Santana Rooftop

Follow the glow from red neon lights to find this moody, winter-friendly rooftop bar in Melbourne's CBD.
Andrew Zuccala
Published on April 30, 2024


Most Melbourne rooftop bars aim to conquer the summer, rolling back the awnings to serve spritzes and pét-nats in the blistering sunshine. Sadly, these bars tend to empty out once winter trickles in and the days get shorter.

But Santana, the rooftop bar from Abjar Kasho (Bouvardia), really comes into its own once the sun goes down. Yes, it will be booming on hot days, but the Latin-influenced bar seems best suited to Melbourne's cooler and darker months.

Santana rooftop bar in Melbourne's CBD

At night, the Santana neon signs illuminate the whole bar in hazy red light, while plumes of smoke from fine cigars float out into the cityscape. There's a sultry mood here that we are all for.

There's also no need to BYO cigars. Kasho has entrusted Operations Manager Jack Tennant with the all-too-important task of curating a smoking menu, featuring everything from Cohiba Shorts ($18) to Partagas Serie D No. 4 ($94). And as there is no food menu, folks can smoke anywhere on the rooftop without fear of being ushered into a tiny smoker's space away from the fun.

But there's no need to fret if you aren't a smoker. This place isn't just frequented by cigar lads.

Santana rooftop bar in Melbourne's CBD

The team is pulling in a diverse crowd thanks to its collection of South American wines, Aussie beers, Latin-inspired cocktails and brown spirits. There's a 24-strong whisky list and a smattering of tequila, rum, brandy and cognac. It's the kind of stuff you swill around in a glass while musing on art and politics. At least that's the energy we're picking up.

The moody, winter-friendly rooftop is a stark contrast to the previous occupant of the site, Pomelo, which had a bright Miami art deco fit-out. Santana's for those wanting to embrace the spirit of the colder seasons, huddling up by heaters while sipping dark spirits.

Santana rooftop bar in Melbourne's CBD

Images: Long Boy Media


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