Best Melbourne Bars

 

Where are the best bars in Melbourne? Here are our best bars in Melbourne (in no particular order)...

Hihou

Boilermaker House

1806 & The Understudy

Hophaus

Black Pearl

Whisky & Alement

Bomba Bar & Bomba Rooftop Bar

Lounge Bar & Kitchen

The Underground Experiment

Morris Jones Bar & Restaurant

Cumulus Inc. and Cumulus Up

The Everleigh 

Eau De Vie 

Hihou - CBD

 

Hihou is one of Melbourne's hidden gems. Hihou is a Japanese triumph inspired by Simon Denton on the corner of Spring Street and Flinders Lane, and access is somewhat secretive and exclusive; we had to ring the intercom. Thishas to be one of Melbourne's coolest bars. There's a level of sophistication here as you recline at one of the low tables.

 

Japanese offerings are a feature of this bar; notably sake. Among the bar offerings Japanese beers and Japanese whisky are also featured - including the popular Suntory Whisky.  How popular is Japanese whisky right now! It's a wonder we have such access to it in this country. Whisky represents a quarter of the entire spirits market, and Australians now drink almost 19 million glasses of whisky every month. Interestingly, the number of 25-34 year olds drinking whisky  has doubled in the past six years, highlighting whisky’s popularity.  

 

We love this place for the vibe and it's hidden away serenity; something like Japan. Great for a night out to impress, Hihou has swank in spades. Check out the menu with Cuban spicy tuna cigar as a snack, or share a Kingfish Ceviche. Larger dishes include Crisp Pork Belly or Seared Tuna, for example. The cheese platter with 3 cheeses is also a great option...

 


 

Boilermaker House

Boilermaker House is one of Melbourne's most atmospheric bars. From the same family as Eau De Vie, the concept of a boilermaker bar is a winner. We imbibed beer and matching whisky pairings, as well as first class food. 

 

BoilermakerHouse 9

The magical pairing of beer and whisky is the ket at Speakeasy's second venture in Melbourne, Boilermaker House. With 750 whiskies and around 40 beers there is no lack of matching potential; for every and any occasion! The World Loves Melbourne enjoyed a top notch event at Boilermaker House during Good Beer Week with boilermakers the feature. Check out our Best Bars in Melbourne.

Callum and Nat from KAIJU! Beer teamed up with the team at Archie Rose and Boilermaker House to curate a series of beer and whisky matchings. This was a coming together of note with the pairings on song.

We experiences the breadth of styles and depth of enjoyment that can be found in a humble matching of grain based beverages.

BoilermakerHouse 3

BoilermakerHouse 17

Highlighting the event was a brand new, secret collaboration between KAIJU! and Archie Rose and matching supper from the delicious selection at Boilermaker House. The secret was the unveiling of a whire spirit made from a dark ale beer! Sensational. You could pick up the beer nuances in the spirit; which was remarkably smooth after 2 weeks.

BoilermakerHouse 14

Food was also on point with charred cauliflower, sausage, charcuteries, chips with whisky salt and cheese platters; not to mention finishing the evening with fresh oysters.

 BoilermakerHouse 26

BoilermakerHouse 31

Decor is sophisticated and welcoming, but not too formal.

BoilermakerHouse 34

Boilermaker House hums all week and ha become one of Melbourne's preferred bars.

 


1806 & The Understudy - CBD

Where to take international artists after a concert? You need a bar with sophistication and presence. 1806 will never let you down! 1806 is a standout bar in Melbourne that impresses with its classic decor, impeccible bar skills and an air of sophistication. We headed there after the epic Moon Under Water launch at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club. We were in celebration mode and our friends Elodie Sablier the talented French musician and Sydney artists were looking for a top notch Melbourne bar.  

What I love about 1806 is its classic finery - I appreciate grungy bars but when looking to impress here in Melbourne we prefer the classic refinement of 1806. Why the name 1806? Apparently because it was then that the word cocktail was first put in print.

The cocktails follow a timeline of some 200 years, and The World Loves Melbourne notes a trend in several bars around Melbounre to give a nod to the cocktails of yesteryear transporting them to today.

1806 is an institution in Melbourne and has a global following, having produced some of the most successful bar events and personalities in the industry. Coming here is not just about enjoyment but about education.

1806 3

Sit back on a lounge or armchair, or sit up at the long bar. You know you're in the hands of highly talented bartenders you can trust. As we ordered our first drink, Negronis, we knew these guys do such a classic drink total justice.

After a while we decided just to put ourselves in the hands of the bar tender to fix us drinks and surprise us. A good way to go. These bartenders know their stuff and are consistently brilliant.

1806 excel in classic cocktails but also have a few gems of their own. The Charlie Chaplin is also super popular here. 1806 are one of the handful of bars that can successfully match cocktails and food and are well known for their matching degustations.

Recently 1806 celebrated its birthday! The place was packed and guests were able to imbibe a few cocktails and note the huge impact 1806 has had on the cocktail and bar scene in Melbourne. The cocktail menu for the night hummed  with Charlie Chaplins, Tom Collins, Aviation, Pharmaceutical Stimulant, Angels Milk and Sazerac.  Image courtesy 1806.

And hand cut ice baby...

They also provided guests with their 1806 cocktail book.

Check out The Understudy downstairs. We enjoyed 1806 with our international guests and were politely escorted to the door at close (they also do this well).

Some of my photos struggled in the low light (these are courtesy of Lavina Harte at the 6th Birthday), but its rightly not designed for bloggers and their cameras.

 


Hophaus - Southgate

 

hophaus1

Are we allowed to include beer halls? German beer halls have made an impression in this time, and light up the precincts in which they thrive. in contrast to some of the bars we've featured this place is loud. Ever been in a quiet German beer hall?

A contemporary twist on the great Bavarian Beer Halls, HOPHAUS is the latest addition to Red Rock Leisure’s stable of social pubs and Southgate’s restaurant precinct, drawing inspiration from the history and tradition of the world’s original “craft breweries” that celebrates the Germanic approach to brewing, one of both art and science. With unparalleled views along the Yarra housing up to 350 patrons, HOPHAUS is an exciting new destination for Melbourne social gatherings.

HOPHAUS houses over 30 draught taps around its huge central bar.  With an impressive selection of German, Austrian, Belgian and Czech Brews on offer, HOPHAUS is a unique drinking house, somewhere to taste and learn about the famous German beer styles that have influenced the drinking habits of generations across the globe.

 

HOPHAUS’ architectural design has been created by the multi award-winning Maddison Architects founded by Peter Maddison of Grand Designs Australia.

 

Feature beers change regularly and some of Germany’s and Europe’s oldest and most loved brews are available on tap, including beers from the famed Weihenstephan (the world’s oldest brewery), Paulaner, Franziskaner and Bitburger breweries.

 

HOPHAUS also features a selection of German, Austrian and Alsace wines by the glass along with New World wines that celebrate the region’s famed varieties: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gruner Veltliner and more.


The menu at HOPHAUS  features classic Bavarian favourites with a contemporary Melbourne flair with a big focus on communal shared dining. The World Loves Melbourne loves the food here, as we do the ambience in sitting outside on the balcony. The open kitchen showcases low and slow cooking methods over the coal fired pit and rotisserie.    

 

The kitchen is open for lunch and dinner, while a bar menu complements an afternoon or late night brew. Worth a visit.

 


 

Black Pearl - Fitzroy

 

 

Black Pearl is often considered Melbourne's best bar and has attracted significant international acclaim. The World Loves Melbourne enjoys visiting Black Pearl, both downstairs, as well as the eclectic upstairs facilities. This is another place to take out of town guests, as we did in bringing a significant celebrity chef here from Sydney. Image above: Black Pearl Facebook.

From visiting with friends, to a whisky masterclass with legendary Fred Siggins, Black Pearl always delivers. Fred still uses The Attic for his masterclasses, with Matthew Stirling and Nathan Beasley the managers at Black Pearl.

