Now that the sun has decided to start making some fairly regular appearances, it’s time to reacquaint ourselves with the great outdoors. Don’t worry guys, we’re not talking about hiking up mountains or running around the Tan. What better way to up your dose of Vitamin D than at one of Melbourne’s best beer gardens? So much more civilised.
Grub Food Van
Ping pong, parasols and talking books in the toilets? For some quality beer time in the sun, Grub Food Van has you covered. With an open kitchen at their disposal, the guys at this epic Melbourne beer garden are cooking up some quality eats, so be sure to grab some grub while you sip on that cider. Try the roast beef toasty with gruyère, onion jam, radicchio and horseradish slaw, and a bottle of Lucky Duck.
The Palace Hotel
If you’ve been looking for Billy, the staffy from Carlton’s Great Northern Hotel, we’ve found him. His owner may have moved south, but his dog-friendly policy hasn’t changed, with canines of all categories welcome in this classic, leafy beer garden, which also hosts live music sessions and spit-roasted lamb sessions. Whether you like your beer craft or conventional, you’ll find it’s served on tap and ice-cold at The Palace, and their pub grub will not disappoint. We loved the pulled pork and slaw roll, served with apple and mint. Our hungry hound enjoyed it too!
Le Bon Ton
Get ready for a night under the stars when you take a seat in Le Bon Ton’s quaint courtyard. Fairy lights strung above long tables add to the candlelit intimacy, and the astro-turf carpet will make you feel like you’re at a New Orleans garden party. To stay on theme, order the southern-style buttermilk fried chicken with cracked pepper white gravy and wash it down with a good old-fashioned Hurricane (Havana Club 7, fresh pressed citrus, passionfruit and pomegranate, served on tap!).
For good sunshiney times in the CBD, get yourself to the Trunk courtyard right in the middle of the city. This joint is usually heaving with the after-work crowd, so arrive early to score a spot under an umbrella and sample the New Yorker dog (cheese kransky, neon relish and yellow mustard) alongside a pint of Little Creatures.
If you manage to make your way through the dimly-lit, trinket-filled front bar, you will stumble out onto a cozy, inner-city beer garden, with plenty of intimate seating. Perfect for D&Ms. Although Prudence can’t cook, she does encourage her guests to peruse from several takeaway menus and order to their hearts’ content. While you wait, sip on a ten-dollar cocktail. Winning.
Finally. Two entities that were created specifically with sunshine in mind (beer and boats) come together at the Boatbuilders Yard beer garden in South Wharf. With stunning views of the Yarra River, and plenty of boats to look at, there’s no better way to spend a sunny day than with a pitcher of Pimms and some kingfish ceviche at one of Melbourne's best outdoor venues. Still hungry? Pop on over to the Pop-Up Popstic cart and indulge your sweet tooth.
Dr Morse Bar and Eatery
You can have your breakfast AND your beer out in this sprawling courtyard, with Dr Morse open morning, noon and night. When the sun sets and the barbie fires up, this urban jungle will come to life with twinkling lights, creating a magical backdrop for beer drinking and treat eating. Crack open a Pirate Life Pale Ale and get your gob around the beef, roasted onion and aged cheddar pie.
Boasting one of the biggest beer gardens we’ve ever laid eyes on, the Flying Duck took some time off to preen its feathers and has re-emerged all shiny and new. Snag a picnic table under palm tree and while away an afternoon. For sustenance, order the flying chicken parma, served with shoestring fries, and pair it with a pint of Mountain Goat Steam Ale. Match made in heaven.
Arbory Bar & Eatery
Forget the Sandringham line. At platform 13, the Arbory is where it’s at. With unrivalled views of the Yarra River and the city skyline from Flinders Street Station, this Melbourne beer garden is shaded by rows of plane trees and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to hungry punters every day of the year. If this venue doesn’t lend itself to a cocktail, nothing would. So just give in to it and order Tommy’s watermelon margarita while you tuck into the rare roasted salmon, served with Jerusalem artichoke, truffle aioli and hazelnuts.
Located on St Kilda Road, The Village have one of the most epic beer gardens in Melbourne and are getting ready to launch their Kitchen Garden, offering punters a fancy outdoor menu to match some sneaky drink specials (including ten-dollar espresso martinis every day from 12pm to 6pm. Yes!). As we all know, Melbourne weather can be a fickle friend, and The Village has created the Arbor as a great undercover option for when 32 degrees turns into a hailstorm.
Image credit: Michelle Jarni for The Urban List