We’re drinking well right now. This month some great openings have arrived. While there’s always room for a drink at one of Melbourne’s best bars, it’s always fun to try somewhere new, too.

This is our edit of Melbourne’s best new bars from the past 12 months, updated monthly. Some could become your new favourite; others may just be good for one memorable night. All are worth a try.

Here’s a tip: come hungry. A lot of these bars have killer menus that deserve to be explored.

Related Pages
Best Bars in Melbourne
Melbourne's Best New Restaurants
Melbourne's Best New Cafes

Bar Margaux

From the folks who gave us The Everleigh and Heartbreaker, Bar Margaux goes well beyond just being a bar. It's a subterranean late-night bistro with a substantial, unapologetically French menu. And with its red leather banquettes, subway tiles and forgiving lighting, it's the kind of place you could lose a whole night in.

Basement 111 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Mono-XO

Everything about Mono-XO – from its 22-seat room to its single 60-centimetre by 30-centimetre charcoal grill – is small. But the atmosphere and flavour in the food and drinks? All huge. Most of the food is served on skewers. For drinks, there’s highball cocktails served over slow-frozen ice blocks, which champion just one or two big punchy flavours in each sip. There’s also a three-glass wine list, which features a $7 glass of mystery wine billed only as “WHAT THE F#&K;”.

Rear 191A Smith Street, Fitzroy

Peaches

While many of Melbourne’s cocktail bars are dimly-lit dens filled with burnished wood and coffee-coloured couches, Peaches turns the lights up, pulls back the curtains and plasters the whole thing in pastels. It’s simple, but it’s radically different to what we’re used to. And it makes Peaches arguably the most beautiful bar in Melbourne right now. Add $7 fried-chicken sangas and a cocktail list that’s equal parts technically impressive and downright fun, and you’ve got an instant classic.

Levels 2 and 3 301 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Angel Music Bar

This not-a-cocktail-bar, not-a-club hybrid – it’s best described as an intimate space designed for fun – comes courtesy of Con Christopoulos (The European, Kirk’s Wine Bar, French Saloon and Butchers Diner). Angel is a music-focused venue with an exceptional sound system playing a eclectic mix of whatever feels right at the time. So grab some lobster mac’n’cheese and a glass of champagne, then head upstairs for a dance.

12 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Bodriggy Brewing Co

This mammoth new brewery in Abbotsford was a long time coming, but it’s been worth the wait. Beers here run the gamut from crisp pilsners and summer ales to more obscure styles such as kettle sours and lichtenhainers. But beer is only one aspect of Bodriggy Brewing Co – you’ll also find a number of unusual cocktails, and five wines on tap. There’s a real night-time energy here, without it being overly loud or nightclub-y.

245 Johnston Street, Abbotsford
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Tamura Sake Bar

We've seen a raft of Japanese-style izakayas – casual drinking dens that places equal importance on food – open this year, but this one's the pick of the bunch. Grab a seat up at the bar; let Fumi Tamura and his wife Takako play you a vinyl record and pour you a "third-wave" sake; and order dishes such as yakitori chicken breast, a salmon skin crisp, or a katsu sando.

43 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

The Wood Samaritan

It’s usually not the best idea to open a venue in the middle of winter. But if you’re a North American-inspired log cabin, then it’s really the only sensible option. At the Wood Samaritan, the walls are all wood panelling, Navajo-print wallpaper and exposed brick. Mounted on them: skis, snowshoes and a canoe. Behind the bar, an obligatory moose head is given pride of place. Cocktails here take their cues from North America too, Canada specifically. To eat, the focus is on hearty bar food.

140 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Wolf and Swill

Wolf and Swill has something of a clandestine, after-hours feel. A mirror ball twirls lazily overhead, throwing patterns onto Venetian blinds. Records spin behind the bar, and a woodfired pizza oven glows reassuringly in the back. Grab a seat on one of the stools – the comfortable padded leather seats are perfect to settle into for hours of pizza, beer and lively conversation.

901 High Street, Thornbury

Radar

Radar has taken over the lease that nightlife institution Lounge held for 29 years. It’s a venue loaded with history, so the opening came with a lot of expectations and scrutiny. It’s too early to tell where it’ll fit into Melbourne’s late-night landscape, but signs are promising. In the afternoons, Radar is a great spot for a drink, especially on the open-air balcony. In the wee hours, the Funktion-One speakers flanking the dance floor get a rigorous workout.