Campari, Vespas and the Black Pearl was our chic Friday night affair on Brunswick Street for a stunning event. My work colleague and I were collected by two Italian models and taken to the Black Pearl on Brunswick Street on the back of red vespas for a cocktail masterclass to promote Campari and aperitivo hour. The tradition of aperitivo hour (5-7pm) is huge in Europe and is about people coming together in community for low alcohol drinks and snacks to prepare for dinner. Campari are setting out to revive this tradition in Australia...

 

A whisky masterclass with Fred Siggins was unforgettable. Make sure you visit upstairs The Attic for entry into another world of bar excellence.

 


 

Whisky & Alement - CBD

Whisky & Alement is the premier destination for any true malt whisky lover in Melbourne...  

barphoto1

Whisky & Alement is the new face of the previous Chez Regine – an intimate whisky bar located in Melbourne’s CBD. After a major refurbishment, the tavern owners Brooke Hayman and Julian White threw open the doors to both the old and new whisky lovers of Melbourne in February 2013. The intimate venue also acts as a whisky school, aiming to educate through experience and tuition the emerging younger demographic. Armed with an overwhelming level of whisky knowledge, the 4-strong bar team (Julian, Brooke, Evelyn & Liam) are able to ‘wow’ any guest that walks through the door, providing an authentic Scotch Whisky experience.

The team here have created ‘The Never Ending Cask’. A collaboration between SMWS and Whisky & Alement, this allows whisky connoisseurs to try a dram directly from the barrel – a unique experience unlike any bottled whisky. The initial fill is from a single Islay distillery finished in a 20litre sherry cask for over 3 months: it will be topped up periodically, thus creating an actively ageing Society house expression. Perfectly served both by itself with a drop of water or as a boilermaker: One things for sure though - it’s not a dram for the faint hearted!
 
We came here for an unforgettable evening with the Global Ambassador of the Scottish Whisky Society. Wham bam thank you dram!
 

Bomba Bar & Bomba Rooftop Bar - CBD

Bomba Bar is one of the hottest destinations in Melbourne with its killer ambience, exciting Spanish cuisine and a sexy wine and cocktail list. Jesse and Vanessa, Melbourne culinary royalty, have transformed former The Aylesbury - already a hit - into something even more rewarding as a Spanish Workers Bar. 

Bomba is launching out with Vermouth of sophistication,, including an amazing Vermouth from Barcelona that's alluringly aromatic. Vermouth is big in Barcelona right now, notably some hip specialist Vermouth bars. Often drunk at the start of the evening with snacks, Bomba pleases with its unique Vermouth range served up with snacks such as Smoked almonds and olives. Check out The Independent publication from the UK on  Vermouth back in vogue - time to rediscover Vermouth. It's taking over gin and tonic as drink of the moment.

Bomba 2

Bomba 22

Jesse Gerner exudes Iberian passion in the kitchen and with Vanessa are such congenial hosts. They seek to please in attention to the detail, treating customers as VIP guests. No pretension. The Aylesbury was a hit and Anada in Gertrude St is another success. Jesse and Vanessa have much to bring to Taste of Melbourne.

Bomba 17

Bomba Bar delivers with this Shark Bay Prawn pil pil. Of course pil pil refers to the unique sauce that derives from the Basque region of Spain. These prawns are sumptuous with appropriate high garlic content. And the oysters (below) fresh and tangy - with Bomba serving up quality Coffin Bay and Wapengo lake rock oysters.

 gourmetmelb2 16

Bomba Bar's transformation to a Spanish Workers bar is impressive. The ambience is rustic, alluring and warm. Use of textures is top notch, including recycled timbers, woven straw light shades, copper reinforced benches, and sexy lighting tones with red and orange tinge.

 The epic Pork jowl that steals the show. In fact the Pedro Ximenez braised pork jowl with celeriac... 

Bomba was packed on a Tuesday night, not only downstairs but upstairs at the Rooftop Bar. Were we in Spain? Such a unique ambience in Melbourne.

