Bars & Pubs

The Best Bars In Melbourne For 2024

By Simon Cassar
17th Jan 2024

Just like our restaurants and cafes in this city, the standard of a Melbourne/Naarm bar comes highly regarded. There's an intangible level of charm to almost any door you step through—whether that be your high-end cocktail bar where each drink is extensively and meticulously crafted, to your beloved hole-in-the-wall local where the soul of the venue drips off the walls and beers are always ice-cold.  

We have such a mixture of venues, from large-scale favourites to laneways riddled with hidden gin haunts, whisky bars, and wine stores. No matter what your drop of choice, you're likely to find it. In no particular order, here is Urban List's guide to the best bars Melbourne has to offer in 2024: 

Apollo Inn

165 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD

Gimlet's sister Apollo Inn is revered as one of the best bars in Melbourne.Image credit: Apollo Inn | Supplied

Apollo Inn is the very swish sister venue to Gimlet on Flinders Lane. The 30-seat clandestine bar provides a prohibition-era feel reminiscent of a New York speakeasy-style bar. It’s the full cocktail bar experience—the suited-up staff shave ice by hand and mix cocktails for your viewing, from established classics including four types of martini, to speciality aperitifs like the French Picon Biere. 

HER

270 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD

This now well-established five-story CBD labyrinth has swiftly made a name for itself as one of the best bars Melbourne has to offer. HER, from the creators of Abory Bar and Arbory Float, occupies a 120-year-old heritage building and boasts a Parisian-style cocktail bar, a dedicated listening bar, a Thai BBQ diner, and a European-inspired rooftop garden bar. 

Johnny’s Green Room

293 - 297 Lygon Street, Carlton

A sun-soaked dinner with spritz cocktails and pizza at one of the best rooftop bars in Melbourne, Johnny's Green Room.Image credit: Johnny's Green Room | Arianna Leggiero

With undeniably one of the city's most breathtaking views, a hefty drink selection and some elite DJ line-ups, Johnny's Green Room in Carlton has earned its status as one of Melbourne's top bars. After a brief hiatus for renovations, the recently reopened Tuscan-inspired space comes with a fresh menu curated by renowned chef Karen Martini, featuring dishes like stracciatella with cucumber, green melon and mint, tuna crudo with crema fresca, and an extensive pizza range.

Bar Liberty

234 Johnston Street, Fitzroy 

Bar Liberty, known for its knowledgeable bar staff and intimate setting, is one of the best bars Melbourne has on the map.Image credit: Bar Liberty | Supplied

With a hanging spray-painted sign out front and a team featuring some of Melbourne’s finest inside, there's a lot to like about Bar Liberty. It's an intimately spaced venue with bottles lining the walls and a supremely curated drinks selection. There are also dining options, from small sharing plates to pair with a wine, to a full set menu for longer nights. 

Workshop Bar

1/413 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne CBD

Located in the CBD, Workshop is a tried and tested Melbourne bar, with cool industrial-chic interiors and a balcony that rivals a rainforest with its plethora of plants. DJs spin the night away every evening and there are always a tonne of drink options and pizza on the go if you're in need of a snack. 

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Pearl Chablis & Oyster Bar 

108/200 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD

Dedicated to quality oysters and French wine, Pearl is the charming 20-seat bar hidden away off the top end of Bourke Street. Inside is an extensive selection of oysters from across Australia, as well as a full caviar menu which can be tackled by the gram or the full jar with the help of some potato crisps. 

Caretaker's Cottage

139 - 141 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD

A tiny bluestone cottage in the middle of the CBD that also happens to be a bar, it's no surprise Caretakers has become such a cherished spot. The heritage building now takes on a very small pub feel with what could be considered one of Melbourne's most-dialled drinks menus—it welcomes new cocktail editions every month, but the Guinness, punch and wine never go astray. 

Hope St Radio

35 Johnston Street, Collingwood

Hope Street Radio, a light-filled casual diner with an impressive wine list and exceptional focaccia, marking as one of the best bars in Melbourne. Image credit: Hope Street Radio | Supplied

The transformed space of Collingwood Yards has evolved into a bustling waterhole for wine bar and restaurant Hope St Radio. Patrons spill out into the courtyard enjoying the latest local music talent (that can also be live-streamed) while sipping from an impressive collection of over 60 wines. 

Angel Music Bar

12 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD

Angel Music Bar is a go-to if you're serious about music and appreciate a killer sound system. Resting on Bourke Street, Angel is an audiophile’s dream with a raft of talent taking on the decks, in a welcoming and laid-back atmosphere. Late-night American-inspired snacks that rival Angel’s cocktails can be secured from its adjoining venue Butcher’s Diner.  

