The city centre is so much more than touristy pubs, seedy slot-machine joints and dime-a-dozen post-work knockoff spots. For one, it was ground zero for laneway bars such as Meyers Place and Gin Palace.
Before 1994, if a bar wanted to sell drinks, it had to also sell food. When that legislation was overturned (one thing we can thank the casino for), it paved the way for a small bar renaissance in Melbourne, starting in the CBD.
While that culture has since spread to the suburbs (and other Australian cities), the CBD still packs the highest density of bars, from small and characterful to large and anonymous. Most of the city’s best cocktail bars are in postcode 3000, all concentrated within short walking distance of one another.
If you’re drinking late, this is also the place to be. Although there have been a few high profile club casualties in recent years, the CBD remains flush with late-night licenses that permit drinking until the wee hours, or even round the clock.