Melbourne isn’t just all bars and nightclubs, it’s actually a city home to some of the best pubs you’ll find Down Under. Pubs are special places, we head there to meet others for catch-up drinks, where workers go after a long day, and where you want to go at the weekend for some live music, good times and some decent banter.
The annoying thing is, however, Melbourne is home to an ungodly number of them. Clearly, its residents really do love a tipple. So which ones should you be seeking out for your next evening or weekend of boozing? Allow us to guide you and recommend some of the best pubs in Melbourne, both in the CBD and the surrounding suburbs.
In this story…
- Melbourne CBD
- Prahran/South Yarra/Richmond/St Kilda
The Crafty Squire
127 Russell Street, Melbourne, 3000
The Crafty Squire is an absolute must-visit for anyone who claims to love beer. Part of the James Squire family, it features the only working microbrewery in Melbourne’s CBD, and will gladly serve you a range of beers from pale ales, to pilsners, to stouts. Add some of the best pub grub into the mix and some hipster-tastic decor and you have yourself the perfect weekend boozer.
Turf Sports Bar
131 Queen Street, Melbourne, 3000
Pubs and live sport go hand in hand, and if you agree (we can’t imagine you won’t) you’ll want to head to the Turf Sports Bar. With six plasma screens strategically located around the venue, you’re never too far from some top sporting action. If your TV setup at home doesn’t quite cut the mustard, then you’re also able to hire out one of three private screening booths, complete with surround sound, to watch your team in peace. How good.
2-8 Bourke Street, Melbourne, 3000
What if we told you Melbourne was home to a rooftop pub? You’d be asking directions right away, surely. That’s exactly what’s on offer at the Imperial Hotel. Not only does this rooftop watering hole offer a salacious selection of beers and spirits, but it’s also home to a jumbotron screen for showing live sporting events. As they say themselves, “If they’re playing, we play it”.
282 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, 3000
This inner-city establishment is owned and run by a family who has decades of experience in hospitality, so have learnt along the way exactly what it is customers want from their local boozer. Within the confines of the 164-year old building’s walls is a bar that welcomes anyone and everyone no matter their story. Screens dotted around the venue display the latest live sport, and with a predominantly Australian beer list, it adds a dose of local comfort.
Young & Jackson
Corner Swanston & Flinders Streets, Melbourne, 3000
You can’t get a more iconic or landmark location in the city than Young & Jackson. Situated across from Flinders Street Station and Federation Square, Young & Jackson should be your first port of call if you catch a train into the city. The building itself dates back to 1861 – who doesn’t love a pub with an old-world feel? – but has since been restored to keep it structurally sound, and with two bars split over two levels, there’s every reason to drink and be merry.
2 Driver Lane, Melbourne, 3000
Named after the incredibly rare and valuable British stamp, Penny Blue is found within the historic Money Order Office building. The intimate and cosy space inside has some 150 beers on offer across tap and bottle, so we imagine you’d need a few visits to sample them all (you’ll have to be quick, as they’re on constant rotation) and if you want to risk contracting RSI in your thumb, you can head to the website to scroll through the entire list. If you love beer, you have to visit Penny Blue.
The Drunken Poet
65 Peel Street, West Melbourne, 3003
It’s often said that Guinness in Australia will never compare to what you’d taste in its home country of Ireland. The Drunken Poet aims to put that connotation to bed, with its distinctly Irish charm. If you’re not convinced, then perhaps the fact The Drunken Poet is the only pub in Australia to be voted one of the best Irish pubs in the world (outside Ireland), should persuade you to pay a visit.
Naturally, Guinness is poured on tap, but for those whose tastebuds prefer something different, a small range of local beers and Irish and Scottish whiskeys is on offer too.
Garden State Hotel
101 Flinders Ln, Melbourne, 3000
If you’re looking for something a little more luxurious than your usual run down sports pub, stop by Garden State Hotel. Located along Flinders Lane, this lively venue has indoor beer gardens and huge function spaces where you can enjoy the finest craft beer and cocktails, while upstairs, there’s a Garden Grill, serving up some of the best pub food in the city.
191 Grattan Street, Carlton, 3053
If you fancy being surrounded by a group of University students, there’s nowhere better than Prince Alfred. Located pretty much next door to The University of Melbourne, this huge venue has an equally huge range of beers on tap for you to swig to your heart’s content. Beer in hand, you’ll easily be able to find some students to debate current affairs or have them school you on their specialist subject.
The Clyde Hotel
385 Cardigan Street, Carlton, 3053
The list of tap beers may not be as extensive as some other best boozers on this list, but The Clyde Hotel puts a strong emphasis on creating a traditional pub environment. It boasts a number of different drinking spots, including a large main bar, a lounge area and a beer garden. The food menu lists off classic fare and with TV screens showing live sport, The Clyde Hotel becomes the perfect all-rounder.
