The pub, it does exactly what it says on the label. It's a place to get together with mates, sink a few pints, and of course, order up on a parma. But with so many options, it can be hard to narrow down the best pubs in Melbourne/Naarm.
Nowadays you'll find a plethora of options all over town, from nostalgic Australiana-filled public bars to high-end dining rooms with top culinary talent. No matter which you pick, you can be confident that you're in safe hands. Here’s where to find the best pubs in Melbourne for 2024:
Royal Oak Hotel
442 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy North
Helmed by the same team behind the beloved Marquis Of Lorne, the Royal Oak Hotel has had a dazzling glow-up recently, and ingratiated itself as one of the best pubs in north Melbourne. With a nostalgic Australiana feel, there are vintage beer mirrors up above, the footy's on, and the beers are cold.
Inside the dining room you'll find a selection of dialled-up pub classics from a schnitzel which is served in a pool of expertly crafted mustard sauce to strip steak plated up next to whole-roasted shallot and a subtle peppercorn jus.
The Great Northern
644 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North
The Great Northern Hotel is an undisputed best pub in Melbourne. It's a prime spot the ultimate day out with your best mate—that’s right, this is a dog-friendly pub. If you’ve been spending a whole lot of time with your furry friend in 2024, don’t let that end. Book in for parmas on Mondays, steaks on Tuesdays, trivia on Wednesdays, burgers on Thursdays, and settle in on Sundays for a classic roast (in winter).
While you’re there, get your pooch a GNH leash from one what might be the best local taphouse in Melbourne. It comes with a bottle opener for you—win, win!
The Esplanade Hotel
11 The Esplanade, St Kilda
Simply put, there is no other pub like the Espy. St Kilda’s Hotel Esplanade has been an iconic establishment of the area since its inception 146 years ago. The revamped Espy now boasts 12 bars over its five levels with an insane range of handpicked wines, signature cocktails, craft beers, it’s hard to argue its position as one of the best pubs in Melbourne.
The Napier Hotel
210 Napier Street, Fitzroy
They describe themselves as being ‘like a big, warm, friendly Fitzroy hug’ and it's hard to argue if you've ever stepped through the doors. An easy inclusion on the best pubs in Melbourne for 2024 list, The Napier is the to-go to if you’re after some pub grub with an Aussie twist—they do a chicken parma served with smoked kangaroo, and they also do a chargrilled kangaroo salad served with a pomegranate dressing.
With over 130 years of history, this Fitzroy institution is still kicking goals with its understated charm and nostalgic pub feel.
The Gertrude Hotel
148 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
The Gertrude Hotel is back in 2024 under new ownership, and we're happy to report it's already landed a spot on our best pubs in Melbourne list. The hectic pink and green lightingbolt exteriors are gone for good, painted over with a classic ivory as per the major modern European makeover. The menu is everything Aussie pub usuals, spun with Italian flavours and flare. The love child of Andy Lockyear and Iza Dawkins, we can safely assume you'll fall in love with this outstanding Fitzroy pub.
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Mount Erica Hotel
420 High Street, Prahran
Bringing a more refined approach to the classic Melbourne pub, Prahran's Mount Erica Hotel is an exemplary standard for how good a local can be.
Established 170 years ago, it remains one of the best pubs in Melbourne for a cosy meal by the fire in 2024. If you’re after the warm and fuzzies, head down on the last day of the weekend for one of the city's best Sunday roasts.
The Park Hotel
191 Nicholson Street, Abbotsford
Another oldie but a goodie, The Park Hotel in Abbotsford has been serving the goods for over 160 years, and they’re not about to stop in 2024. With a menu of pub favourites like burgers, parmas, steaks and sausages (as well as some plant-based plates), this is one of Melbourne’s best pubs combining traditional fare with a modern flair.
The Standard Hotel
293 Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy
Dripping in esoterica and retro quirkiness, this backstreet pub is a gem worth searching for. The Standard Hotel is part traditional pub, part sprawling beer garden, which makes for the perfect combo in Melbourne.
True to its Fitzroy roots, The Standard is also known for its quality rotation of live music and no-fuss menu. They’re vegan and vegetarian-friendly, and there’s plenty to choose from when it comes to drinks, an easy contender for the best pub in Melbourne, and one of the very few to not be on a corner.
120 Exhibition Street, Melbourne CBD
Morris House mega four-level precinct has it all—an elevated pub-style dining room, a bar and live music space, a rooftop with sweeping CBD views, and it's very own New York City-inspired comedy space. You've got dialled-up pub classics, zesty summery cocktails, and the usual suspects on the beer and wine front. On sheer size alone, this is definitely one of the best pubs Melbourne CBD has in the mix.
The Royston Hotel
12 River Street, Richmond
The Royston made it onto our guide to Melbourne’s best parmas, so we’re not surprised to see it in the best pubs in Melbourne list. Tucked away on River Street in a quiet pocket of Richmond’s backstreets, we’d recommend rocking up to this haunt on a Monday or a Wednesday for their famous $19 parmas, and make sure you schedule a round of pool first thing—then you can say you’ve literally gone ‘straight to the pool room’.
The Post Office Hotel
229 - 231 Sydney Road, Coburg
If you’re on the northside, chances are you’re familiar with The Post Office Hotel. Located on Sydney Road in the heart of Coburg, this venue is a meeting place for family and friends alike, with a killer menu and relaxed atmosphere. They’re a pub, music venue and brewery all in one, so they’re the best Melbourne pub to stop by for one size fits all kind of outing.
The Victoria Hotel
43 Victoria Street, Footscray
One of the top Melbourne pubs for those wanting to stave off the booze, The Victoria Hotel boasts one of the largest non-alcoholic offerings in town. Catering to all, they've still got plenty of froths behind the bar so whether it be a Heaps Normal or a Young Henrys you're sure to find something to suit.
It's a laid-back affair at the Vicco, the menu here has all of the comfort and soul of your local pub with a few dialled-up options like the slow-cooked lamb shoulder and even a plant-based cheeseburger.
The Builders Arms Hotel
211 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Smack bang on the corner of Gertrude and Gore Street. The Builders Arms Hotel is a dyed-in-the-wool Melbourne pub. Inside the corner resting hotel, the space has been split into three sections; with the bar, a fancy bistro-style restaurant and a secluded beer garden.
With Andrew McConnell at the helm, the menu is always on point, and the venue is a local favourite for good beer, relaxed vibes, and simple but inventive food.
91 Cardigan Street, Carlton
Not your run-of-the-mill pub, The Lincoln takes the traditional pub framework and dials it up a few notches. The storied Carlton venue which was established 170 years ago, features a menu that imbues Melbourne's culinary prowess into every dish.
From XO sauce blue swimmer crabs on rice crackers to Cape Grim sirloin steak served up with a zesty Chimichurri and even an apple Tarte Tatin to finish. You'll always find an exciting beer on tap and a wine list that rivals some of the finest bars in town, a no-brainer for the best pubs in Melbourne list.
The Carringbush Hotel
228 Langridge Street, Abbotsford
You may be a little surprised by the exterior, but just because it’s a classic-style pub doesn’t mean it can’t be plant-based. Open all week, The Carringbush Hotel's extensive menu is completely vegetarian and vegan, with plenty of nut-free and gluten-free options no less.
They don’t hold back with their options either, with starters such as their dumplings with Char Siu ‘pork’, mushrooms and sweet and sour sauce, and charred broccolini with garlic and beetroot crème. They also have a huge list of vegan and vegetarian-friendly wines and beers to boot.
Ascot Vale Hotel
447 Mount Alexandra Road, Ascot Vale
The pride of Ascot Vegas, this corner resting pub on Mt Alexander Road is here for ice-cold beers and good times. Inside, the bones of the 150-year-old building have been lovingly restored resulting in a tidy white-brick and wood-heavy dining room and bar.
The food at Ascot Vale Hotel is everything you want from a modern pub, of course, there are schnitzels, steak sangas and parmas but there are also plenty of fun things from Ascot dimmies with soy sauce and chilli jam to cheesy garlic bread. They also have a trivia night for those budding general knowledge enthusiasts.
The Orrong Hotel
709 High Street, Armadale
Positioned proudly on the intersection of Orrong Road and High Street, the landmark hotel had a cosmetic renovation a couple years back, retaining its beautiful original fittings intact.
They've got all the pub classics, plated in both the front bar and dining room, like the famed chicken parma and an Angus beef burger as well as innovative dishes like panko-crusted pork cutlets. The Orrong Hotel has earned its famed standing in the area as the local’s local with its 150-year tenure.
The Prince Alfred
619 Church Street, Richmond
A Church Street favourite, affectionately known as P.A’s, The Prince Alfred is a top spot for putting back a couple of schooeys. With over 15 beers on tap, you can go an entire visit without ever sampling the same beer twice.
Dogs are welcome and encouraged, there's a stacked menu and they even have merch, so there are plenty of reasons P.A’s ends up on the best pubs in Melbourne list.
The Retreat Hotel
280 Sydney Road, Brunswick
You won’t find a reliable 'best pub in Melbourne' list that doesn’t include Brunswick’s Retreat Hotel. This spacious beer garden is primed for whiling away the weekend afternoons with regular barbeques, a sizeable beer selection, live music in the band room and pub trivia every Monday and Tuesday.
On the food front, the pub classics are in abundance but it's the cheeseburger with a bourbon barbecue sauce that's the go-to.
Railway Club Hotel
107 Raglan Street, Port Melbourne
One of the most beloved local spots, Railway Club Hotel is the quintessential Port Melbourne pub. The historic Victorian-era building on Raglan Street shields a world of ice-cold pints and premium steak cuts, touted as one of top spots for a rib eye or t-bone in town.
On the bar front, there's an absolute slew of ales to choose from with seven different beers on tap as well as a tonne of crafts like White Rabbit Dark Ale and staples like VB in the fridge.
