Melbourne is a city known for its top-quality nightlife. So it’s no surprise there are a number of world-class cocktail bars just waiting to serve you some of the best drinks you’ve ever tasted. Whether you’re keen to try a bar’s signature concoctions, or just want a classic such as an Old Fashioned, Melbourne has it all.
Of course, great-tasting drinks do not a good cocktail bar make, you want a cocktail bar with atmosphere, good music and an enviable location that keeps you close to the rest of the nightlife action Melbourne has to offer.
But where exactly are these wonderous bars that house excellent alchemic creations? Allow us to divulge and bring to you the definitive list of the best cocktail bars in Melbourne. Many of them are hidden bars, so you’ll want to make sure you know where you’re heading before you sink too many beers, but once found, they’ll reward you with a night to remember. Here are the best Melbourne cocktail bars to have to try in 2023.
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State Of Grace
27 King Street, Melbourne, 3000
One of Melbourne’s best-loved hidden bars is State Of Grace. Tucked away inside the main restaurant, to access the joint, you’ll need to remove a book from a shelf which will open a secret door to a room laden with a marble staircase, chandeliers, candles and velvet lining all around for the cool cats of the night. The bar serves up a mixture of signature house and classic cocktails, alongside an extensive selection of wine that dominates the venue’s walls.
96 Chapel Street, Windsor, 3181
Head down the Windsor end of Chapel Street and you’ll stumble upon the New York-style drinking establishment of Jungle Boy – hands down one of Melbourne’s best cocktail bars. Entry is via a cool room door inside the late-night sandwich joint, Boston Sub.
Inside is tiny, but the character is bigger than Ben Hur with taxidermy, luscious greens, low light and eclectic furniture gracing the space. When the fun’s over, head back out for a pulled pork sandwich before heading home.
Level 4/264 Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000
Named after the children’s fairytale, Goldilocks is a bar that promises to be “just right.” A rooftop bar, Goldilocks has an eclectic range of cocktails on offer, with the bartenders taking classic drinks and giving them decidedly modern twists to create some incredible drinks.
Goldilocks is all about sustainability too, being virtually plastic-free, recycling everything they possibly can, and supporting as many local producers as possible. If you fancy visiting this bar (and to be honest, you should) you’ll need to hop in the elevator and head up to level four on the Denyers Building. Once the doors slide open to the first level or roof, you’ll be greeted with an intimate space serving top-notch drinks including cocktails, craft beer and a killer view of the skyline.
Loch & Key
34 Franklin Street, Melbourne, 3000
Beautifully appointed, Loch & Key can be found tucked away on top of Captain Melville on Franklin Street in the heart of Melbourne CBD. The team behind this bar envisage it to be a place where anyone feels comfortable to visit, no matter their poison.
Loch & Key’s eight bartenders have 150 collective years of experience, so you are quite literally guaranteed to be served a delicious cocktail. If you don’t like the look of any of their signature creations, just tell them the flavours you do like and the team will get to work to ensure you leave satisfied.
Pizza Pizza Pizza
16 Meyers Place, Melbourne, 3000
Yes, this is a pizza shop first and foremost. But, we’ll let you in on a little secret. Go inside and ask for the secret menu or to check out the back kitchen, and the staff will walk you through to a fully-fledged cocktail bar.
Don’t get us wrong, the pizza being served up in the front bar is well worth checking out too, but you’re here for some drinks, and the cocktails being served up are oh so delicious. The bar itself technically doesn’t have a name,
One of the easier finds on the hidden bar hit list is located on Gertrude Street in the Melbourne CBD. Come here for the flawless cocktails from bar staff who know their sh*t. Once you’ve selected your poison, make your way over to the marble bar or cosy leather booths surrounded by dark wood and dim lighting. Classy date night? You betcha.
Address: Level 1/150-156 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, 3065
Phone: 03 9416 2229
In true signature Melbourne small bar style, Moonshine is an indie-inspired hole in the wall bar located behind The Owl and Cat Theatre in Richmond. It’s a tight squeeze but if you do find your spot in the laneway or in front of the fireplace, you’ll be able to enjoy a Golden Ticket cocktail made by budding actors and artists.
