Five Melbourne Beer Gardens to Check Out At Any Time of the Year
Because sitting outside with a pint is one of life's simple pleasures — no matter the weather.
Victoria is currently under stay-at-home orders so, while you can't visit these pubs in person, you can still show your support with takeaway and online orders. You can stay up to date with the developing COVID-19 situation in Victoria, as well as current restrictions, at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
Rain, hail or shine, Melbourne's excellent pub scene is one that can be enjoyed all year round. And thankfully, many fine Melbourne watering holes are equipped with charming (and, naturally, heated) beer gardens so you can enjoy the outdoor vibes even if the cold winds are rising.
We've teamed up with Guinness to put together a list of five excellent beer gardens in Melbourne to hit up at any time of the year. Pub not an option? You could always recreate the mood at home with one of these great winter recipes by star chef Colin Fassnidge.
Welcome to Thornbury is probably the most conspicuous beer garden on High Street. This is probably owing to the fact that it's essentially all beer garden. Complete with loads of high and low seating, lush foliage, adjustable awnings, outdoor heating, and licensed for up to 700 people, it's quickly become a northside favourite for a leisurely day or evening session, especially with their excellent deals (like a jug for the price of a pint during Friday happy hour, for starters). You won't go hungry, either — Welcome to Thornbury is also Melbourne's first dedicated, permanent food truck space. So far, over eighty different food trucks have rolled through the grounds on a daily rotating basis, keeping punters fuelled for regular events like movie and board game nights.
Find Welcome to Thornbury at 520 High Street, Northcote.
NOTTING HILL HOTEL
Sadly, this pub doesn't have a charming 90s-era Hugh Grant manning the taps, but it does have arguably one of the finest beer gardens in town. Its size alone is impressive enough, but it's the long wooden tables beneath leafy boughs that give this local boozer its laidback charm, all year round. Once you're settled in, grab a pizza to share from the dedicated pizza window (open from Wednesday to Saturday), or order something larger from the taproom menu, which offers inventive takes on the usual suspects. Live music, comedy and trivia are also regularly on the bill at The Nott, so there's usually a bit of a buzz around this friendly local.
Find the Notting Hill Hotel at 260-262 Ferntree Gully Road, Notting Hill.
The Notting Hill Hotel bottle shop is open daily, with cocktails, growlers and snacks available.
PRINCE ALFRED HOTEL
This renowned Richmond venue houses one of the area's most popular beer gardens — and with very good reason. With its high, leafy trees and dedicated outdoor bar, this spacious beer garden boasts a welcoming atmosphere and plenty of standing heaters, as well as a covered area for those days when the Melbourne weather simply can't make up its mind. Daily specials, share plates and pub classics are all on offer alongside an impressive steak selection, making this Church Street spot a great pick for a reliable after-work feed or leisurely Sunday lunch.
Find the Prince Alfred Hotel at 619 Church Street, Richmond.
A former car park turns into a smart, two-level shipping container bar serving craft beer and cocktails, in an alleyway off another alleyway — does it get more Melbourne than that? CBD hangout Whitehart epitomises the city's hospo ethos of turning a nondescript industrial space into a venue that effortlessly oozes cool. The expansive beer garden and deck features exposed brick punctuated by the odd bit of greenery. Swing by for well-made cocktails, boutique wines, live tunes and a rotating food menu, which includes hearty fare from pizza (by neighbouring +39 Pizzeria) to smoked barbecue meats.
Find Whitehart at 22 Whitehart Lane, Melbourne.
Taking up a prime position of Macaulay Road, Hardimans Hotel's claim of being 'the best in the west' may be hard to challenge — this sleek, smartly refurbished art deco hotel not only offers a cracking selection of craft beer on tap, but also houses a great beer garden, some of which is undercover and heated. Low tables and wooden benches wrap around this courtyard bordered by planter boxes filled with lush greenery, making this a great spot to drop into for a catch-up with mates, or maybe even a low-key date.
Find Hardimans Hotel at 521 Macaulay Road, Kensington.
Thirsty? Find your closest place for a pint over at the Guinness Pub Finder.
Top image: Welcome to Thornbury
Published on July 06, 2021 by Dominic Gruenewald