It can be kinda temping to sit at home and hibernate now the mercury’s dropped. But with so many ace new Melbourne bars cropping up for the past few months, it’s time to put down the Snuggie and venture outside. Here are 9 brand spanking new bars in Melbourne to check out this weekend. Bottoms up!
Housed in the iconic George Hotel building, new St Kilda bar Freddie Wimpoles teams an excellent craft beer selection with an appropriate menu of booze-soaking subs, hot dogs, and NY deli snacks. With a jukebox, poolroom, and a hunting-lodge-cum-diner vibe, there are 13 rotating taps of the good stuff and a cocktail list that reads classic with a twist. A cosy spot to warm the cockles.
Harry & Frankie
We’ve been waiting with bated breath for the arrival of Harry & Frankie 2.0. Thankfully, we can report that the fine wine and friendly, unpretentious service has made it across from Port Melbourne intact. With over 400 bottles of plonk on display, to drink in or take away, Harry & Frankie’s the perfect spot to indulge in a cheese board and carafe or two while you solve the world’s problems, one quaff at time.
Paying homage to Churchill (and named after his beloved poodle), new Prahran bar Rufus is slicker than your average. With lush, tactile furnishings, ambient lighting, and killer martinis, the intimate vibe and good ol’ fashioned service will impress the pants off your date. Lovers of cheese need only know one thing—Rufus comes to you from Daniel Verheyen, owner of Milk the Cow. A breath of fresh air in party-hard Prahran.
Fitzroy does bars well, and here’s another doozy. A collaboration between the owners of Rockwell & Sons and two Attica alumni, you just know you’re in for something special. Located in the old La Condesa spot on Johnston Street—you’ll know you’re in the right place from the dodgy, spray-painted sign of the ill-fated taqueria—Bar Liberty is a sleek, sexy wine bar with a stellar menu that emphasises sharing.
Misery Guts is a cosy new Melbourne bar on colourful Grey Street, St Kilda. With a lofty ceiling and buckets of natural light, quirky touches by way of tongue-in-cheek signage and furniture, around two handfuls of well-crafted cocktails, and a concise selection of simple bar snacks, you’d be anything but miserable with this delightful drinking hole as your local.
505 Wine Room
On the corner of Williams and Malvern Road in Toorak, 505 Wine Room is a classy spot to indulge in local and international wines (there are 15 pages to choose from), with a food menu that provides handy pairing suggestions. There’s also an on-site bottle shop if you want to continue the party at home, and a cocktail space for private functions.
Keeping it simple in the north, Hard Rubbish is a weekend-only locals bar, kitted out with op shop and salvaged finds. It’s cute, it’s quirky, and it’s low key as can be. The drinks list is largely about local craft beer, with four vinos to wet your whistle. As for the eats, there are three jaffles, served with a side of CCs. Can’t say no to that.
Hampton Wine Co
The wine bar-bottle shop hybrid is having a bit of a moment, and Hampton Wine Co’s another great little contender. With an ex-Jacques Reymond chef, sommelier and manager at the helm, all you need to do is pull up a perch at the communal table and prepare to be well fed and watered. Pro-tip: order the grilled cos lettuce with almond puree and pecorino.
Feast of Merit Rooftop Bar
We are huge fans of the spectacular food and ethical ethos at Richmond’s Feast of Merit, so were pretty chuffed when they finally unveiled their new rooftop bar in March. With room for 30, tasty Middle Eastern inspired snacks (we’re coming for you, lamb chops), locally sourced wines and beers, and some damn fine cocktail jugs, it’s perfect for pre-dinner drinks or Friday night knock-offs.
ICYMI, some of our other fave new Melbourne bars for 2016 are Back Alley Sally’s, She’s Bar & Cafe, The Hills Rooftop Bar, Vaporetto, and Brunswick’s Cult of the Vine. We’ve also been digging the Leonard’s House of Love pop-up at The John Curtin for that mighty fine fried chicken.
Also keep an eye out for Noisy Ritual, a new urban winery opening this month in East Brunswick, with a cellar door on Friday and Saturday nights. And George Calombaris’s Hellenic Hotel finally throws open its doors in Williamstown mid June.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey White