We love Melbourne. It feels like Toronto (right down to the streetcars) but way warmer. There a few different neighbourhoods worth popping around and checking things out at all times of the day. Despite being a thousand miles (kilometres?) from any other major city, Melbourne has kept up with any trend you can imagine and also has a rich and diverse selection of bars and restaurants to go visit. One note: you will almost never accidentally walk into a fancy cocktail bar in Melbourne. They are mostly hidden down an alley, up a flight of stairs and at the end of the hallway. Here’s how we suggest you spend at least one night.
1/ Section 8 is a bar in an alley. Actually it is in a shipping container in an alley. Living in puritanical Toronto with all our liquor laws, not to mention weather would make this bar impossible here. This a great place to start. Grab something to eat from the attached business as well.
2/ Gin Palace is, as you might have guessed, a gin bar decorated to appear like it existed in the 1800s. They boast a well curated list of classic style cocktails, house cocktails and pre-arranged marriages of specific gins with specific tonics. They also have a venue in the back that hosts comedy shows and the like.
3/ Eau De Vie is down an alley (SURPRISE!). You open the door into an opulent high ceilinged room of wood and golden light. The drinks here are legendary as evidenced by the bar’s appearance on every list about great bars in Melbourne, Australia and the world.They were even nice enough to let us take some photos while we were there on our honeymoon, including this Wes Anderson looking gem.
4/ The Everleigh is what we would call one of the most legitimate prohibition era style bars we have ever seen. There will be a three piece jazz band playing on the intricately tiled floor while the bartender chips and cracks ice for each drink individually. Speaking of ice, they run their own ice company.
5/ The Black Pearl is walking distance from the Everleigh. Their team has won several awards and the bar itself has been on the World’s Best Bars lists a few times. It has been around for 13 years so has truly stood the test of time. Things like creative menu design help. Last we were there, the menu was made up of Topps style collector cards with drink names on the front and recipes on the back. The Earthworm Jim one stands out in my memory. If you are hungry again by now, grab souvlaki from next door. Word on the street is that Enrique Bacardi is a fan.
Stagger Lee’s is a diner/cafe in Fitzroy that serves amazing lunches. It will be the right kind of food to get you moving the day after the night before. The guy that runs the kitchen is named Burger. Seriously. Everything here is light and fresh but still has a stick to your ribs feel to it.
Do you have any bars in Melbourne to add to our list? Comment below.
Note: As with all Bar Hops, we are not encouraging getting inebriated. This is a list of great cocktail bars that we suggest visiting while in Melbourne. We want you to have fun and play safe. Check out How to Do a Good Bar Hop for some hot tips.