89 Albert Street, Windsor
One of the OGs of the south, The Windsor Castle offers up one of the best pub-visiting experiences in Melbourne’s south. Easily identified from its bright green facade with pink elephants, the colourful exterior leads you inside into a collection of classic pub fare with all the usual suspects on tap and a relaxed environment under several large oak trees to keep you cool during those warmer months.
Garden State Hotel
101 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD
Beer gardens but make it bougie. Garden State Hotel is all about aesthetics across all four levels of this boozy oasis. The venue has the capacity to host 800 people at any one time, it’s still one of the biggest beer gardens in Melbourne and it absolutely heaves through the warmer months.
One of the prettiest pubs In this city, and certainly one of the best pubs Melbourne CBD has to offer.
Marquis Of Lorne
411 George Street, Fitzroy
Image credit: Marquis Of Lorne | Supplied
This ain’t your ordinary pub. Proudly perched on the corner of Kerr and George Street, the Marquis Of Lorne’s pub classic menu and bar has a lot to offer. A special nod to dishes like the now-iconic rockling burger, a complete game-changer with a dill-infused aioli, shallots cos lettuce and a hearty serving of chips, as well as the humble chicken schnitzel—truly one of the best in town.
Marquis of Lorne also has an intimately spaced rooftop bar, and that's just one of the many reasons locals consider it one of the best pubs Melbourne has to offer.
College Lawn Hotel
36 Greville Street, Prahran
A classic Melbourne pub loved by many a weekend warriors and suits on the 9 to 5 grind alike. There’s a certain familiarity to the College Lawn Hotel where you’re bound to bump into half of Melbourne on a summer’s day, but for some reason, it never feels crowded.
College Lawn Hotel does an epic parma, it’s so epic that this Melbourne favourite also serves it in a smaller size if you prefer.
15 Holmes Road, Moonee Ponds
The team behind Ascot Vale’s The Ascot Lot has transformed the heritage-listed Russo’s site on Holmes Road and has revitalised the 500-square metre former supermarket site into Holmes Hall, a 400-seat mess hall, craft beer store, tap house and lounge, and laneway bar.
Expect quality pub-fare, from your perfectly golden parma as well as more modern inclusions like share plates of Burrata, on the beer front there’s a whole raft of tins in the fridge as well as a staple range of Mountain Goat and Range Brewing beer on tap. One of the more unique pubs in this city, and one of the best pubs Melbourne has to offer, no doubt.
The Prince Hotel
A real old charmer, plenty is happening at the Prince Hotel—formerly known as the Prince Of Wales. The multi-level venue is one of the most storied spots in Melbourne and the public bar is an absolute gem and one of the best pubs going around.
The iconic spot had a facelift several years but still retains the worn aesthetic of the endless pints and counter meals that have been put to the sword inside the walls. Alongside the staples, you'll also find more dialled-up dishes here from a wood-roasted chicken with Chimichurri to various steak cuts served up with mustard remoulade and triple-cooked chips at one of the best pubs in Melbourne.
The Flying Duck Hotel
67 Bendigo Street, Prahran
After a hefty refurbishment, The Flying Duck of Prahran is back and better than ever, and if it wasn't already considered one of the best pubs in Melbourne, it certainly is now. Tucked away in the backstreets just off Chapel, the 84-seat public bar, diner, atrium and beer garden still retains its OG charm but now with a more sophisticated neighbourly feel.
Led by the culinary talent of chef Ben Pigott (Hobsons Bay Hotel, Supernormal) the menu here deviates from the conventional pub standards with flatbreads served up with Toum, scallops grilled on wood-fire and then served with herb butter and sustainably sourced steak and fish.
The Corner Hotel
57 Swan Street, Richmond
The Corner Hotel, just a short stagger from Richmond Station, is one of the best pubs Melbourne has to offer in 2024. Touted as one of the homes of live music in Melbourne the beer-soaked floors of the band room and sunlit rooftop terrace all pile into the legacy that the Swan Street venue has cultivated since originally being built back in the early nineteenth century.
Grab a few frosty pints and tuck into the extensive and varied menu from pasta, parmas steak sangas and more and all while taking in the sunset vistas over the CBD.
67 - 71 Johnston Street, Collingwood
Built back in the 19th century, and carrying its name for almost 150 years, The Tote is now part of the furniture in Collingwood. The Tote is not about carefully styled interiors and aesthetics that dominate most of Melbourne's pub and bar scene.
Inside the walls practically ooze with rock n roll and are stained with many a beer spilled during one of the many thumping punk or rock n roll sets. Grab a pint and settle in to absorb the whole point of The Tote: live local music.
Hotel South Melbourne
160 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne
A true local, this reliable favourite has earned its spot as one of the best South Melbourne pubs. The original hotel building which dates back almost 170 years has seen a contemporary update, while still retaining its original charm with staples like the trusty sports bar but with the added modern amenities like a 120-seating dining space which is led by ex-Supernormal chef, Lewis Bryce.
There's plenty to tackle on the menu at Hotel South Melbourne from house-made focaccia with whipped maple butter to slow-cooked lamb shoulder with saltbush and romesco.
Check more of Melbourne's best over here:
Leading image credit: Royal Oak Hotel | Duncan Jacob
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