Bahama Gold 

135 Lygon Street, Brunswick EastA lively spot with an intimate horseshoe-shaped bar is one of the best in Melbourne.

Image credit: Bahama Gold | Supplied

Bahama Gold is the plain-old charmer right in the thick of it on the Brunswick East stretch of Lygon Street. Located right next door to its sister venue Old Palm Liquor, Bahama has a more intimate and ambient atmosphere with a 12-seat bar that horseshoes around the entire venue and also features a bottle shop. 

Leonard's House of Love

3 Wilson Street, South Yarra

A small table sits in a candle-sit room at one of the best bars in Melbourne.Image credit: Leonard's House of Love | Supplied

A true old faithful, the converted house of Leonard's in South Yarra is a haven for Americana-style barbecued food and beers. Like stepping back into the 70s, the retro lounge room and eclectically decorated bar is a popular destination for its picklebacks, ice-cold cocktails, and fried chicken burgers. 

Runner Up

35 Johnston Street, Collingwood

Just across the courtyard from Hope St Radio in Collingwood Yards, Runner Up’s rooftop garden offers some serious views of Melbourne’s inner north, with vinyl music to match. They've got a generous drinks menu, with cocktails like the Old Passion or a Negroni Sbagliato, as well as some small nibbles like Turkish Bread with antipasto. 

Black Cat

252 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Hailed as the "beating heart" of Brunswick Street in Fitzroy for over 30 years, Black Cat is nothing less than an institution. With ice-cold beer or cocktail in hand, grab yourself a seat on one of their ridiculously comfy retro couches inside, or in the pavement beer garden on a sunny day—there are even board games for you to play with your mates and dates. 

Pearl Diver Cocktails & Oysters

56 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD

An opulent bar at one of the best bars Melbourne, serving oysters three ways.Image credit: Pearl Diver Cocktails & Oysters | Supplied

Pearl Diver Cocktails & Oysters on Little Bourke offers just what'd you expect, oysters served three ways—natural, dressed, and cooked—alongside a raft of specialty cocktails. For those martini-inclined, you can choose your spirit, style, modifiers and garnish to be served up your way. 

Waxflower

153 Weston Street, Brunswick

Waxflower is a listening bar that channels the vibes of Tokyo, LA, Brooklyn and London. There are DJ sets covering genres from funk to hip-hop to neo-soul—all played through a bespoke sound system designed to not compromise the conversational bar ambience. Alongside the minimal intervention wine list is a European and Peruvian-leaning snack menu utilising local produce. 

Bar Jayda 

19 Bond Street, Melbourne CBD

Jayda is the self-proclaimed “thirsty neighbour” of the famed Middle Eastern-leaning restaurant Maha—no wonder it’s one of the best bars Melbourne has to offer. The extensive wine collection is paired alongside a range of seasonal cocktails and on the food side of things, there are share plates from a life-changing focaccia to Australian scampi tartare tart. 

Paradise Alley 

25 Easey Street, Collingwood

DJ playing live music and bartenders slinging local beers at one of the best bars in Melbourne, Paradise Alley.Image credit: Paradise Alley | Supplied

A quintessential bar in Melbourne, Paradise Alley is the laid-back Collingwood favourite on Easey Street. Located down a laneway, this bustling bar is known for its outdoor seating area that seamlessly merges with the lively indoor space, where DJs spin records and the bar staff are always in motion serving up quality craft beers, small-batch gins, and spicy margs. 

Kirk’s Wine Bar 

46 Hardware Lane, Melbourne CBD

Kirk's Wine Bar, a well-known fixture among the best bars Melbourne boasts, is the ideal spot for both an arvo wine or more-settled-in dining experience. Nestled in the heart of the CBD, it attracts a dedicated crowd who appreciates the expertly curated drinks list, and the attentive floor staff are ready to recommend anything from Chardonnay to Gamay. 

Neighbourhood Wine 

1 Reid Street, Fitzroy North

A warm, sun-soaked space with a large state-of-the-art speaker adorning the wall at one of the best bars Melbourne has to offer.Image credit: Neighbourhood Wine | Supplied

Neighbourhood Wine is always a solid front-runner when plotting a bev-filled evening out and about. Also doubling as a dining venue, Neighbourhood Wine is a favoured destination with up to 400 drops to choose from while getting stuck into their modern yet Euro-leaning menu.

Rooftop Bar 

Level 7, 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne CBD

A flagship among Melbourne bars, Rooftop has long stood as the destination for a quick drink or long afternoon session that rolls into the night. Atop the iconic Curtain House, Rooftops Bar has a spiffy line-up of both local and imported beers, seltzers, cocktails and wines to keep you busy. 

Byrdi 

211 La Trove Street, Melbourne CBD

Byrdi, a CBD bar, can be summed up in three words: simple, refined, and elegant. Centred around local and native ingredients, it offers experimental cocktails and highballs featuring dynamic blends with inclusions of fermented, fortified fruits. Alongside its drinks, Byrdi boasts an impressive food menu, contributing to its reputation as one of Melbourne's best bars.