Address: 8 George Street, South Melbourne, 3205
Get in touch with your darker side at The Woods of Windsor, a hip bar with an old school fit out catering to lovers of craft beer, rare spirits and premium grub that’s a stab above your average pub fare. A big reason for this is because it’s also a semi-restaurant for seasoned foodies. But back to the drinking. It’s a space that embraces its masculinity through its furniture, dimmed downlighting and animals strewn about. Did someone say underground secret society?
Address: 108 Chapel Street, Windsor, 3181
Phone: 03 9077 4407
Cicciolina Back Bar
Since its arrival on the scene in 1993, Cicciolina has clawed its way to the top as a prime St Kilda haunt for fans of modern Italian cuisine. We’re not here to talk about food though. Sitting quietly behind the restaurant is the Cicciolina’s back bar, an old school drinking hole that wholeheartedly embraces its surroundings from the matured decor to the suburb’s eclectic past. Amongst all of that punters will find highly personable bartenders who’ll turn a round of drinks into a Sunday afternoon session at an old friend’s.
Address: 130 Acland Street, St Kilda, 3182
Phone: 03 9525 3333
The name might be obscure but there’s nothing confusing about what 1806 is here to do – serve up some of the city’s finest cocktails, whiskies and beer. It’s a full-service affair here with matching whisky cheeses, custom brewed beer and stuff like 1,000 day-aged Gouda all served up in an elegant setting that harks back to the pre-war era of 1930s glam.
Address: 169 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, 3000
Phone: 03 9663 7722
Immerse yourself in the cosy surrounds of Bar Americano, a space adorned with copper and dark wood accents to mimic the quintessential New York charm. The bar is a world-class venue – and claims to be home to world’s best Negroni – which has garnered attention from its concoctions by bartender Hayden Lambert.
By day Lambert serves the working crowd with espressos and almond biscotti whilst by night, the mad scientist appears. Beautifully balanced cocktails, buzzing atmosphere and a true drinker’s watering hole makes this one of the coolest bars in Melbourne.
Address: 20 Presgrave Place, Melbourne, 3000
The Black Pearl
Mellow out in style with a drink in hand and a very chilled out atmosphere to boot. The surrounds are sophisticated but it’s definitely got a more relaxed vibe with guests kicking back on ottomans to complex cocktails delivered by some of the most talented in the game. Be warned though that peace and quiet dissipates rather quickly come Friday and the weekend. To keep people intrigued, all of their drinks are created in-house along with snacks until 10pm. Winning.
Address: 304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 3065
Phone: 03 9417 0455
Naked In The Sky
Be warned. The name of this place is not a dress code requisite. What it is though is a very trendy open terrace complete with an attached bar, lounge and restaurant. Naked For Satan also has a gorgeous rooftop bar overlooking the city skyline and Brunswick Street. To access this coveted area, one must enter a shifty but certified looking lift shaft which the architects assure us are safe. Once there you’ll have a choice of over a dozen beers on tap along with in-house infused vodka and Spanish and Australian wines. Chase that summer sun by rocking up early to avoid the crowds.
Address: 285 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 3065
Phone: 03 9416 2238
Though this iconic venue is primarily known for malt whiskey and craft beer, Boilermaker House is preparing delicious cocktails, not to mention they make a mean espresso martini. This relaxed, old-timey hideaway also has an extensive food menu featuring charcuterie boards, burgers and fresh oysters served rustic slabs of wood. Make sure you book before heading in, as this bar is usually packed, especially on weekends. This conveniently located bar is also a 3-minute walk from The State Library.
Address: 209-211 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 03 8393 9367
Eau De Vie
Eau De Vie is the pinnacle of Melbourne’s cocktail scene and one of our favourite cocktail bars, as they serve world-class drinks that heighten fruity flavours made from the finest liqueurs. Located on Malthouse Lane, this 1920’s-inspired Probihiton bar is a master at what they do as they also offer an elaborate five-course whiskey and cocktail degustation dinner if you’re looking for something more than dinner and a show.
Additionally, Eau De Vie serves tasty craft beer, wine and has a curated dinner menu, showcasing their gorgeous season produce. Plus, behind their bookcase lies a hidden lounge, the best cocktail bar to unwind.
Address: 1 Malthouse Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 03 8393 9367