Bars & Pubs

Swan Street And Beyond: Your 2022 Guide To Richmond’s Best Bars

By Urban List Writers
9th Feb 2022

An outdoor garden bar with palm trees, lawn, and pink coloured art murals.

Richmond is iconic for its workin-class roots and as the hub of Melbourne’s rich sporting culture (you betcha there are plenty of sports bars in the hood). It also features some of the best watering holes in the city along with a few unassuming cocktail spots that’ll rival some of the best around town.

Make your way through the list of Richmond’s best bars for 2022. 

The Corner Hotel

Known as one of the premier live music venues in the city, The Corner has hosted some of the biggest names to ever tour the country. But it’s not all sweat, mosh pits and singalongs. After major renovations, upstairs you’ll find a charming rooftop bar and courtyard with flourishes of timber, polished concrete and terracotta, perfect for a daytime ale. The menu has classic beers such as Melbourne Bitter and Fat Yak, as well as a selection of wine and spirits.

The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling is one of the best bars Richmond has to offer. Situated on Swan Street, the wine and cocktail bar is classy without being snobby. Here you’ll find classics like negronis along with more inventive creations; the comprehensive cocktail list should please most tastes. There’s also a curated wine list featuring local and imported drops, and a selection of bar snacks including marinated olives, chocolate and cheese.

The Posty

This former post office won’t be able to help you track down your missing parcel. The Posty does, however, provide hefty wood-fired pizzas and a wide selection of local and craft beers. Located on Swan Street right near Richmond Station, it’s one of the best bars in Richmond for a pre-MCG drink or weekend cocktail.

Prince Alfred Hotel

With a sprawling beer garden, outdoor bar and playful atmosphere, Prince Alfred remains a favourite spot for locals. Located on the Chapel Street end of Church Street, this Richmond institution serves up solid pub food and ice cold pints, yet its elegant interior design makes things feel just a little bit fancy. The tree-lined courtyard is a fantastic spot for an after-work drink in the warmer months.

Richmond Club Hotel

An iconic sports bar where grown men have cried in both agony and ecstasy, Richmond Club Hotel is where to head for your fix of sport, cold beer and pub classics with a twist. With 2022 shaping up to be a bumper year for sporting events, catch the match on one of their many TV screens, take advantage of the weekday happy hour which runs from 5pm-7pm, and enjoy the stylish decor and legendary atmosphere.

Brogan’s Way

For gin lovers, Brogan’s Way is an essential Richmond stop. A former mechanics’ workshop, the 120-plus capacity bar features a stacked shelf full of distilling equipment, as well as sleek Australian timber. The venue holds tours and masterclasses to show how the magic happens, but you’re equally welcome to simply meet some friends and enjoy the fruits of the labour.

The Blacksmith Bar

Occupying the space formerly known as Sneak on Swan Street, The Blacksmith couldn't be more different a venue than its predecessor. The shop dates back to 1924 as McNaughton's Ironmongers, which you can still see evidence of on the building facade—owners Simone and Emily drew inspiration from this in creating the entire venue. The Blacksmith is a cocktail bar with an extensive range that you'll have to head in to try out. Examples include The Seamstress with olmeca reposado, Cointreau, mango, strawberry-pink peppercorn-mind shrub, lime, coconut, or get stuck into the Like Klockwork with rye, cynar, Aperol, orange citrate, hopped grapefruit bitters.

Fargo and Co

A gorgeous bank-themed cocktail bar set inside the heritage Swan Street State Bank, Fargo & Co in Richmond is a must-visit for anyone who loves a good time (and even better food and drinks). Dishing up gourmet bar snacks until late, Fargo & Co is the perfect spot for tasty little alco-absorbers like Cornflake fried chicken with spicy fried egg mayo and breakfast radish, or sticky baked beef cheek steam buns with black vinegar and chilli. Whatever you do, save room for the bigger fillers like the salt and pepper calamari roll, smoked frank hot dog, and Fargo's signature beef burger.

The Royston

The Royston has that intangible quality that makes a place great—something between warmth and familiarity. Nestled away in the back streets of Richmond, this cosy pub is the perfect place to settle in for a pint and a hearty meal. On tap you’ll find a variety of independent brewers, and the menu has the classics as well as some more adventurous options.

Holliava 

Holliava is a versatile workhorse that has been serving locals and visitors alike since 2002. Located across the road from Richmond Station, it’s a popular choice for large groups, with three separate bars on two levels and a mixture of spaces including a main bar, a sun-drenched courtyard, and a cosy lounge with a fireplace. There’s also $9 toasties, or you can order food from a delivery partner right to your seat.

Itty Bitty Bar

A unique layout, cheerful staff and an extensive drinks menu combine to make Itty Bitty Bar a no-brainer if you’re chasing the best bars in Richmond. Oh, and Big Mumma’s Fried Chicken doesn’t hurt, either. Treat yourself to an expertly-made classic cocktail—or if you’re feeling more adventurous, try a house mix such as the Cucumber Gimlet (rosemary gin, apple schnapps and muddled cucumber) or the Up in Smoke (bourbon and plum wine infused with smoked bark).

Maeve Fox

Maeve Fox tucked away near East Richmond station is perfect for a casual cocktail. It’s equally suitable for a larger function thanks to its upstairs room with city views. Make sure you try one of the espresso martinis (yes, there is more than one). We recommend the Orange Mocha Frappuccino featuring Cointreau, cacao and coffee. And on Sundays from 5pm until midnight, for non-locals, beers and cocktails are half-price.

Pink Lemonade

Transforming the old-rental car yard next to Richmond station is the all-new vibe-filled, Pink Lemonade. A big summer mood, the space is poised to host plenty of good times over the coming months as an oasis in the inner-city suburb. 

Converted shipping containers, breezy palm trees and fairy lights line the outdoor beer garden which fits up to 450 people; whilst colourful murals from Juzpop transform the former car-yard into the perfect post-work or weekend arvo spot for a couple of cocktails. 

Don't stop there. Head north and scope out the best of Carlton's Lygon Street.

Image credit: Pink Lemonade.

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