The Ugly Duckling

238 Swan Street, Cremorne

The Ugly Duckling on Swan Street in Richmond has all the swanky without the snobbery. It's a beautifully airy and light-filled bar with all the classics and more creative cocktails for those looking for something new. The wine list covers both local and imported drops and the bar snacks are always on point. 

Cherry Bar 

68 Little Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

Cherry Bar, once in ACDC Lane and now on Little Collins Street, embodies Melbourne's rock 'n' roll culture. The live music destination is an iconic nightlife institution and continues to pulsate with energy. The small stage hosts diverse acts, from local talents to touring musicians. It's also one of the few bars in Melbourne with a 24-hour alcohol license. 

The Keys 

188 Plenty Road, Preston

The Keys Leisure Centre is the mammoth house of bowling and booze in Preston. Across the space are three bars collectively fitted with 48 beer taps and a food menu that’s as dialled as its boozy counterpart. Featuring New York-style pizza, pub classics as well as several bowling alley essentials with an elevated touch—don't miss the supercharged hotdog. 

Bar Romantica 

52 - 54 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

It's Italian dining and quality wines at one of the best bars in Melbourne, Bar Romantica.Image credit: Bar Romantica | Supplied

Romantica lives up to its name, often hosting cosy dates in its dimly lit booths. The kitchen serves a flavorful mix of Italian favourites and snacks. Located on vibey Lygon Street, this bar stands among Melbourne's best with a range of local beers on tap, quality wines, cocktails, whisky, and digestives.

City Wine Shop 

159 Spring Street, Melbourne CBD

Right on Spring Street across from Parliament House, City Wine Shop is widely regarded as one of Melbourne's best bars. With a decidedly chic European ambience, it's part of the Siglo, The European, and The Supper Club collective. Functioning as both a bar and a wine shop, it offers an extensive selection of local and imported wines that you can enjoy on-site or take home. 

The Everleigh

150 - 156 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

The Everleigh, an award-winning institution and a must-visit as one of the best bars in Melbourne.Image credit: The Everleigh | Supplied

The Everleigh opened back in 2011 when Melbourne’s cocktail scene was really starting to percolate, perched high above Gertrude Street. Ten years later, having won Australian Bartender Cocktail Bar of the Year (2018) and Best Victorian Bar of the Year (2019), after two renovations and forays into bottling, books and even hand-cut ice, it’s still arguably the city’s finest cocktail bar. 

Heartbreaker

234a Russell Street, Melbourne CBD

Heartbreaker may seem like your standard rock 'n' roll dive bar that's open late but a closer look reveals top-shelf drinks, craft beers in giant pints and massive NYC-style pizzas generously dusted with parmesan and chilli flakes. Closing at 3am across the weekend, many find their way to the swinging bar lamps of this Melbourne bar favourite.

The Black Pearl 

304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

A master bartender making a bespoke cocktail at one of the best bars in Melbourne, The Black Pearl.Image credit: The Black Pearl | Supplied

The Black Pearl in Fitzroy is a Melbourne institution, even earning the title of the World's Best International Cocktail Bar back in 2017. Rather than offering specific drink recommendations, Pearl constantly evolves its menu with the seasons. Bartenders here are encouraged to explore their creativity—whether it's a frozen cosmopolitan one night or bourbon and bananas the next. 

Section 8

27 - 29 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne CBD

One of the best bars in Melbourne hidden down laneway, Section 8.Image credit: Section 8 | Supplied

What was once neglected laneway space, has now blossomed into one the best bars in Melbourne with converted shipping containers and pallets a' plenty. Section 8 is at its best when the weather is pleasant and the beer is flowing, there are few better spots for a drink. 

Dom’s Social Club

1/301 Swanston Street, Melbourne CBD

Spread across three levels, each with its distinct style, Dom's offers a diverse experience all under one roof. The first level exudes early 20th-century charm serving cocktails alongside woodfired pizzas. The second floor, a public bar adorned with nostalgic memorabilia and a pool table, provides a relaxed atmosphere. Finally, the rooftop offers a delightful setting for summer negronis and views of Melbourne's starlit skyline. 

Mr West

106 Nicholson Street Mall, Footscray

Mr. West is a favoured go-to in the West for beer enthusiasts, featuring 24 taps and a carefully chosen selection of indie craft beers, natural wines, and seasonal cocktails. Enjoy the converted industrial ambience as you savour as you sit along the bar, or spread across a table with one of their house cheese boards and really settle in. 