The Standard Hotel
293 Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy, 3065
The Standard Hotel has been serving beer since 1865 and has cemented itself as one of the finest drinking establishments in Fitzroy. Key to that is its welcoming attitude – you won’t have the locals turn and stare at you if you’re from out of town – along with its large (by city standards) beer garden. The Standard serves up a traditional pub atmosphere without any gimmicky tactics, instead, relying on its quality beer and wine selection, matched with delicious grub and live music.
27 St David Street, Fitzroy, 3065
Another Melbourne drinking joint with hundreds of years worth of history, the Rainbow Hotel also has hundreds of beers being served behind the bar. The kitchen dishes out some of the best food in the area and the rotating list of live bands and pool table will be sure to keep everyone entertained. A no-fuss pub for sure.
252 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 3065
Some may consider Black Cat to be more of a bar, but with a generous selection of craft beers available for consumption and a huge beer garden in which to drink them, we’d say it’s firmly in pub territory. Blackcat also hosts regular art exhibitions, displaying the art of local residents and a number of resident DJs will keep the tunes pumping long into the night.
Stomping Ground Beer & Brewing Co.
100 Gipps Street, Collingwood, 3066
Stomping Ground Brewery isn’t just a top pub where you can enjoy delicious brews with friends and families, it’s an independent brewery too. The Collingwood beer hall is the flagship, but Stomping Ground also has a presence within the airport.
The Collingwood location is where you’ll want to be though, with a vast open-ceiling space that exudes industrial and loft-style décor. A huge, centrally-located fire pit is the focal point and since it doesn’t long for the crowds to gather, we suggest you find yourself a spot early in the day to drink long into the afternoon and evening.
Prahran/South Yarra/Richmond/St Kilda
College Lawn Hotel
36 Greville Street, Prahran, 3181
The College Lawn Hotel is the quintessential Sunday day drinking spot. The sprawling outdoor area is the perfect place to drink away the hours and with 14 beers on tap, we imagine you’d happily find yourself a seating area to sample them all.
18 TV screens placed around the venue show all the latest live sport, and if you find you’ve had one too many and are unable to get home, on-site accommodation will provide you with somewhere to rest your weary head. Definitely one of the best pubs south of the Yarra.
The Silverlake Social
198 Chapel Street, Prahran, 3181
This Prahran joint brings a taste of Southern California to Melbourne, serving up American craft beers and all the typical Southern and smokehouse foods you can think of: think chicken wings, mac ‘n’ cheese and hot dogs. With regular drinks specials and events being held, it’s Social by name and social by nature.
The Windsor Castle
89 Albert Steet, Windsor, 3181
You quite literally cannot miss The Windsor Castle when walking around the backstreets of Windsor. The lime green facade can be spotted a mile away (maybe not literally) and once you’re inside you’re greeted by a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Head out to the tropical-themed beer garden when the weather is particularly pleasant to be served drinks from a bamboo-clad bar, or party the night away at the weekend with in-house DJs.
Jimmy O’Neills Whiskey & Ale House
154-156 Acland Street, St Kilda, 3182
This Irish-influenced pub has a wide range of Irish whiskeys and ales serving at the bar, along with a few others from other countries, it wants to be seen as all-compassing, after all. It’s one of the only places in Australia where you can get your face etched onto a pint of Guinness, if you feel so inclined and sends out an eclectic range of food from the kitchen. It’s all about having a good time at Jimmy O’Neill’s, and with it being positioned close to the tram line, you can have a great time and still find your way home.
The Local Taphouse
184 Carlisle Street, East St Kilda, 3183
The Local Taphouse was founded in 2008 on an undivided love of beer. Over 400 different beers pass through the taps each year, so it’s highly likely you’ll be able to sample something different upon each visit. The food is just as delectable too, and changes with the seasons, and each dish can be paired with a matching beer so you can easily become the beer connoisseur you’re destined to be.
Flying Duck Hotel
7 Bendigo St, Prahran VIC 3181
This hidden gem is tucked away behind the back streets of Chapel Street and offers a lot of versatility with its dog-friendly beer garden, private dining room and lounge. For private dinners, set yourself up in Duck Room, otherwise, get rowdy in their courtyard. Also, with head chef Jonathan Corso curating the menu, Flying Duck cooks up a little more than your standard hearty pub grub. Duck Breast Saltimbocca anyone?
57 Swan St, Richmond 3121
Corner Hotel is one of the best pubs in Melbourne for live music showcasing local and international acts. This cosy corner drinking hole even has a rooftop area that serves up the perfect blend of modern and rustic vibes, offering a gorgeous view of the CBD. So put on your loud band tees and your ripped jeans, it’s gonna be a long, wild night.