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The 26 Best Bars in Melbourne

Whether you're on the hunt for an extensive wine collection, a luxe date-night spot or a place to have a little boogie, these are our picks for the best bars in Melbourne.
By Concrete Playground and Andrew Zuccala
January 25, 2024
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By Concrete Playground and Andrew Zuccala
January 25, 2024
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THE 26 BEST BARS IN MELBOURNE

Whether you're on the hunt for an extensive wine collection, a luxe date-night spot or a place to have a little boogie, these are our picks for the best bars in Melbourne.

You're going to find Melbourne's best bars scattered all over the city — up on sun-drenched rooftops, along graffiti-clad laneways and down in hidden basements. But it's not all about location.

There are so many styles of bars to choose from, too. Do you go high-end, ordering martinis, champagne and oysters? Is an old-school neighbourhood wine and cocktail bar more your speed? Or do you want a late-night spot that gets a little rowdy once the tables are pushed aside to make a heaving dance floor? Whatever you're after, this list of the 26 best bars in Melbourne will have you well and truly sorted.

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Recommended reads:
The Best Wine Bars in Melbourne
The Best Pubs in Melbourne
The Best Restaurants in Melbourne
The Best Bars in Melbourne's CBD

  • 26
    Best bar melbourne - the keys bowling alley with large bar behind it

    This Preston bowling alley come social club and arcade bar is what nostalgia-filled dreams are made of. The team behind  DexterTakeaway PizzaKenny Lover and Dom’s Social Club has created this vintage venue that holds up to 600 people — within the three bars, on the dancefloor, by the lanes and out at the massive beer garden. It is a huge spot made for big days and nights out with mates.

    On tap, you’ll find up to 48 different beers (most of which are locally brewed) as well as Big Lebowski-style White Russians. The team then mixes up your usual suspects to order — think margaritas, espresso martinis and Old Fashioneds. Fat slices of pizza, chicken parmas and burgers round out The Keys’ old school experience, helping make it one of the best bars in Melbourne.

    Image: Jack Lovel

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  • 25
    A person pouring beer at the bar at Beermash - one of the Best bars melbourne

    Beermash ain’t your standard grog shop. The industrial-style space has exposed brick walls and an impressive 20 taps built into the wall behind the counter. Although owner Kieran Hennessy and partner Shayne Dixon initially built the shop around take-home ‘growlers’ and ‘squealers’ (refillable bottles of 1.89 litres and 950 millilitres, respectively), there’s never any shortage of people taking advantage of the drink-in options.

    There are a few stools set up inside and there are stacks of seats out on Collingwood’s Smith Street. Grab a spot outside when the sun is shining and take your time exploring the long list of expertly curated beers — or some of the few wines and cocktails available. And if you time it right, you’ll catch some chill DJ sessions on a busy weekend arvo.

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  • 24
    Carlton Wine ROom - one of the best restaurants in Melbourne.

    The Carlton Wine Room had quite the shake-up when it reopened in 2018 — even if it did keep the same name — with new owners, a new look and a revamped offering. Wine is certainly still the star of the show here, but the food is anything but a mere second thought.

    The menu is designed to complement the 100-strong, ever-changing wine list and leans into European bistro territory. Small bite-sized snacks and a wide variety of cheese boards kick things off, but unlike most Melbourne bars, the larger plates are here in spades. It can be tough to choose from all the dining options, hence why we opt for the $95 set menu every time we visit. Like with the drinks, we let the team tell us what we should be eating.

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  • 23
    people throwing streamers off the balcony at Ferdydurke- one of the Best bars melbourne CBD

    Hidden two flights above Section 8 on Tattersalls Lane, Ferydurke is the more laidback — though still loose — version of its sister venue. The small Melbourne bar offers regular live music and DJ sets, an impressive cocktail list and relaxed party vibes aplenty.

    The best spot to pull up a chair is in the back corner, where a large wooden fireplace is often ablaze on a winter’s night. Pull up a stool and get stuck in with a mulled wine or a negroni before hitting the dance floor later in the evening when DJs and drag performers bring the party to this New York-style loft bar.

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  • 22
    the rooftop space at Dom's Social Club -Best bar melbourne

    The multi-level CBD space, once home to Cheek and Peaches, was reborn post-pandemic as Dom’s Social Club — a casual three-storey haunt championing classic drinks, top-notch charcuterie and handmade pizza.

