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Down a dark alley, up a stairwell or an unmarked door – Melbourne's bar scene rewards the intrepid. From street art-covered laneways, secret rooftops to the newest arrivals, we're rounded up the best watering holes to visit in the city.
With a hidden location and room for only a handful of (standing) patrons, Bar Americano is both hard to find and to get into. Pint-sized and proudly European, there’s classic Aperitivo alongside bitter Americano coffee. Their new outdoor seating in Presgrave Place increases your odds of nabbing a table. Book online for your next negroni fuelled night out.
The main bar on Trinket’s street level is bright, sleek and full of vintage-inspired glamour. In the basement, however, you’ll find a secret bar made for mood-lit rendezvous. How to enter? Make like Narnia and open the wardrobe in the corner of the bar. Then push aside the clothes hangers and head downstairs for the ultimate underground escape.
A barely-signed bar hiding on Crossley Street (ironically, there’s not a lane in Melbourne named Romeo), Romeo Lane is small and intimate. Cocktails that span the spectrum of the rainbow rotate regularly. Tell the bartender what you like, and they’ll point you in the right direction. Small, tapas-style plates including cheese and terrine are on offer.
A split-spaced bar divided into East and West parts of Cold War Germany, Berlin Bar is undoubtedly unique. To keep you entertained, there’s a wine, beer and creative cocktail list. A rotation of politically-themed drinks, inspired by the likes of Angela Merkel and Cold War spy Dmitri Polyakov, are a highlight. Nibbles including pomme frites (French fries) and cheese plates will keep you going through the night.
Just opened in Melbourne's 1.24 billion dollar Collins Arch Building is the city's first ever W Hotel. After you've checked out the top floor pool and cocktail bar, head all the way downstairs to Curious. Wander past walls of ticking clocks and emerge in a neon-lit, cocoon-esque cocktail wonderland. You don't even have to be a guest to visit.
Dom's Pizzeria and Social Club
In the former Peaches space, Dom's Pizzeria and Social Club kind of showed up out of nowhere. Follow the neon blue sign poking out onto Swanston Street up a narrow staircase and emerge in a three-level pizza wonderland. And yes, the rooftop bar is back in action.
Eau de Vie
With a 1920s prohibition-era vibe, Eau de Vie's unmarked entrance has fooled many a first timer. With an elegant interior that abounds with old-school charm, it is the home of some of Melbourne's most talented mixologists. Set aside an evening for the cocktail degustation, a five-course food and drinks pairing in their intimate library space.
Named after Thor’s mighty hammer, Viking-themed bar Mjølner Melbourne gives you the chance to finally drink mead out of a horn. Other tipples include Scandinavian-influenced cocktails and numerous whiskies. Drink the blood of the gods with cocktails like the 'Blazing glögg' or 'Eric the Red'. The menu is suitably meaty, all enjoyed among tasteful Norse-themed decor below street level. Skol!
More hidden bars
Late night bar and brasserie serving cocktails, wine and French comfort food.
Nick & Nora's Melbourne
A cocktail and champagne bar with a decadent menu that includes oysters and caviar.
Unassuming bar that feels like a New York loft, named after a 1937 Polish novel.
Small, hidden Japanese retro and pop culture bar serving Japanese whisky, beers and cocktails.
Last updated on Thu 24 Jun 2021
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