From famous signs to mesmerising exhibitions, Melbourne’s neon scene is fully lit. Take these glowing recommendations for your next city visit.

Chef David

Things are popping at Chef David, and we’re not just talking about his fiery Asian-fusion cuisine. The OTT neon decor is more than a match for the nitro sashimi. Follow the electric blue stairs leading up to the namesake sign. Inside, discover a moody world of spotlit installations, metallic tiles and neon statements. See if you can nab the booth drenched in red by the sign that spells David.

Interior of bar with red neon sign
Chef David

City Hatters

City Hatters is a true Melbourne icon. It’s been in business under the Flinders Street Station clocks since 1910. Wrapping around the tiny hat shop’s facade, the red neon brand name is impossible to miss. Follow that bright red arrow pointing down to the shopfront below street level. The neon glow leads to shop windows filled with every hat you can think of, from Akubras to trilbies.

Shopfront of hat store with red neon sign
City Hatters

Flash Forward night-time walks

An after-dinner walk sounds like a great idea, taking in Flash Forward’s festival of street murals. There’s an amazing 40 laneway locations to choose from. See neon possums in Stevenson Lane, a towering apparition in Drewery Alley and lit-up boxes in Lingham Lane.

A mural painted on a wall
Jaz Mishap's Drewery Alley artwork gets lit once the lights go out

Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar

For Melbourne on a plate, follow the italic neon that spells the name Pellegrini’s. It’s almost as famous as the espresso bar itself. The red cursive sign goes back to the 1950s, when the cafe first opened its doors. It used to point the way to a second entrance on Crossley Street.

The front of a restaurant at night with a red neon sign.
Pellegrini's Espresso Bar

Rocksteady Records 

Rocksteady Records brightens up leafy Lonsdale Street with indie vibes and glorious neon. Find your way to this hidden vinyl spot by following the glow of their electric blue turntable. Then head inside to stock up on local tunes, catch pop-up performances and peruse rare records.

A record store lit up by a red and blue neon sign
Rocksteady Records

Soul Soul Cafe

A radiant turquoise neon tunnel leads to the hidden brunch spot, Soul Soul Cafe. It’s on Victoria Street in Carlton. That narrow passage opens into a surprisingly light and bright space. The food is equally upbeat and cheerful. Like the mini terrine of cheesy baked eggs and their flower-topped dragon fruit smoothie bowl.

Pizza Pizza Pizza

Pizza Pizza Pizza’s yellow window sign shines like a beacon on Meyers Place. Walk beyond the pizza ovens to the secret dining room where more neon awaits. The bathroom is one of Melbourne’s best selfie spots, with a cheeky message hidden on the mirror. Snap a pic and see the magic revealed.

More neon-drenched spots


A dimly lit dive bar with an exceptional collection of spirits.

GoGo Bar

Basement bar beneath popular Chin Chin, offering snacks, cocktails and wine.

Bar Bambi

A place of laughter, dancing, exceptional wine and stuzzichini share plates.

Cherry Bar

An iconic laneway bar hosting a lineup of local and international rock'n'roll acts.

Ballers Clubhouse

Melbourne's largest bar and games venue, in the heart of Chinatown.

Bird's Upstairs and Jazz Corner Cafe

Enjoy the musical ambiance of this cafe, bar and restaurant.

Ms Collins

A multi-level dining and entertainment venue, featuring regular club nights and a whisky boutique.

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Last updated on Wed 25 May 2022

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The best restaurants, cafes and bars in Hardware Lane

Out Christmas shopping? Stop for Israeli street food, Korean desserts and secret Italian bars.

Pellegrini's Espresso Bar

This iconic espresso bar serves authentic Italian food and of course fantastic coffee.

The Olive Jar Cafe

Focused on pizza and pasta with some excellent starter and dessert choices.

Belles Hot Chicken

Belles Hot Chicken is a place for hot chicken, cold drinks and warm vibes.