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By Concrete Playground
December 08, 2016

Melbourne's Best New Bars of 2016

Honouring the best new arrivals on Melbourne's bar scene this year.
By Concrete Playground
December 08, 2016


Honouring the best new arrivals on Melbourne's bar scene this year.

It goes without saying, Melbourne's characteristically buzzing cultural ecosystem has thrived this year, with the city's most innovative, forward-thinking residents taking bold risks in their field. More inventive, forward-thinking and experimental than ever, Melbourne's newest bars have been upping the city's already renowned libation reputation, with countless interpretations of the age-old wine bar.

At Concrete Playground we encourage exploration and showcase innovation in our city every day, so we thought it fitting to reward those most talented whippersnappers pushing Melbourne to be a better, braver city. And so, these six new bars, opened in 2016, have been nominated for Best New Bar in Concrete Playground's Best of 2016 Awards.

Vote for your favourite.

  • 6
    Bar Liberty

    If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if two ex-Attica young guns teamed up with the guys behind Rockwell and Sons to open their own wine bar, well, you need not ponder any longer. That’s exactly the situation at Johnston Street’s new addition Bar Liberty, and we can tell you it’s working a treat. The boys have taken over the lo-fi corner joint once home to La Condesa, tidying up the exterior only just enough to let you know it’s Mexican no longer. The space within is contemporary, but unaffectedly so; they’ve kept the glitz to a minimum. Sommelier Banjo Harris Plane will wheel around his old-school globe bar trolley to tempt you with the evening’s pouring wines. Seasoned beer fans will appreciate the brew selection, which is heavy on the sours. Meanwhile, the food menu is geared towards clever grazing, with shareable small and medium dishes the stars of the show.

    Vote for Bar Liberty.

  • 5
    Noisy Ritual

    Love a good glass of red? Well then, you’re in luck. Following a series of pop-ups and bottling parties, people-powered urban winery Noisy Ritual have gone and found themselves a permanent home. Located on Lygon Street in Brunswick East, the new venue will pull triple duty as a cellar door, wine bar and event space, suitable for everything from weddings to exhibitions. Not a bad turn of events for a business that began with fermenting grapes in a Thornbury backyard. Turns out if you offer people the chance to stomp, press and bottle their own vino, they’ll turn out in droves. Incidentally, 2017 Noisy Ritual memberships are currently available, and get you entry to three winemaking workshops, three barrel tasting sessions and six bottles from your very own vintage. Plus, you’ll be able to go into the Noisy Ritual bar and order a glass of the wine you made with your own two hands (and feet).

    Vote for Noisy Ritual.

  • 4

    From the team who brought you northside favourites Wide Open Road and Heartattack and Vine comes Bedford St, an all-day eatery and the newest addition to your Merciful Gods, We MUST Eat Here list. Sitting in the old Heart of Europe space on Johnston Street, the bar is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. It’s a joint venture between Wide Open Road and Heartattack and Vine proprietors Hootan Heydari and Jono Hill, their long-time employee Mark Jacobson and chef Daniel Dobra, who’s magicked up a menu described as contemporary Australian with a twist. But don’t think this means sub-par pub grub covered in pork floss. Dobra’s (ex-Brutale, The Beaufort) menu is very twisty indeed.

    Vote for Bedford St.

  • 3

    Opening a wine bar seems to be the hippest of moves these days, though as you’ve probably noticed from the likes of Gertrude Street’s Marion and Bar Clarine, the game has definitely changed. “Stiff and stuffy” has been turfed in favour of a far friendlier model — and as drinkers become more adventurous, those wine lists get way more interesting. Embla is the latest example of this new breed of wine bar, and it’s a prime one at that. Brought to you by those clever folks behind The Town Mouse, the Russell Street space is instantly inviting, with a chic, yet warm, European charm. 

    Vote for Embla.

  • 2
    Vaporetto Bar & Eatery

    Few of us have been to Venice. But now Hawthorn has its own Venetian bar and eatery, Vaporetto. And it’s basically the same thing. Chef Greg Feck and his business partners Kim Coronica, Stephanie Edgerton and David Wickwar love Venice and they’ve done an excellent job in recreating its vibrant and enchanting atmosphere on Glenferrie Road. Leave Melbourne behind as you step through an old tobacco store shopfront from Venice, and take in the dark timber, marble, aged brass and hand-blown Murano chandeliers.

    Vote for Vaporetto.

  • 1
    The Alps

    Walking into this cosy Commercial Road wine bar is a bit like walking into an old-school library — but instead of leather bound books lining the walls, it’s 400 bottles of wine (the better option, obviously). The Alps was opened back in June by the very qualified team behind other local wine spots Milton Wine Shop and Toorak Cellars. It’s a successful combination of wine bar and bottle shop, where 20 bottles at a time are available to taste. Not fussy about natural or biodynamic trends, The Alps focuses on serving wine that tastes of the place it was made. A cosy spot to stop by in winter if you happen to walk past it. Small tables, a small fireplace and a long dining table. Simple food to match.

    Vote for The Alps.

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