    Level one is home to the pizzeria, where you’ll feast on light, puffy woodfired pizzas crafted using a three-day slow fermented sourdough — accompanied by a stellar wine list focusing on Italian tipples. Up a set of stairs you’ll find the warm RSL-style space featuring nostalgic memorabilia, a free-to-play pool table and a fridge full of dry-aged meats showing off the owners’ penchant for quality charcuterie. And then there’s the rooftop. Find one of Melbourne’s best bars up here, where you can enjoy a few gems from the venue’s expert curation of local spirits and classic cocktails.

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  • 21
    A bartender making cocktails for guests at Caz Reitop's Dirty Secrets on Smith Street - one of the best bars in Melbourne

    With an unusually late licence (until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays), this late-night Melbourne bar is a must for those partying in Collingwood. During these nights, the curtained booths down the back of this small prohibition-style bar fill up fast while night crawlers also crowd the bar, the few tables that line the wall and the stools by the window, eventually sprawling outside where the busy Smith Street is heaving with folks lining up for Yah YahsThe Lame Duck, and Wows.

    Caz Reitop’s Dirty Secrets, one of the best bars in Melbourne, has stacks of beers and wines available, but this local spot is best known for its long list of cocktails made by the super laidback and friendly bartenders who know exactly what they’re doing. It’s even home to one of the best espresso martinis in town, guaranteed to keep you going until the early hours.

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  • 20
    two bartenders working at the bar with a big shelf full of records — Waxflower — one of the best wine bars in Melbourne

    Swing by Waxflower, a Brunswick neighbourhood wine bar, for minimal intervention wines, local craft beer on tap and great coffee — stick around all night for the banging soundtrack. This Weston Street spot’s music edit is as considered as its food and wine offer, thanks to two custom-built, wall-mounted speakers, designed by Hobart designers Pitt & Giblin, that feed music generously into the space — which itself features walls that have been specifically designed for better acoustic treatment.

    The music is curated by a revolving lineup of local and (when possible) international DJs, and is not defined or limited by genre, but instead aims to champion rarity, diversity and inclusivity through tracks that might not necessarily find their way into the clubs. The wine list is another star of the show, heroing minimal intervention and natural winemakers who use only Indigenous yeasts to create totally unique drops.

    Image: Julia Sansone.

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  • 19
    the hidden bar at HER - The Music Room - one of the Best bars in melbourne

    For lovers of sound and great cocktails, the most exciting offering of four-storey mega-venue HER (from the guys behind Arbory and Arbory Afloat) is Music Room. Up at this hidden Melbourne bar, you’ll find yourself sipping mandarin Cosmopolitans, Golden Gay Time milk punches or perhaps something from the bumper lineup of champagne, as you kick back listening to exclusive DJ residencies and HER’s 3000-strong collection of hard-to-find vinyl.

    The space itself is lined with American walnut panels, dotted with small holes to give the feel that you’re inside a giant speaker box. You even enter the venue through a sound-locked room that’s pretty easy to miss — these guys take acoustic fidelity very seriously.

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  • 18
    Best bars melbourne - city wine shop spring street CBD

    Situated opposite Parliament and alongside the theatre strip, City Wine Shop is not the place to venture for a beer and happy hour special. On the contrary, this is the Melbourne CBD bar you go to for a glass of chablis, cheese board and a serve of fried artichokes — or even some fine caviar and champagne.

    Choose from the by-the-glass wine list — which changes regularly — or simply buy a bottle from the on-premise bottle shop and settle in at an outdoor table, overlooking the Spring Street suits. It’s a classic setting for year-round romance, whether you’re seeking sanctuary from winter inside the rich wooden warmth, or a splash of sun with your latte on a street-side seat.

    Image: Tess Kelly

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  • 17
    an empty bar with stools at the everleigh- one of the best melbourne bars

    The Everleigh is so very Melbourne — hidden where only those in the know can find it, up a flight of stairs above a restaurant. This sophisticated speakeasy from the Made In The Shade group is fitted out in marble, leather and mahogany, with a stunning vintage chandelier lighting up the long polished bar.

    At this highly-awarded Melbourne bar, cocktails hail from ‘the golden age’, when fixes, fizzes, Old Fashioneds, sours and Sazeracs were considered as compulsory as a ramrod-straight spine. It’s the perfect place for a first date — the cocktail list is relatively short and full of winners, though the bartenders will also happily (and skilfully) whip you up a drink according to your particular tastes.

