Where are the best pubs and bars in Melbourne?

One of the main drawcards to living in Melbourne is the lifestyle. While they haven’t got the best weather in Australia, they certainly make up for it in nightlife, cafe culture and just generally being cool. With its hipster vibes and alternative culture comes some pretty snazzy venues and some even jazzier cocktails.

Despite its rugged and edgy exterior, there are still some good local pubs in Melbourne. There are pubs attached to hotels and pubs with great live music. There are posh cocktail lounges and rough and ready dive bars. Whether you’re looking for somewhere with a fancy dining room and extravagant food menu or a chilled out rooftop bar with some cracking craft beer on tap, then you’ve come to the right place. We have compiled a list of Melbourne’s top pubs, rooftop bars, beer gardens, cocktail lounges, craft beers and live music spots!

Let’s explore what is on offer in Australia’s second largest city.

Best cocktail bars in Melbourne

Eau de vie has got to be top of this list. It’s popular for a reason. It’s classy, it’s sassy and the drinks are unreal! This speakeasy style bar has a sister in Sydney which you can read about here (insert link to article 82). You will be transported back to the 1920s as the decor and staff play the perfect part. See if you can find the secret bar within this venue!

Next up is another big hitter, 1806, named after the year the word ‘cocktail’ was first written down. The staff are professional and exceptionally talented mixologists; we guarantee you’ll find a cocktail here that you’ve never heard of before, and you’ll love it!

Best rooftop bars and beer gardens

Loop Roof & Loop Top is a chilled and beautiful rooftop bar in Melbourne CBD. There’s a cute garden vibe up here with a great view overlooking the city. Get in on their cocktail list or try a craft beer and sit back and relax after you’ve climbed all those stairs to get up there.

With a name like Rooftop Bar, it simply has to be included in this list. It has always got a good vibe in here whether it’s a Tuesday after work or on a lovely Saturday night. Grab a cold one and sit under the umbrellas with your friends and overlook the city. It’s a huge space so you’ll never feel crammed in. You will have to climb seven flights of stairs to get to this drinking heaven, though!

Best pubs in Melbourne for craft beer 

The Fox Hotel in Collingwood has warm pub feels, good pub grub, loads of craft beers and great live music. They have over a hundred beers on sale, so there is something for each of you and your mates, and enough to try something new each time you go! Their rooftop New Year’s Eve celebrations are not to be missed.

Head down to the vibrant St Kilda suburb and stop in at The Local Taphouse. These guys love everything about beer, and love sharing everything about beer with you. The chilled tavern-style atmosphere, good pub food and amazing selection of beers make this place one to watch. Their rooftop deck area is cute and perfect for sipping your craft beer tasting palate on a sunny day.

Best bars for food

Lamaro’s Hotel in South Melbourne is a bright and breezy gastropub serving modern European food. If you’ve got something to celebrate, this is a great venue for it; they have private dining rooms or you can just reserve a table in the main dining room and be blown away by the menu. The food looks elegant and tastes divine, and we haven’t even started on their wine list yet! If you’re out for a snazzy lunch with your girlfriends, you have to try the white chocolate and passion fruit martini – it’s as good as it sounds.

Bar Margaux has excellent cocktails and even more excellent food. It’s a French menu with shameless indulgences left, right and centre. The onion soup with melted gruyere on crusty French bread is a top hitter. You could class this as a hidden bar as the front door is unassuming and leads into a basement bar with no natural light. Perfect date spot.

Best bars for live music

The Town Hall Hotel in North Melbourne is a pretty old school bar celebrating everything rock and roll. They’ve got fantastic pub grub that isn’t too expensive, which you can enjoy on a sunny day out in the beer garden or al fresco, or stay cosy on a rainy day inside in the public bar and dining room. They have live rock music Thursday through to Sunday and keep everyone updated in a truly ‘old skool’ style via their in house chalk board or MySpace page.

Not far down the road is The Grace Darling Hotel, a beautifully ornate 19th century pub with some ace live music gigs from the band room. They have good weeknight deals on food so you can get a decent feed for under $20 and then stay and enjoy local beers and watch local bands. Truly one of the best pubs in Melbourne.

Best pubs in Melbourne

The Palace Hotel in South Melbourne is top of this list. It’s an unpretentious local pub and just ruddy good. The food is proper pub grub with no silly frills, the vibe is relaxed and it’s dog friendly! If you’re looking for a place for a Sunday lunch with friends then this place is a good one to start. You can even take the pub vibes home with you in a Palace Hotel branded growler, win!

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