Best Beer Gardens in Melbourne

Updated 2 months ago


Beer gardens are meeting places – somewhere you can pull up stumps after a long day at work, sip on a freshly-poured pint, and proceed to vent to about your job and love life to a few good friends, in the shade of some lush foliage (even if it’s artificial greenery).

Beer gardens are more than just synonymous with Melbourne’s drinking culture, they’re one of its best features. In this guide you’ll find plenty of classic ones to choose from, but we’re not limiting ourselves to a strict definition for this one. As far as we’re concerned, if it’s open-air and serves drinks; it’s fair game.

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  • If any pub can demonstrate the craft beer revolution, this 1883-classic makes a strong case. But aside from the quality selection pouring on tap, there’s plenty to love about this old man pub made cool again – not least of all the huge, dog-friendly beer garden.

  • A gold-standard, inner-north staple where just about everyone knows your name. For the best seats in the house, it’s hard to choose between the festoon-lit benches out back and the hot real restate along the front bar.

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  • Indie, comedy and even mariarchi has graced the cosy stage at this live-music stalwart, where there’s something worth seeing almost every night of the week. But if guitars don’t amp you up, there’s an astroturfed beer garden with plenty of dark nooks to do as the pub’s name suggests.

  • You’re not a live music fan in Melbourne unless you’ve been to the Corner. The room – and its infamous solitary column – is rightfully an icon. But did you know it also has a killer rooftop and beer garden upstairs?

  • It’s hard to imagine the riverside without Arbory. Everyone’s been to this incredibly long al fresco bar and diner at some point, and if they haven’t, they’re destined to eventually. It’s open late, and there’s plenty of food and booze here to satisfy no matter when you visit.

  • Choose your own adventure across three bars, 12 bowling lanes, a gaming arcade, a dance floor and a massive beer garden. At this spot (which has room for 600 punters) you clearly come for the activities. But you stay for the 45 beer taps, kegged cocktails, pizzas and pub food.

  • If you love beer, a visit to The Local Taphouse is non-negotiable. It’s influenced by European taverns in the 1930s, and has one of the most curated beer lists in the country. Pair those drinks with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere – both inside and on the rooftop beer garden – and you have a craft beer destination worth travelling for.

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  • There’s always plenty of action in the Prince’s grand front bar, but it’s the breezy, shaded beer garden that really commands the crowds. Get down early if you plan to scoff your burger or a steak at a table. Otherwise, this southside magnet is the kind of place where you can expect to stand on weekends.

  • This ’70s-inspired log cabin nails the casual-bar-meets-professional-house-party brief. Whether you’re dancing till 3am or hoeing into some the city’s finest fried chook in the al fresco area, Leonard’s guarantees a good time, every time.

  • 4 Pines beer is brewed specially for this open-air garden-bar. You’ll also find food trucks with an ever-rotating selection of burgers, bao, and woodfired pizza. And it’s dog friendly, too.

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  • A former woolshed that’s been transformed into an intimate bar, arts hub and live music venue. The leafy beer garden has one of Melbourne’s most banging sound systems – not to mention a regular rotation of DJs who know how to use it.

  • As far as warehouse conversions go, the sequel to Stomping Ground’s Collingwood brewpub is a doozy. It’s a vast indoor-outdoor space with a sun deck, festoon lighting, table tennis tables and a giant screen for live sport.

  • Under the stewardship of star chef Andrew McConnell, this classic old boozer feels as vital as ever. And the leafy, compact courtyard has lost none of its lived-in charm. Pull up on a balmy day for beers, snacky plates or its beloved fish pie.

  • This mammoth beer garden and food-truck park hosts a rotating cast of food trucks from around Melbourne. Throw in dozens of beer taps and 699 of your closest friends, and you’ve got a recipe for one of the best beer gardens in the city.

  • This art deco boozer was originally built to resemble a ship, which explains its striking, wedge-like facade. Snag a spot in the beer garden for a brewery-inspired menu of woodfired pizzas, steaks, burgers and more. It has plenty of uncovered sections to soak up the sun in, and standing heaters for those cooler weekend afternoons.

