Best Milk Bars in Melbourne

Updated June 10th, 2022


The old milk bar is on its last legs in Melbourne. You can still find them around, but the signage is likely to be fading and the proprietors nearing retirement. It's sad - many of us have rosy memories of these small community hubs, which were usually reached by bike or on foot, rather than in a car.

Luckily, a new generation has stepped up. Most of them aren't particularly faithful to their predecessors, but that's okay. Even if they only sell a few eggs or whizz up a superb blue-heaven milkshake, to us, all these spots embody the friendly spirit of the old milk bar in one way or another.

If that's not enough for you, check out Jerry's and Rowena Parade Corner Store, two hold-outs which have been around since the mid '50s.

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  • This Barkly Street icon has stood for over four decades. And after a brief Covid-enforced closure, it's in new hands and is better than ever. Head here for meatball subs, thickshakes and vegan treats made in-house.

  • Two sisters have revived the old-school neighbourhood milk bar, with an eccentric space that’s equal parts cafe and corner store. Find everything from pantry basics to nostalgic cafe fare like breakfast muffins, salad sandwiches and house-made sweets.

  • A new-school corner store from chef and food writer, Michele Curtis. As you’d expect, she’s a stickler for quality, and that ethos extends from the menu of rustic, wholesome dishes to the retail shelves lined with Melbourne-made pantry items.

  • Not a milk bar in the strictest sense – you won't be able to buy some milk or the paper here. But order a pie or a milkshake (or a Milo, available hot or cold) and you're guaranteed to get that warm, nostalgic milk bar feeling.

  • White, bright and welcoming, this update on the classic suburban milk bar sees an old mixed business ushered into the modern era with fancy brunches and Inglewood coffee. It’s also selling sourdough, ready-made sandwiches and pastries to take away.

  • A French-inspired cafe peddling house-made cakes, mostly vegan sandwiches and local homewares under one roof. Find it in a sleepy suburban pocket in Melbourne’s east.

  • This family-owned corner store is like the pantry you wish you had. Come for bread and milk; leave with a chicken club sanga and something from the shelves full of Melbourne-made specialty staples.

  • Cowderoy’s has been part of St Kilda’s story since 1932. And while you’re more likely to do brunch here than the grocery shopping, that’s also true of many places on this list. Kid-friendly, with the added bonus of a lovely park across the street.

  • What used to be a stark concrete bunker is now a warm, homey space brimming with homewares and pantry goods for sale. A credo of serving “honest food and beverages daily” translates as home-style salads, wraps and coffee by Supreme.

  • While this homey spot may not be as flash as some of its contemporaries, it more than makes up for the fact in hearty breakfasts, tasty sandwiches and a strong community feel.

  • Keeping the European-Australian milk bar alive since 1956. It serves simple cafe fare with a Mediterranean twist, otherwise it’s a magnet for Richmond locals chasing their daily newspaper, milk and bread. And there’s no sign of it stopping anytime soon.

  • Bread, milk, fresh flowers and pastries join a menu of elevated brunch dishes at this Scandi-cool take on the genre. It’s even housed inside a former milk bar, which makes the place all the more convincing.