Before I visit a new city, I will spend hours researching the best and most unique places to go. Top of the list will always be to work out which bars I would like (okay, need) to drink in. If you’re anything like me then you’ll love quirky bars, hidden bars, rooftop bars and bars with a beer garden. You get the picture, pretty much any bar. Luckily for you, I’ve already sampled many of Melbourne’s bars and here I’ve narrowed my favourites down. This is the ultimate list of Melbourne’s top five bars.
Ich Bin Ein Berliner. Those four words will be etched in your memory as you leave this bar and you’ll be convincing everyone to visit your new hometown. This is my favourite bar in Melbourne as it’s just so unlike anywhere I’ve been to before. The transportation to Germany starts at the entrance with a welcome sign written entirely in German. I’m not sure what it says but pressing the doorbell will signal your chosen waiter to let you in. From there, the experience really begins.
We all know that Berlin was once a separated city with the Capitalist West and the Communist East. This bar is split in half too and you can choose whether to sit in the glitzy west or the dingy east. I chose East Germany with its Russian writing on the walls and bunk beds instead of seats.The waiters also know a thing or two about cocktails and I’m sure it won’t take too long to pick your poison. The cocktails are around $20 each which is expensive but I would be back in an instant. You won’t regret drinking here.
I prefer this rooftop bar over the nearby ‘Rooftop Bar’ (genius name guys) as the views aren’t obstructed by six-foot wire fences and you feel as though your nestled between Melbourne’s skyscrapers. This is a bar that you wouldn’t know was there unless you knew it was there. Next to a Chinese takeaway sits a dingy lift which will take you up a few floors to this little gem.
This is where I’d always go at night as the city lights look great from here. All your standard drinks are served here and, if you’re feeling peckish, the Asian influenced nibbles are fantastic.
At the eastern end of the CBD, in another laneway, lies the Loop Roof at the top of many stairs. It’s set in an exotic garden with brilliantly framed views of Melbourne’s skyline. One of the best places to drink the day away whilst the sun begins to set.
The Croft Institute
Try to find this hidden bar and you’ll be taken down dark back alleys filled with graffiti. I had to triple-check the directions before venturing as far as I could until spotting the entrance. This place has gone for the classic ‘mental hospital’ vibe and, if I’m honest, is creepy AF. Especially the toilets. However, the drinks are awesome. Where else can you drink cocktails out of syringes?
Yes this is a dive bar but it’s a goddamn awesome dive bar. On the edge of Chinatown, Heartbreaker is a proper rock bar perfect for plenty of beers, tunes on the Jukebox and slices of pizza from Connie’s.
An Honourable Mention to Ponyfish Island
I’m still not sure whether I prefer the view of Melbourne’s South Bank or the CBD but it doesn’t matter if you visit Ponyfish Island. This bar is under a bridge in the middle of the Yarra River so you can get the best of both worlds whilst supping a nice cold beer.
It was difficult narrowing it down to just five bars for this post, there are so so many good bars in Melbourne and I’m sure you’ll end up finding your own favourites.
For more inspiration on Melbourne, check out my guide on 24 hours in the city as well as the best places for a bite to eat.