them out and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with some nights to remember.
If you’re after something decidedly more casual, may we suggest you check out the coolest pubs Melbourne has to offer, and if you’re visiting the Southern city in summer you’ll no doubt want to enjoy some drinks at a rooftop bar instead? For all other occasions, these are some of the best bars Melbourne has to offer, whether you’re looking for a low-key dive bar, a whisky bar or a city wine shop, these are all the best places to kick your feet up and have a cold one.
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87 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, 3000
Trinket Bar certainly sits on the fence between bar and cocktail bar, with its cocktails being of superb quality and the drinks it’s most keen to promote.
However, with cold craft beers, a generous selection of wines and tasty pizzas and other small sharing plates of food being served from the kitchen, Trinket Bar becomes the perfect place to head with friends to catch up and spend a night. Situated just across from Federation Square, it’s in a prime spot, too.
16 Russell Place, Melbourne, 3000
To really turn things up to 11, Bar Ampere will happily serve some late-night absinthe, and the list on offer really does need to be seen to be believed. It’s huge. Of course, knowing that absinthe can send you over the edge, Bar Ampere has a delectable food menu too, so you can keep your stomach lined.
Opening late in the afternoon and going through all the way into the early hours of the following day, Bar Ampere is the perfect bar at which to finish a night off.
Beneath Driver Lane
3 Driver Lane, Melbourne, 3000
If you’re looking for one of the Melbourne’s best basement bars to get your cocktail fix, then you’ve come to the right place. Beneath Driver Lane is tucked away off Little Bourke Street and provides delicious drinks and great live music, the ultimate way to unwind after a long day.
Whilst Beneath Driver Lane could be regarded as more of a cocktail bar, the fact it slings a number of wines and beers from the bar (not to mention it receives consistently rave reviews) it deserves to be considered one of the best all-round bars instead. Taking up residence in the vault of Melbourne’s old Money Order Office, BDL will definitely give you a night to remember. Classic cocktails are the order of the day, but with a number of top-shelf wines and world-famous whiskies to choose from, you’re spoilt for choice.
Mornane Place, Melbourne, 3000
Arlechin isn’t the easiest of bars to find in Melbourne, nor does its website give much away about what you can expect. All it tells you is where to find it, and that it’s walk-in only.
Alas, we implore you to seek it out, as the bar (owned by the notorious Grossi family) will reward you with a scintillating list of cocktails, wines and some food that is simply to die for. Best of all, it’s open until the early hours, so a midnight meatball feast is perfectly achievable.
249 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne 3000
Be transported back to 1920s Prohibition Era America as soon as you step through the doors to Father’s Office. Fortunately, the consumption of alcohol is most definitely allowed at this bar in Melbourne CBD, with a complementary selection of food.
Perched above Little Lonsdale and Swanston Streets, Father’s Office also gives you the chance to stare down to the streets below from the large balcony, or you can make your way into the main bar to enjoy a generous selection of whiskey, rum and locally-sourced tap beers.
Pedestrian Bridge, Southbank, 3006
Now for something a little different. Ponyfish Island is, quite literally, an island, found floating on the Yarra River underneath Pedestrian Bridge at Southbank.
Ponyfish welcomes patrons from morning through to the evening, with breakfast, lunch and dinner all being made available from the kitchen. It has been on the receiving end of an extensive renovation, meaning the bar is better than ever and an absolute must-visit next time you find yourself in Melbourne.
96 Chapel St, Windsor 3181
If you’re looking for an impressive bar serving an impressive list of cocktails, Jungle Boy is the best-kept secret since the unveiling of Beyoncé’s pregnancy photo.
Jungle Boy looks like your average meatball sandwich shop from the outside, but behind the coolroom exit door lies a hidden bar serving the crisp beers and cheeky tiki cocktails. The cosy beer garden has an intimate feel and jungle aesthetic filled with decorative plants and colourful lighting. If you want to check out this little hidden gem of a bar, make sure you book ahead, as it tends to fill up very quickly.
Arbory Bar & Eatery
1 Flinders Walk, Melbourne 3000
Taking alfresco seating to a whole new level is Arbory Bar & Eatery. This luxurious bar in Melbourne CBD offers breathtaking views of the city, and has a great selection of the tastiest wines and cocktails.
This chic, spacious riverside venue is officially Melbourne’s longest bar, as it stretches across the north banks of the Yarra River. Launched in 2015 by Tim Botterill, who set out to create a unique dinner experience that his customers never forget. It’s safe to say Arbory Bar & Eatery did just that, as you won’t find another Melbourne bar quite like it.
Kirk’s Wine Bar
46 Hardware Ln, Melbourne 3000
This funky establishment was once home to the Kirk’s Bazaar Hotel but has now transformed into one of the best bars for wine lovers in the city. Situated on the corner of Little Bourke Street and Hardware Lane, this divine bar has speciality wines and a curated menu, all served within a chic space and patio, bringing a little taste of Europe to you.
Kirk’s is buzzing with great energy from the moment to step in as you’re always greeted by friendly faces met with impeccable service. Inside there’s a wine shop, in case you want to take a few bottles to go.
234A Russell Street, Melbourne, 3000
If classic rock anthems and cocktails is your idea of a good time, then Heartbreaker could just become your new favourite bar in Melbourne. The jukebox in the corner is controlled by the clientele, so if you want to play DJ, get there early and secure yourself a spot nearby.
As for the drinks, there are four pre-batched cocktails on offer, with the idea being you receive your drink faster than the time it takes you to get your wallet out your pocket. The bar itself is dimly lit, but when you’ll likely be spending your time here well into the early hours, that’s exactly what you’re going to want.
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