“I think a lot of rooftop bars have too great a fit-out, that makes it feel like you’re in a bar without a roof. To me, this space really feels like you’re on a rooftop,” says co-owner, Bryan Lynagh.

When you climb the outdoor stairs to the top of the former Duke of Kent Hotel, you’ll see walls splashed with old graffiti and peeling paint. Seating options range from apple crates and cushions, to picnic tables and lounge chairs.

The Hills rooftop bar is in the shape of a U, and sits at the top level of the Tuxedo Cat complex with a theatre and bar on the levels below. Popular Adelaide shop Burger Theory makes its Melbourne debut on the ground level. Bring your order upstairs to enjoy in the sunshine.

Lynagh and his partner and the bar’s co-owner, Cassandra Tombs, are artists involved with the Tuxedo Cat. The independently run organisation for emerging performers has this space in Melbourne and one in Adelaide.

The Tuxedo Cat seeks out non-conventional spaces or buildings that are earmarked for development It then gets them licensed and compliant to build theatres and bars with unique environments.

“We like to keep the space as much the way we found it as possible, softening it with plants and little things that catch our eye,” says Lynagh.

The Hills’ no-frills menu, or lack thereof, consists of basic spirits, wine, Thunder Road beer on tap and The Adelaide Hills Cider – which is also where the apple-bin crates are from.

The bar will happily accommodate your order if it’s a little out of the ordinary, though.

“Someone asked for a Negroni the other night, so we just ran downstairs, got what we needed and knocked one up for them,” says Lynagh.

The Hills rooftop bar is here to stay for at least a year, but will have an uncertain future after that because the building is earmarked for development.

The Hills
Flanigan Lane, Melbourne

Daily 4pm–late