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  • 16
    The exterior of Bar Ampere in Melbourne CBD - one of the best bars in Melbourne CBD - late-night-

    Bar Ampere is serving up back-alley Parisian bar vibes, in all the best ways. Head down Russell Place in Melbourne’s CBD any night of the week to find this small but mighty late-night drinking and dining spot filled with those in the know.

    Find classic European small bites like raclettes, steak tartare, and ham and cheese croquettes alongside some bigger mouthfuls like burgers and sandos. But it’s the drinks list that makes Melbourne’s Bar Ampere stand out. The cocktail and spirits menu is vast, so we suggest you get one of the waiters to recommend your first drink. Tell them your tastes and they’ll bring you one of their own creations. As you sip on cocktail number one — there ought to be many — read through the rest of the drinking options and choose your next poison.

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  • 15
    Dessous - one of the best bars in Melbourne CBD.

    Melbourne added to its ever-growing collection of basement drinking dens with the arrival of The Mulberry Group’s Dessous. Gracing the Flinders Lane space beneath sibling Hazel in the T&G Building, Dessous is one of the city’s finest hideaway wine bars.

    Dessous is a warm and moody assembly of deep greens, plush velvet and dark timber — a comfy, subterranean escape you’ll be in no rush to leave. The food menu consists of a few light bites and sharing plates, while the drinks menu is truly stacked. Get around the mighty big international wine list, or opt for some stellar signature cocktails.

    Image: Jana Langhorst

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  • 14
    people drinking in the sun at Siglo rooftop bar in Melbourne - one of the best bars in melbourne

    Siglo is an old favourite among many a Melbourne city worker. It was once somewhat of a hidden gem, located up a narrow set of stairs on Spring Street — but these days the word is well and truly out. The Melbourne rooftop bar gets packed with suits after work and the late-night drinkers flock here until close at 3am.

    Up at Siglo, it is all very European, from the old school Parisian-style chairs and tables topped with white linen to the food and drinks menu. During hot afternoons, the rooftop is full of spritz drinkers, and as the sun sets over Parliament House, the vermouth sipping, red wine swirling Melburnians take over — adding some small plates of charcuterie and olives to their luxe bar experience. You can even order from Siglo’s cigar menu if you’re feeling up for hitting the humidor.

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  • 13
    the main bar at Bar Margaux - one of the best bars in Melbourne

    The team behind The Everleigh and Heartbreaker — two drinking haunts that also make our list of the best bars in Melbourne — has also created this chic but still laidback French underground bar and restaurant.

    At Bar Margaux, the fun kicks on till midnight weekdays and 3am Fridays and Saturdays (a rarity with venues of this sort in the CBD), with a substantial supper menu of classic French fare on offer right through to close. So, if your late-night munchies tend to sway closer to caviar than kebabs, this is the place to go. Order some champagne or cocktails and pair it all with some oysters, steak frites and cote de boeuf. It’s for those feeling fancy after midnight.

    Image: Gareth Sobey

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  • 12
    Best bar melbourne - a red neon sign heartbreaker CBD with people drinking beneath

    Wild child Heartbreaker is an easy addition to this list of the best bars in Melbourne. It’s an American-style dive bar through and through, oozing cool-kid attitude and promising good times aplenty. We’re talking red neon signs, black leather booths, a pool table and a jukebox chock full of old school rock ‘n’ roll. With a 3am closing time Thursday through Saturday, no less.

    Refreshment options include a solid slew of both local and US craft beers, with a tidy tap rotation serving up plenty of hits from the likes of Hop NationGrifterPhilter and Stomping Ground. A strong selection of whisky, mezcal and tequila is primed for rocking nights out, while the cocktail lineup showcases the full range of Everleigh Bottling Co batched sips — from famed classics like the negroni and martini, to sparkling creations like the gin-infused Fruit Cup.

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  • 11
    a bowl of burrata at Lourinha - one of the Best bars melbourne - home to one of the best private dining rooms in Melbourne

    With people queuing for a table at 7pm on a Wednesday night, you can tell there’s got to be something damn good about Melbourne’s Bar Lourinha. Upon closer inspection, it is a combination of the three all-important aspects of any great venue: food, wine and service. It also helps that it feels like a tiny slice of Spain right here in Melbourne.