Bomba has also delivered in its Rooftop Bar - with added dimension to The Aylesbury version. Like Etihad Stadium it has a retractable roof, great for big game cocktail sessions. We were treated to Vermouth and Negroni's. A Negroni is another incarnation of Vermouth of course.

Bomba has everything needed in a rooftop bar. Views are stunning on the 5th floor. Unlike some rooftop bars in Melbourne it has adequate heating. And a decent bar menu including many of the tasty tapas options downstairs.

Bomba Bar has one of the best bar atmospheres in Melbourne. Highly recommended.

 


 

Lounge Bar & Kitchen - Swanston St

 

LoungeKitchenYelp 6

Lounge Bar & Kitchen is an iconic bar and kitchen in Swanston Street Melbourne. Just walk up the stairs off Swanston street into a cool bar space with attractive booths and decor, and a killer balcony overlooking Swanston Street.

Student or CBD worker? Lounge excels with great music, vibe, affordable meals and amazing cocktails, craft beers and spirits.

LoungeKitchenYelp 8

Cocktails here are amazing with skilfull bartenders on song. Check out the Happy Hour specials (correct at time of writing) with Student Happy Hour 12-5pm Monday to Friday and after work Happy Hour 5-7pm Monday to Friday which features $6 house wine and sparkling, $12 jugs Boags, $15 jugs craft beer and cider and $18 cocktail jugs. 

Also Thursday night drinks offer features from 7pm Boags schooners only $5 and basic spirits only $6.

LoungeKitchenNightMenu 1

LoungeKitchenNightMenu 4

Affordable meals are a feature at Lounge Kitchen including popular burgers, gnocchi, vegetarian options, fish and chips, nachos, and other meals suited to sharing with friends.

loungeyelp16

The balcony at Lounge Kitchen is a highlight and one of Melbourne's most iconic destinations. Image above: Yelp Melbourne.

 


The Underground Experiment - Smith St

This venue is a hotspot for cocktail enthusiasts! Under the ground floor of the enchanting old Cromarty’s building on the corner of Smith and Otter Streets in Collingwood sits a mythical, constantly evolving experimental bar space the likes of which Melbourne has never seen.

Six weeks after the launch of The Noble Experiment, the team behind the innovative 1920s prohibition style bar have unveiled the next evolution of the Smith Street, Collingwood venue; The Underground Experiment.

Periodically, the underground bar will completely transform into a new incarnation, adopting cutting edge global trends from bars across the world. In its first incarnation, The Underground Experiment will embody the spirit of colourful cocktail bars from the 80’s and early 90’s, featuring modern takes on old favourites.
 
underground3

The Barmy Barkeep from Birmingham, Linus Schaxmann, has overseen the creation of the cocktails, the menu and the aesthetic of the room. He said “there is a global trend toward this style of bar, where cocktails from this era are being reworked. We have chosen to take some old favourites and changed them up a bit.”

Featuring on the menu will be a Sex on the Beach, with edible sand and Chambord caviar, and a Blue Lagoon complete with a swimming fish. “Cocktails should be fun, and we have created somewhere to gather your friends, hire a booth, enjoy some cocktails and kick back with some great music from the 80’s and 90’s,” Schaxmann continued.

 Owners Daniel and Kristin Lemura had previously used the space for functions and events, but developed the idea with Linus to convert the room into something special. “We love the idea of a dedicated bar in the basement space. The renovations mean we can hold 120 people, and the cocktail list that Linus has put together is going to be a great deal of fun,” Daniel said.

The Underground Experiment is at 284 Smith Street, Collingwood 



Morris Jones Bar & Restaurant - Chapel St Windsor

Morris Jones has become one of Melbourne's leading destinations where friends connect over a drink and fine cuisine. Everytime we come here it's packed and pumping.

Apart from experiencing the bar, we dined as guests, eager to see what Head Chef and ex Gordon Ramsay prodigy Matthew Butcher had brought to the table. The standard is higher than "gastropub" and rivals the cream of fine dining in this city.

 

Morris Jones has brought in a crack team from far and wide, including significant overseas talent. In a short time they have mightliy transformed this pub. The service team is knowledgeable and keen, with sophistication as well as engagement. Tim our waiter was exceptional.