243 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Meyers Place

Meyers Place arguably kickstarted Melbourne’s famous late-night laneway culture when it opened back in 1993. But two years ago, the lease was up. Now it’s reopened 150 metres away, on Crossley Street. It hasn’t changed much, which is what we were hoping for. Upstairs is a tight 30-person space (pretty much standing-room only), downstairs there’s a slightly bigger basement (still a bit of a squeeze). To drink there’s a tight list of wines by the glass. And of course, it wouldn’t be Meyers Place without Melbourne Bitter longnecks.

7 24 Crossley Street, Melbourne

The Espy

This is another icon we’re glad to have back. After an intense redevelopment, The Espy reopened in December 2018. And it’s not pulling any punches. There are 12 bars, three stages and two restaurants across the six levels of this 140-year-old building. There are too many venues within this quasi-precinct to list, but suffice it to say that any group visiting will have their needs catered for.

11 The Esplanade, St Kilda
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Leo's by the Slice

Leo’s by the Slice is a hybrid of co-owner Nick Stanton’s two other venues. It takes the pizza and Italian-American retro nostalgia of Leonardo’s Pizza Palace – wood panelling, terrazzo floors and Pizza Hut-style signage – and combines it with the good times and drinks of Leonard’s House of Love, his first venue. The result is an unabashedly fun bar where you can have a drink, play some pool and eat a seriously dressed-up slice of pie off a paper plate.

363 Chapel Street, South Yarra

Johnny’s Green Room

Johnny’s Green Room sits atop the recently reopened and transformed King & Godfree building. Until now, Carlton’s never really had a great rooftop bar. But even if Johnny’s weren’t the only choice, it’d be hard to top. With its peach terrazzo benches, navy blue cushions and marble-topped tables, it’s an Italo-steeped throwback to the peak dolce vita years of Rome in the ’60s. Settle in with a Negroni and some food from downstairs, and enjoy those panoramic vistas out over the city.

Level 3, 293-297 Lygon Street, Carlton

Molly Rose

Molly Rose is one of the latest brewery bars to join Melbourne’s unofficial craft-beer district in Abbotsford and Collingwood. In an old furniture warehouse, owner Nic Sandery brews beers that combine historical styles with inventive new takes. Sit among the giant stainless-steel fermenters while you sip zesty sour ales and farmhouse ales matured in brandy barrels.

279 Wellington Street, Collingwood

Denton Wine Bar

Denton is a confidently restrained bar that emphasises comfort and accessibility above all. One wall is panelled with chalkboards inscribed with the food and wine specials of the day, and every other surface is taken up by wine bottles, ready to drink in the bar or take home. Denton focuses on wines by the glass, which mostly hover just above the $10 mark. To eat, order some truffle salami with olives and cheese. If you’re after something larger, there’s a menu of six dishes that change with the seasons.

1 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Tetto di Carolina

With its warm light fixtures, red-steel accents and taupe booths and walls, Tetto is an inviting space that exudes casual Euro-cool. To drink, try the American Beauty: it’s part Americano, part Spritz, with some Campari-like Select Aperitivo. To eat, order an IFC (Italian Fried Chicken), an homage to KFC’s Zinger burger. On warm nights, Tetto’s roof will roll open to expose the sky above. We’re looking forward to summer.

48 Toorak Road, South Yarra
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Globe Alley

A no-nonsense good-time bar from the owner of Section 8, The B.East and Ferdydurke. At Globe Alley you’ll find live music three times a week, free pool and some of the best burgers in town. Cocktails names such as Kickstart My Heart and Flamingo Fire signal that you shouldn’t take this place too seriously. But if the drinks don’t convince you, maybe the black-and-white paste-ups of bands and films – from the Rolling Stones to The Addams Family – around the bar will.

1 Globe Alley, Melbourne

Romans Original

This small Footscray spot does double duty as a bar and cafe. Regardless of the time of day, though, the atmosphere’s likely to be the same: friendly, comfortable, intimate. It feels like Romans has been around for far longer than it has. Get a sandwich with your wine. A Meatsmith sausage patty served with fried egg and American cheese feels like a mature Macca’s brekkie; the meatball number comes in a crusty baguette, covered in chives and cheese.

50 Leeds Street, Footscray