    The wine list is heavily focused on European offerings; Spain, France and Italy are the main contenders here. And the food? Tapas style. Start the evening with salted cod croquettes before moving onto a heavenly seafood paella or the rich slow-cooked veal that’s been doused in a thick walnut sauce. You can take your time at this beloved Melbourne bar, ordering food and drinks as you go.

    Image: Jo Gamvros

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  • 10
    a group of people drinking together at Mr West in Footscray - one of the Best bars in melbourne

    What happens when a bunch of affable booze reps turn their hands to opening a bar? You get Mr West — a bottleshop and bar in Footscray that offers flagons of rosé and more beers than your mates could squirrel away for a winter weekend away. The downstairs bottleshop is open every day. And you can sit in amongst the dark woody hues, enjoying a brew with your hops-loving cohort. There are shelves of beers — sours, stouts, IPAs, you name it — with regular staff reccos and guest brews always hitting the right spot.

    It’s the kind of place you head to for an after-work drink, take your dog to on weekends (to the upstairs pup-friendly area) or rock up to solo and sit amongst the locals. And while it’s the 24 taps of beer that have been drawing the crowds, we are equally obsessed with this the mezcal range at this Melbourne bar. Hand-selected from locals in Mexico and gifts from friends, the offerings are rare and unique. You can even drink your way thought them during one of the Friday night tastings.

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  • 9
    Best bars melbourne - libean empty bar with wine bottles lined above - bar liberty - one of the best wine bars in melbourne

    This standout Melbourne bar is a destination for flavour lovers who aren’t afraid to try a few new things. Sure, you could stick with your favourite rosé and a spread of charcuterie and leave (very) happy, but creativity reigns supreme on both the menu and drinks list, so it’s well worth digging a little deeper.

    The sommelier will wheel around an old-school globe bar trolley to tempt you with the evening’s pouring wines. But if you’re after something different, you’ll probably find yourself sipping on cocktails or some of the specially curated craft beers. The food is a must here, too. Order some of the creative sharing plates, that include the likes of grilled lamb tongue skewers drenched in a sweet and sour apple and garum glaze, and the cured venison with beets and bone marrow. Expect the wonderfully unexpected at Bar Liberty.

    Image: Brook James

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  • 8
    A busy bar full of people at Embla - one of the best wine bars in Melbourne - CBD

    Brought to you by those clever folks behind the Town Mouse (that sadly closed back in 2018), the Russell Street wine bar is instantly inviting, with a chic, yet warm, European charm. The cosy confines mark it as perfect date night material, while stools lining the bar and open kitchen lend themselves perfectly to some sophisticated solo dining.

    A considered pouring list plays to both the curious and the more conservative. Here, you’ll feel just as comfortable sipping a chardonnay from Mornington as you will avoiding a hangover with a low-intervention number. Technique-driven, but not pretentiously so, the food at Embla is as great as you’d expect from the Town Mouse team; the menu proves a winning blend of comforting flavours and chef flair. All of this combines to make one of the very best bars in Melbourne.

    Images: Thomas E. Graham

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  • 7
    A couple people drinking at the bar at Leonard's House of Love - one of the best bars in Melbourne

    You’d be forgiven for thinking that Chapel Street was a rather long way away while spending some time in Leonard’s House of Love. Its vibe is log cabin-meets-house party, and even though there’s a fair serving of timber in the decor, it’s more saloon than sauna, so plonk yourself down at a table (inside or out in the courtyard) and peruse the drinks list.

    Choose from an array of tap beers or plump for a cocktail and sip it down while you decide on some nosh. The menu consists mainly of greasy goodies like fried chicken sandos, burgers and loaded fries. Avoid falling into a food coma by hitting up the pool table or the dance floor — a great spot to shuffle the night away with DJs until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays. One night here, and you’ll quickly see why its one of the best bars in Melbourne.

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  • 6
    Etta wine bar and restaurant - one of the best restaurants in Melbourne. And one of the best bars in Melbourne.

    Opening in 2017, Brunswick East’s Etta was an instant hit among both local food and wine lovers. Hannah Green (Rosetta) runs the show and is supported by Rosheen Kaul in the kitchen and Ashley Boburka in the wine cellar. The trio champions all things local, fresh and seasonal (with a strong focus on small producers), meaning change is a big part of everything here.

