Check out these beautiful new rooftops, hidden gems and cosy wine bars for your next night out.
Melbourne's favourite floating restaurant and bar, Arbory Afloat, is returning to the Yarra River in early September. This year, it's taking us to Mexico with a fiesta-style paradise drawing inspiration from the culture and flavours of Oaxaca, Tulum, Mexico City and the Yucatan coast. Think tacos, mezcal cocktails, margaritas, tostadas and more menu highlights to transport you out of winter and into sunny Central America.
Melbourne has just earned itself a new multi-level venue with a pretty epic rooftop bar to boot. Get the crew together for catch-up drinks at Morris House and head to the top level for signature cocktails like the frozen vovo margarita or the pavlova daquiri. The food is top-notch too and is available on every floor. On the lower levels you’ll find a NYC-inspired comedy venue where you can enjoy a beverage or two before catching some of the best Australian stand-up talent.
Moutai Melbourne Boutique
Part bar, part tasting room, a visit to Moutai is a one-of-a-kind experience. Grab a seat at the intimate 12-seat table and sip your way through a tasting flight or a Moutai-based cocktail. If you've never heard of this spirit, it's been dubbed the national liquor of China and has a fiery flavour.
No. 100 Flinders Lane
A cosy new wine bar has popped up on Flinders Lane. Part deli, part restaurant, No.100 is a chic 20-seater with a cracking wine list and delicious cocktails to boot. Fresh squid noodles with silverbeet and nduja are the star of the menu. Until you try the gorgeous rum baba with white chocolate and rhubarb, that is.
From the team behind Heartattack and Vine comes a cute new wine bar. Find Sunhands on an iconic sun-soaked Carlton corner and make it your new local. Swing by during aperitivo hour to sample the local wine list complimented with small plates like pickled octopus, fresh oysters and baked ricotta.
Myrtle Wine Bar
Enjoy Australian wines paired with native produce in a warm and inviting space at Myrtle Wine Bar. A newcomer to Warburton Lane, the two-storey space is beautifully rustic. To eat there’s aniseed myrtle and saltbush spiced squid. Sardine fingers with whipped Murray cod. Buttermilk damper. And oh-so nostalgic chip shop potato cakes, elevated to gourmet status with salmon roe and cultured cream.
Housed in a building that's more than a century old, this secret bar tucked between city skyscrapers is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle. Cosy up at the warmly lit bar, admire the vinyl selection and order a signature milk punch. The team is also known for slinging bevs for a good cause. Themed cocktail specials have helped to fund everything from pet medical treatment to aiding Ukrainians in need.
Blink and you'll miss Yarra Falls, an inventive new spot hidden inside a heritage listed building. The menu is a constantly rotating affair, with a focus on Victorian produce and seasonal ingredients. But you can always count on the house-made potato bread, which has fast become a fan favourite. The beautiful water feature behind the bar isn't just for show, either. It's a thoughtful reference to a natural waterfall that was blown up in 1883, despite being an important indigenous meeting place.
Climb the stairs above Hareruya Pantry to the discover the cutest little date-night spot. A hidden gem overlooking Carlton's Lincoln Square, this warm and ambient loft space is Australia's first temaki sushi bar. Leonie Upstairs pairs the freshly rolled cone-shaped sushi with premium sake. With more than 50 sakes by the glass, come often for new surprises on the ever-changing menu.
There’s a new bar sport in town and this ain't your dad's darts. Gather your crew and book a semi-private booth at sleek electronic darts bar Oche. Expect real steel tipped darts and a board that keeps your score for you. It’s a cinch for beginners. To keep you sated without skimping on game time, there’s finger food with a gourmet flair. Think shucked Pacific oysters, smoked salmon ceviche cones and ‘nduja and artichoke pizza.
Strawberry and yoghurt negronis, espresso martinis on the rocks and yuzu and green tea margaritas. The cocktails at Jayda hit different. A sister venue to Shane Delia’s restaurant Maha, this new cocktail bar is moody and sophisticated. The Middle Eastern bar snacks menu takes more than just inspiration from its neighbour. The ‘after service sandwich’ is a must try, with Maha's famous slow-cooked lamb shoulder and jus for dunking.
Craft beers on tap, elevated pub grub and an ‘80s inspired fit-out. Amphlett House at Ovolo Laneways is a welcome addition to the Paris End. Try a bev from local brewers while you dine on smoked bone marrow on toast. Or enjoy a smoky eucalptus margarite, complete with gummy bear garnish. This taphouse isn’t just for beer lovers. You’ll also find cider, seltzers and a coffee and orange americano on tap.
Tequila Bar by Mejico
A new late-night tequila and mezcal bar has just opened on top of a Mexican restaurant. The aptly named Tequila Bar by Mejico has one of the largest selections of tequila and mezcal in Australia. Sip your way through over 250 varieties under glowing neon lights or peruse the cocktail menu. Then back it up with moreish Mexi snacks like beef brisket empanadas, jalapeno poppers and guac with blue corn chips.
Located on the corner of Flinders Lane and Russell Street is Apollo Inn – a tiny dimly lit cocktail bar conjured up by the team at Gimlet. Sit back and let the bartender mix you a classic martini or try something different like the Lucien Gaudin featuring Campari, gin, Grand Marnier and dry vermouth. Add some small bites to your order like sea urchin, rye crackers and crème fraîche and finish with a slice of creme caramel.
Venture behind Jimmy Watson's to find another hidden gem. Snack Monster is a tiny bar tucked down a laneway behind the carpark. Find it and be rewarded with nibbles from the everchanging specials menu. It might be pork sliders or duck liver and pancetta pate, with airy chocolate mousse for dessert. This cosy spot is pet friendly too!
One or Two
Cap off your night out in Chinatown with whisky and cocktails at One or Two. You’ll find this tiny laneway gem down the cobblestones of Celestial Avenue. Inspired by the Japanese TV series Midnight Diner, the ‘wabi-sabi’ bar is chic, minimal, and housed in a heritage listed building. Let the bartenders curate a whisky flight to your taste. Then order a Roku gin martini or a yin yang milk punch. You might not stop at just one or two.
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