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  • This classic corner hotel was revamped by the Marquis of Lorne team, with a considered menu and exceptional wine list. The interior has a little Wes Anderson energy, with brooding timber panels and a roaring period fireplace. But the leafy outdoor area is the best spot for a pint in the sun.

  • No other city in the country would slap a shipping container, some massive steel girders and a collection of ferns together and call it a beer garden. But Melbourne would, and there’s a solid rotation of drinks to go with the breezy, open-air vibe.

  • This live music bar spot feels a bit like a house party. See a gig in the bandroom, drink in the all-weather beer garden, or hide out in its quiet front bar for classic cocktails. It even has a 3am license, so there’s no mass exodus when the show ends.

  • The 1926-built Bridge Hotel has heritage charm in spades – plus three crackling open fireplaces, a spacious outdoor area and a nostalgic fisherman’s basket for some all-out Australiana.

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  • This west-side wine bar and bottle shop, run by locals, is compact but comprehensive. Grab a bottle to go, or beeline to the colourful courtyard for freshly shucked oysters, local beers and approachable wines.

  • At this art deco pub, you’re just as likely to catch scruffy rockers playing in the front bar as you are a bijou wedding in the gorgeous dining hall. Seek out its expansive beer garden which can rival any in Melbourne, complete with a working barbeque.

  • Named after a Tom Petty album – and rocking an appropriate soundtrack – Lulie Tavern’s Cali-inspired rooftop beer garden is all sun, stone and succulents. Head upstairs for zesty cocktails from a cactus-shaped dispenser and a riff on the Hungry Jack’s Whopper.

  • A massive, family- and dog-friendly spot in an old car-wrecking site in Mordialloc. The buzzing, all-in-one space caters to most with a food-truck park, health-food cafe and distillery. With a mix of high and low tables set under a big transparent roof and outside, it hums throughout the seasons.

  • A neighbourhood watering hole with a pub-like atmosphere. Nab a spot in the beer garden to sip one-off collab beers, or sneak off and play Jurassic Park-themed pinball.

  • At this bottle-o and attached beer hall, there are plenty of draught beers to drink on site, and more than 350 to take home (or drink here with a corkage fee). The indoor-meets-outdoor space is all about natural light, and has a retractable roof for Melbourne’s drizzly days.

  • The Scottish craft-beer brand found a home in Coburg’s historic Pentridge Prison. Head to the beer garden – set in a former prison yard – or the taproom in a grand old bluestone building. Find Australian-exclusive brews, sticky-glazed chicken wings and a full plant-based menu.

  • Theme parks can be for adults, too. Moon Dog’s Preston HQ is decked out with a giant beer garden, pool, hidden tiki disco bar, and an indoor waterfall – and it has capacity for 725 patrons. There’s truly nothing else like it in Australia.

  • Inside an old furniture warehouse, this stylish and compact brewery produces some of the most complex beers in Melbourne, from farmhouse styles that mimic the flavour characteristics of wine, to coffee ales brewed in collaboration with Proud Mary. It also packs in a schmick restaurant (and beer garden) serving an inventive Southeast Asian-influenced menu.

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  • This quirky lime castle is an improbable oasis away from bustling Chapel Street, and it has a huge courtyard. During the warmer months it’s thronged with locals, all drinking iced beverages and frosty beers.

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  • Turning away from hyper-polished pubs, this venue encapsulates the traditional and hearty. Experience local beers, revamped pub classics, tropical and house special cocktails, and of course – a colourful courtyard to enjoy them in.

  • This simple backstreet boozer harks back to the pubs of old. Look for the people sitting out front drinking jugs, next to the racks filled with patrons’ bikes. There’s a leafy beer garden out back for further conviviality.

  • This Italian diner hits all the right notes, with a big hit of nostalgia. On any given night, it’s packed with diners of many stripes – huddled in intimate booths or sprawled out in the beer garden, which is dressed up with snaking greenery and, after dark, twinkling fairy lights.