There’s something about drinking at a Melbourne rooftop bar that makes you feel like you’re playing hooky from school or on vacation. There’s no better feeling than being sun-drunk (okay, maybe just plain drunk) on a summer’s evening, looking out across the sprawl of the city as a warm breeze ruffles your hair. Melbourne is known for being Australia’s rooftop bar capital—so which ones are the best? It’s a bit of a trick question, because, like cat memes, they’re all good. But some are extra specially good, whether it be for their cushion-lined daybeds or their tasty selection of bar snacks. Here, in no particular order, are our favourite Melbourne rooftop bars for when you want alcohol at an altitude.
Craft beer, quirky cocktails and good times abound at this astro-turfed terrace. Climb the stairwell in the alley behind Section 8 and you’ll find views of the city as well as a few wall-mounted wooden bear’s heads. The tunes are on point at Goldilocks, and the ‘Just Right’ menu includes crispy fried chicken and braised brisket sliders. One of our fave rooftop bars in Melbourne.
Great for late nights, Siglo sits above the Melbourne Supper Club like its lofty alcoholic conscience. It’s got a sleek, refined feel with a sophisticated cocktail and wine list, and high-end bar snacks including foie gras. Come for an intimate night out with someone you want to impress—or just to scoff Scotch and cigars as you lord it over Parliament House.
An oldie but a goodie, Rooftop Bar sells out its eponymous cinema sessions each year. The climb up the stairs or in the shuddering lift is always a struggle, but you’ll be rewarded with one of the best views in the city and an all-day burger menu. If you’re lucky enough to score a deckchair in the twilight at this rooftop bar, hold onto it and don’t let it out of your sight, no matter what.
Wolf’s Lair Drinking Haus and Treetops
Hidden behind Jimmy Watson Lane in Carlton, Wolf’s Lair is a summery hidey-hole of craft beers, cocktail jugs and chilled rosé. There’s astro-turf throughout and an impressively manicured garden, plus Oxford Scholar Gin and a 12-year-old Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whiskey. Seek wolfishness, oh lairy one.
Naked in the Sky
Perched above Naked For Satan, this sky-high oasis is an open-air fiesta of frosty beers, infused vodkas and jugs of kalimotxo (red wine and Coke). The famously cheap pintxos from downstairs are replaced by chicer Basque fare like braised rabbit and baked Camembert—and the ‘ZOMG’ view is everything people say it is and more.
Easey’s fixed an old-school train carriage to a roof five storeys high to create their ruthlessly cool Melbourne rooftop bar. Sip a beer in a vintage orange and brown train seat overlooking the city lights (and okay, the council flats). The signature burger is an epic man-versus-food monster and the tap beers hail from CUB, Mountain Goat, Holgate, Tooborac and Mornington Peninsula Breweries. Just know there are only 37 seats on board.
Sitting pretty above Swanston Street, Sahara’s rooftop bar is a chilled-out space where you can graze on Moorish tapas and smoke shisha in a variety of fruity flavours. The drinks list is basic but decent, with Happy Hour running from 5pm-8pm every Sunday as well as Monday-Thursday. Rock up on a Thursday night and you’ll find Happy Hour lasts all night, plus groups of four or more receive a free pizza.
Loop Bar has been around for years but their Loop rooftop bar is a relatively new addition to Melbourne’s alcohol-stocked skyline. Crawling with creepers, cactuses, baubles and vines, it’s got a strong cocktail menu which riffs on the botanical theme, not to mention snowcones soaked in gin, lemon and ginger syrup. The snacks feature chorizo Madeleines and chickpea popcorn—your childhood favourites just got a grown-up makeover.
For five years now, Madame Brussels has been raising the bar (sorry) with its rather fancy garden party vibe and infamous cocktail jugs. A shrine to astro-turf and wicker garden furniture, it offers a grass-is-definitely-greener retreat from real life with Pimm’s, punch, rosé and cupcakes. Oh yeah, and skyscraper views that are absent from the tennis club.
This nautically-themed bar at the St Kilda Sea Baths has unbeatable ocean views and a rather excellent mural of its colonial-styled namesake wrestling a giant squid. Grab a stripy outdoor banquette and kick back with a few Peronis at Captain Baxter, one of the best rooftop bars in Melbourne. The cracking menu leans towards the assemble-it-yourself variety with the ubiquitous taco getting a look in and a decent variety of Asian-inspired snacks.
Want more of the best rooftop bars in Melbourne? Search ‘rooftop’ in The Directory!
Image credit: Captain Baxter via Facebook