Best Bars in Melbourne

Updated 3 months ago


Picture this. An out-of-town friend is coming to Melbourne for one night only. You want to show them a real good time – loose and boozy with a high probability of late-night singing, dancing and random encounters. Something typically “Melbourne”.

A cocktail bar, a wine bar or even a pub just won’t do. You need the bars on this list. While they may incorporate elements of the above, they’re a genre unto themselves, experts at creating good, rowdy times night after night after night. Let’s hope your friend doesn’t have an early flight.

  • The cherry-red neon sign at Heartbreaker is a beacon for late-night punters chasing a good time. With pre-batched cocktails and classic rock on the jukebox – there’s only one result here. Wear your dancing shoes in case.

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  • If you’re really into burgers, tick Leonard’s off the list. This ’70s log cabin-themed burger bar serves some of Melbourne’s best. Expect American-style burger combos centred around beef, chicken, mushroom and vegan pattys. It’s also dog-friendly, so your furry friend might be begging tableside for a bite.

  • One of the friendliest, most relaxed bars in town.

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  • An incredible sound system. Absurdly good value house wines. And an unusual canteen-style window that passes drinks right onto the footpath. This is one of Melbourne’s most fun wine bars.

  • This audiophile spot serves bar snacks with a side of sub-bass. Things are fun and loud downstairs, with great drinks and a few bar stools to enjoy them on. But it's on the upstairs dancefloor where the volume really turns up.

  • A romantic Italian joint with valentine-red booths and a beautiful oak bar. The owners pay homage to their predecessors with the venue’s original woodfired oven, and signature pizza – topped with passata, fior di latte and basil.

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  • Head up the ridiculously colourful stairwell at this good-time bar (by a co-founder of the Moon and Milton Wine Shop) for a very drinkable "mistake" rosé; frozen Margs and passionfruit sours. For snacks, try one of the Reubens or a spicy Sichuan eggplant sanga.

  • Despite the modern refurb, this charming all-day boozer feels like it’s been around forever. Park yourself in the sunny, plant-filled atrium or nab a spot out front for pub-style breakfasts and upmarket parmas. The knockout-style pool competitions here are a midweek spectacle.

  • Like drinking at your cool grandma’s house.

  • A lush courtyard-diner from a seasoned hospo crew.

  • A Greek neighbourhood bar inspired by yiayia’s house. Go for comforting home-style plates, including pickled calamari and gooey vegan moussaka, backed by a tight list of Greek beers and wines; stay for the retro setting and vibrant vibes.

  • A moodily lit diner that hits all the right notes, with a big hit of nostalgia. Slide into a cushy booth for a glossy pepperoni pizza – or a culture-crossing mortadella and pineapple. Then bring a round of Negronis to the pool table.