    Kaul’s Kashmiri, Peranakan, Chinese and Filipino heritage inspires the food menu, while wine is a mostly Australian affair. Boburka has curated a lengthy list of Victorian and Australian winemakers alongside plenty of European drops — focussing on producers that approach intervention with light hands. These are the kinds of vinos the best bars in Melbourne are showcasing these days, and Etta is right up there with them.

    Image: Annika Kafcaloudis.

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  • 5
    Best bar melbourne - the empty bar and stoools at above board bar

    Opened in 2016, this tiny bar hidden one floor above Smith Street (atop Beermash) positioned itself among the city’s cocktail-slinging elite right from the get-go. The brainchild of veteran bartender Hayden Scott Lambert, Above Board has scooped numerous awards and accolades in the years since its launch, including ranking 44th in the World’s 50 Best Bars list for 2021.

    Lambert is the mind behind the stellar drinks list and it’s often him on the tools here, bringing those concoctions to life, using his cocktail smarts to match palates with particular pours, and setting the tone with top-notch banter.The drinks menu is an oft-changing one, but always replete with gold thanks to Lambert’s creative flair and knack for balance. Opt for a beautifully executed classic, or dive right into the signature sips — either way, prepare to be impressed at this award-winning Melbourne bar.

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  • 4
    a long wooden bar full of people drinking wine - lilac wine - one of the best wine bars in melbourne

    He’s the person responsible for the original iterations of Three Bags FullTop Paddock, and Higher Ground, as well as well-loved wine-focused bars and eateries like Hazel and Dessous. Now, Nathan Toleman and his Mulberry Group team have spread their wings to Cremorne, taking over a converted warehouse for their wine bar Lilac — a sure-fire smash hit for sips, snacks and lazy feasts alike.

    Lilac’s oft-changing food offering doesn’t focus too heavily on any one genre, instead pulling together a melange of Aussie nostalgia, Euro sensibilities and French bistro flair. The matching wine list proves just as eclectic, focusing on organic and biodynamic varieties. Trend-bucking small-scale producers get plenty of airtime at one of the best wine bars in Melbourne as well, though quality reigns supreme throughout.

    Image: Kayla May Photography.

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  • 3
    Byrdi - one of the best Melbourne CBD bars.

    Byrdi is internationally recognised as being one of the best bars in Melbourne — it even ranked in The World’s 50 Best Bars 51-100 list in 2021 and 2023. But what makes this small 40-seat Melbourne CBD bar so damn special?

    The outstanding cocktails. They’re unlike just about any other in the city. The expert bartenders use the site’s own lab to create new and exciting ingredients while constantly trying out new and innovative flavour combos. If you can nab a seat within its gorgeous confines, be sure to try a few different creations. We find picking just one to be an impossible feat.

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  • 2
    a few tables of people drinking at marion on gertrude street - one of the best bars in Melbourne.

    When someone like Andrew McConnell opens a wine bar in Melbourne, the expectations are high. When that bar sits beside the guy’s iconic, two-hat Fitzroy restaurant Cutler & Co., forming some kind of wining and dining super-spot, you can bet they’re even higher. But you can rest assured that Marion lives up to all that hype.

    First off, the drinks list is a stunner — an exhaustive compilation with something for every palate and budget. You can drop by for an aperitif, unwind over a couple of glasses of local wine, or really settle in and share your way through a bottle of something foreign. And to round it all off, the small rotating food menu is comprised of innovative dishes ranging from elegant snacks to more generous belly-fillers.

    Image: Roberto Pettinau

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  • 1
    A view of the bar at gerald's bar north carlton - the best bar in melbourne.

    Gerald’s Bar is more than just an idiosyncratic local for Carlton North residents. It’s the definition of what us grown ups want in a small bar: a relaxed atmosphere, golden service, and a compact but considered menu. Owner, Gerald Diffey, makes strange sense out of Nan’s lace curtains, kitsch sporting paraphernalia, a stupendously broad wine list, vintage vinyl, and a food menu that changes daily. And this is exactly why we love him.

    Every nook and cranny of this place oozes cosy out-of-the way small Melbourne bar. Gerald’s may very well have put an end to the bar-hopping tendencies of industry folk with its atmospheric booze-den perfection. A package of charming décor, affable staff, and enviable food and beverage excellence, Gerald’s is North Carlton’s unchallenged gem.

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Top images: Bar Margaux by Parker Blain and Gareth Sobey.

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