The Cocktail Bar serves exquisite, quirky and original cocktails guaranteed to entice merriment. The bar lounge area spills out on to a lush open garden courtyard, with a Patrick Blanc inspired vertical garden wall. A tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of Chapel Street.
 
House cocktails include the Morris Jones Iced Tea, Amelia, White Chocolate Passionfruit Martini and Agavero Julep.  We also have a range of Espresso Martini's, including a Toblerone Espresso, the famous $10 happy Hour Espresso Martini and Morris Jones premium, the Black Caviar.
 
Cruisey house, funk, soul and jazz coupled with comfortable lounges set the mood for quiet contemplation or festive conversation - the perfect setting for a dry vodka martini or a delicious red Burgundy well into the night.

Morris Jones has several attractive dining areas including tables along the bar, the stunning courtyard, upstairs function spaces, and the formal dining room. The interplay between bar and restaurant is interesting and the preference is for a premium dining experience without being too formal. The bartenders are spot on and Morris Jones offers its own exotic and compelling cocktails.


 

Cumulus Inc. and Cumulus Up - CBD

Cumulus Inc. in Flinders Lane is a standout bar destination with an air of sophistication in a large studio like atmosphere. Come here and perch on a stool at the long bar or grab one of the tables. Not only is Cumulus Inc. a great bar but the cuisine here is exceptional.

 cecconis-8

Cumulus Inc. has been a consistently top notch destination for many years now, whether breakfast, lunch, dinner or a late night drink. The World Loves Melbourne has visited Cumulus Inc. on many occasion and found it to be a great place to take "out of towners". Cumulus Inc. Eating House and Bar opened in 2008 in Melbourne’s famous art and fashion precinct, Flinders Lane.  Celebrating the historic turn of the century rag trade building in which it is located, the space is a busy social hub offering Andrew McConnell’s acclaimed food.

Cumulus Up. is a new wine bar upstairs from Cumulus Inc. European in atmosphere, the space balances edgy luxe and familiar classic to stunning effect. Featuring parquet timber floors, the interior is warm and elegant. Multi-coloured jelly ‘pill’ lights add a playful glow to the two-tone timber/black surrounds. An intimate room with a sophisticated and relaxed atmosphere.

The climate controlled cellar houses a considered and eclectic selection of wine. Focusing on the best examples of vintage, varietal, style and region, it offers an extensive range from both the New World and the Old.
The menu is designed by Andrew McConnell to compliment the wine; grilled seafood, dry aged beef, roast Holmbrae chicken and a selection of favourite cheeses served at their very best.  A stunning black meat slicer adorns the bar, the chefs slice hams and meats to order.

 


 

 The Everleigh - Fitzroy

The Everleigh is considered Melbourne bar royalty with exceptional bartenders and an old speakeasy type ambience. Parked in Gertrude St in hipster Fitzroy The Everleigh is an intimate, if not romantic, seated only cocktail bar, which oozes style. Imbibe at one of the leather booths or at a candelit table. Is there a better bar in Melbourne?

Bartenders are super knowledgeable and skillful, and you can trust them for recommendations. They enjoy a challenge, so you can give them an idea of what you want in terms of spirits or flavour, and they will create something magical. They also appreciate feedback on their drink creations. Grab a cheese or charcuterie board. The World Loves Melbourne is partial to The Elk Room...


Eau De Vie - Malthouse Lane CBD

Eau De Vie is a classic bar hidden gem in Malthouse Lane in the heart of the Melbourne CBD. With 700+ back bar spirits it has plenty to offer. Behind a fake bookcase is a charming Whisky Room.

The World Loves Melbourne was fortunate to sit at one of their Degustation tables, of bar height, where the bar holds many of its pairing events (often whisky and cheese).

 

We have enjoyed epic cocktails paired with King Island Dairy Cheese at Eau De Vie, and attended an extraordinary Brunch & Burlesque event with St Germain liqueur.

Tags: Food, Things To Do, Top 10