Bar Margaux 

111 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD

A warmly lit bar space at one of the best bars in Melbourne has on offer, Bar Marqaux.Image credit: Bar Marqaux | Supplied

Paris meets New York in this subterranean bar on Lonsdale Street. Think classic French cuisine, then add some art deco tiles and mirrors, leather couches, a timber bar and super sophisticated cocktails, and you get Bar Margaux. The bartenders are there to help you decide—they’ll even make you a custom off-menu drink to suit your cravings.

Old Palm Liquor 

133b Lygon Street, Brunswick East

The buzzing Brunswick East Old Palm Liquor has an oozing 80s aesthetic throughout and provides a laid-back atmosphere perfect for a quiet drink with close friends. There's a hefty wine to choose from as well a menu of snacks large and small from wood-fired flatbread with labne to smoked beef tartare with garlic scrapes and guindilla peppers. 

Monty's 

209 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North

Eclectic, and effortlessly cool, Monty's is laid back in attitude and decorium. Cosily nestled into the Fitzroy North shops of St Georges Road, this late-night bar and local haunt is always awash with punters gathering for a quiet drink or looking for somewhere to continue well into the night.

Siglo

2/161 Spring Street, Melbourne CBD

A bustling rooftop at one of the best bars in Melbourne, Siglo Image credit: Siglo | Supplied

Siglo isn't your everyday Melbourne bar, perched above the European and Supper Club it's an elegant and intimate space that extends out with a terrace overlooking Spring Street. It's mostly top shelf here: the spritz and cocktails are immaculately crafted, the wine list impeccable and there are even Cuban cigars were you so inclined.  

Goldilocks

Level 5, 264 Swanston Street, Melbourne CBD

Goldilocks is a hidden fairytale rooftop bar tucked away above the Denyer Building on Swanston Street. With a focus on sustainability and recycling, this themed bar is committed to bringing local Victorian craft beers and wines alongside their signature fairytale-themed cocktails and bar snacks which are mostly vegan and vegetarian.  

Gerald’s Bar

386 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North

A true dyed-in-the-wool testament to Melbourne's bar scene, Gerald's is what it's all about. Open since 2007 there are over 200 bottles of wine on rotation the food is always changing with a completely seasonal menu. Gerald's charm punches you in the face as soon as you step through the door and the staff here are some of the very best in town. 

Eau De Vie

1 Malthouse Lane, Melbourne CBD

Eau De Vie oozes elegance. This semi-prohibition-style bar, adorned with its elusive and compelling speakeasy ambience, firmly establishes itself as one of Melbourne's finest. To make the most of Eau de Vie, arrive early and secure your spot, whether it's a plush chair in the whisky lounge or coveted bar stools. 

Gimlet

33 Russell Street, Melbourne CBD

Ranked as one of the World's Best Restaurants, Gimlet also doubles as one of Melbourne's best bars. Channelling a sophisticated early 20th-century charm, the capacious space inside Cavendish House is all checkered tiles, booth seating and white-jacketed staff. The bar is refined and offers riffs on classics from the namesake Gimlet martini to a white negroni. 

Above Board

306 Smith Street, Collingwood

Above Board became famous right from the jump, foremostly because it was so hard to find. A pioneer of Melbourne's hidden bars, the downstairs basement with a long timber island bar features a selection of 25 signature cocktails. There are no elaborate gimmicks or architectural extravagances—instead, it offers a straightforward recipe for good times.

Amarillo 

149 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 

It may be small in stature but Amarillo uses every square metre of its corner-resting spot on Brunswick Street to the fullest. Easily identified by the Campari bannisters and revellers swilling spritz and negronis out front, the welcoming nature of Amarillo has cemented it as one of the best bars in Melbourne right now. 

The Shady Lady

36 Johnston Street, Fitzroy

Standing out in a league of its own, the Shady Lady proudly describes itself as a 'tropical thrift store.' The Shady Lady defies the conventions of trendy, austerely decored cocktail bars with an eclectic red velvet curtains neon lights and more. It's also famous for picklebacks, offering a shot of whisky followed by another of pickle brine.

Dr Morse 

274 Johnston Street, Abbotsford 

Dr. Morse effortlessly masters that transition from brunch to twilight cocktails, embodying Northside charm since 2013. Down in Abbotsford just off Hoddle Street, the always lively space puts a focus on its quality drinks list with minimal intervention wines, craft beers, and cocktails from local spirit distillers.  

Poodle Bar & Bistro

81 - 83 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Poodle Bar and Bistro is one of the best bars in Melbourne, pouring exceptional wines and dishing up high-quality food.Image credit: Poodle Bar & Bistro | Supplied

Poodle Bar & Bistro has become one of the hottest spots in town and best bars in Melbourne. The two-level diner on Gertrude Street is bolstered by its fanciful upstairs bar—a tidy yet intimate space with a chic art-deco design. Be it for dining or a quick drink, the atmosphere here is second to none and everything that exists both the bar and the kitchen is of the highest quality. 

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