For a true Melbourne experience, you must visit one of the hidden laneway bars. Closely guarded by the local bar goers, the locations of these bars are not widely advertised, which increases their allure and vibe. Location, furnishings, and atmosphere is what these bars are all about. They are exclusive, often grungy, and strangely adorned, and are very cool places to hang out. These bars range in price from fancy exclusive cocktail bars to cheap drinking houses and are always full of the coolest, hippest, and funkiest bar goers that Melbourne seems to breed.
Opposite RMIT (the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) is the Order of Melbourne, a very funky, sleek bar, which draws an after work and student crowd. It has a very cool roof terrace with views of the city.
For something more bohemian, the Cherry Bar offers vinyl tunes and a cool attitude that truly tastes of the Melbourne bar scene that is so widely talked about. It’s a treasure amongst alleyways of garbage just outside of china town and might take some asking around to find, but it is absolutely worth the effort.
Hairy Canary is just off Collins Street and is a very small, cosy cocktail bar that prides itself on its barman’s skill and uses only the freshest ingredients.
The Melbourne Supper Club is a fine dining experience and a cosy winter destination when wanting to seek refuge from the sleet and cold of a Melbourne winter. It is adorned with leather couches and dark wood and boasts a menu of the finest wines and snacks, which are sure to impress even the pickiest critic.
Section8 is a very cool China Town hideaway that is more an enclosed car park than a bar. Drinks are served from an old shipping container and there are wooden pallets for seats. The coolest kids hang out here every night of the week, and it’s a great venue for comedy and theatre during the festival season.
For something truly unique and quirky, Madame Brussels is an old English styled bar up above Bourke Street with a modern twist. Astro-turf and bizarre garden party décor are the trimmings, and the staff wear tennis whites and absurd hair do’s. The drinks are traditional Pims and cocktails by the jug, and there are little cucumber or chicken sandwiches and cupcakes for your snacks. There is also a wonderful roof top terrace, in the heart of the city, where the staff offer you blankets on a cold winters night to keep out the chill.
Young and Jackson’s Hotel is an important part of old Melbourne, dating from 1861 (then known as the Princes Bridge Hotel), and sits on the corner of one of Melbourne’s well known, busiest crossroads. It is particularly famous for the painting of the naked Chloe, which was purchased by Mr. Young and has graced its walls since 1909. Corner of Swanston and Flinders Street (03 9650 3884). City Circle Tram.
More Popular Melbourne Bars
105 Queen Street, Melbourne (03 9670 6120)
Bennetts Lane Jazz Club
25 Bennetts Lane, Melbourne (03 9663 2856)
21 Liverpool Street, Melbourne (03 9650 4488)
5 Hosier Lane, Melbourne (03 9663 9202)
Prince of Wales Hotel
29 Fitzroy Street, Melbourne (03 9536 1111)