Ah, day drinking. For those lazy, louche days when brunch disintegrates into lunch and before you know it... there’s just an hour or two to go before dinnertime, and it would surely be a waste of time to go home before heading out. We feel you, Melbourne.
That’s why we’ve pulled together this list of pubs, bars and cafes that welcome drinking during the day. Not only are they what we like to refer to at the TUL Day Drinking Club as ‘non-judgmental’, they also have the type of tipples that’ll pace you through the hours ahead, rather than sending you straight to the hell that is tequila slammers at 3pm.
Trust us… when the rest of society is sober, this is where you should go to indulge.
The Great Britain Hotel
Leafy beer garden, oversized boozy milkshakes. Need we say more? This old-school pub has a pinball machine, a laidback vibe, and a penchant for spiking your favourite childhood treat. Okay, so the sculptural works of diabetes-inducing dairy aren’t exactly sensible, but they’re undeniably fun. Try the Guinness Shake with Irish whiskey to cure what ails you.
The Catfish is almost as famous for its Bloody Mary as it is for its Philly Cheesesteaks. Sink one for a tenner between 12pm and 5pm on Sundays in the sunny courtyard out the back (with a side of chili fries, of course). There are often bands playing in the front bar or tatted DJs spinning vinyl, and the bartenders regularly upload their latest tap list to the Now Tapped app for iPhone and Android.
From 7.30am at the Treehouse, you can get a Bloody Mary loaded with extra spice to go with your matcha green smoothie bowl or pomegranate-strewn smashed avocado. It’s a naughty-but-nice way to start the day - and this joint has an all-day license to boot. The cocktail list spans over 50 drinks, with six variations on the espresso martini alone, and they have a 2 for 1 cocktail deal every Friday from 4pm-6pm.
Steer your motliest crew into the downstairs dining room at The Gem in the afternoon for the Sanga & Sailor Special: a smoked meat or veggie sandwich, fries and a pint or Sailor Jerry for $20. The bar opens at 3pm on weekdays, and midday on Fridays and weekends – get there jolly early and score one of the coveted kerbside tables.
Grand Trailer Park Taverna
Another leader in the alcoholic milkshake movement, Grand Trailer Park Taverna is dishing up gloriously trashtastic food and drinks from 11.30am til late. Try the salted caramel, bourbon spiked and maple bacon milkshake to show your arteries who’s boss, or play it ‘safe’ with a vodka-laced ice cream spider.
Obviously, a drink in the Easey's rooftop train carriage is the golden ticket, but if you want to start tippling earlier than 11am you can order a drink down in the Zone 1 café alongside a brekkie of fried chicken crumbed in Frosties cereal from 9am. It’s true, they told us so. Don’t be shy!
The fact that The Bot houses a ‘wine wall’ and its very own bottle shop should indicate that they’re happy to help you on your mission to get drunk during the day. The laidback bar opens directly onto a leafy courtyard that’s perfect for kicking back with a chilled bottle of summery rosé or a jewel-coloured rum negroni.
Borsch, Vodka & Tears
A favourite even of those who claim not to like Chapel Street, Borsch is styled like a Kraków cellar bar and houses more than 100 varieties of vodka. The staff will happily pour you a shot of absinthe to accompany your Polish breakfast spread, and the infamous ‘alcoholic mountain teas’ have spawned many a hazy escapade. Plus, they make one of the meanest Bloody Marys in town - na zdrowie!
Tucked away in Globe Alley just off Swanston Street, Belleville serves a top-notch range of local and imported beers, ciders, wines and spirits, as well as Asian-inspired snacks and the city’s best rotisserie chicken. Cocktails coast across the counter from 11am, and are helpfully divided into subcategories for ‘tycoons’, ‘royalty’, ‘visiting firemen’ and ‘gladhandlers’. Treat yourself to a classic gimlet after a grueling shopping sesh at Emporium.
The Grand Hotel
Consistently ‘hatted’ for it’s Dining Room menu, The Grand is also an excellent day drinking destination. The massive beer garden has plenty of umbrellas to shield you from the sun, and the kitchen dishes up $8 pizzas from Monday to Friday for lunch. Order a Hemingway Daiquiri to channel your inner writer, or an Aperol Spritz for more of a party vibe.
Speaking of Aperol Spritzes…
We wouldn’t be able to consider this an adequate list of where to day drink if we didn’t mention the pop-up Aperol Spritz Summer Sessions happening around town. Because we’re thoughtful types, we’ve already compiled a go-to list of all the venues and parties offering this killer combo of prosecco, Aperol and soda. Check it out here.
Image credit: Brodie Chan for The Urban List