Best cocktail bars in Melbourne

three cocktails lined up on a bar

Alice Piper

Posted May 19, 2022


Whether you like it spicy or sweet, these cocktail bars in Melbourne have your fancy drink needs covered. 

There’s no denying Melbourne’s culinary scene is one of the best in the world, and with so much competition in the way of restaurants and bars vying for your attention, cocktail bars are not simply ‘bars’ these days, but more of a theatre experience for the senses. 
 
It’s little wonder then that Melburnians are spoilt for choice when it comes to amazing cocktail bars, and whether it’s after work drinks, date night, or a quick catch up with a friend, or satisfying your sweet tooth, these are the best cocktail bars in Melbourne to visit.  


Best cocktail bars in Melbourne  

Black Pearl

304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

A regular on the World’s Best Bars list, Black Pearl offers unique cocktail creations that allow the bar tenders to really show off their skills – and with two bar areas open till the wee hours of the morning, there is plenty of space and time to enjoy your evening. 

Downstairs you’ll find a more relaxed scene, with people lounging on sofas and ottomans, or propped up at the bar chatting with staff as they create off-the-cuff cocktails. Upstairs, in ‘The Attic’, is where the magic really happens, with a cocktail list so long, it’s like a thesaurus. 

Don’t forget to order some bar snacks, the sausage rolls are a crowd favourite. 

Bourke Street Green 

501 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD

Bourke Street Green is like a lush tropical paradise, right in the heart of the Melbourne CBD – and the best part? Melbourne’s unpredictable weather won’t dampen your afternoon or evening, as the partially covered roof will keep you toasty and dry.

You’ll find all sorts of inventive cocktails at Bourke Street Green, like the signature Passionfruit Collins using Four Pillar Gin, and the Gospel Boulevardier using Rye Whisky, plus many more. 

There’s also a long list of local beers, wines, and a selection of non-alcoholic cocktails and drinks too if not everyone in your group wants a cocktail. 

Enjoy a fabulous Cosmo Sour from Melbourne CBD bar Bourke Street Green

Brunswick Aces

124 Western Street, Brunswick 

Brunswick Aces is a cocktail bar like you might not have experienced before in Melbourne as it is completely alcohol free. Yes, there is no booze whatsoever at this Brunswick East warehouse bar with more than 100 different drink options. 

Operated by a Melbourne distiller of the same name, Brunswick Aces, is touted as ‘Australia’s first permanent non-alcoholic bar’, and with classic gin & tonics without the gin, as well as many alcohol-free beers, it caters to the growing trend towards sobriety, as well as those are just keen to drink a little less.

So, head to Brunswick for a midweek cocktail and delight in the fact you won’t have a fuzzy head in the morning.

Ugly Duckling

238 Swan Street, Richmond 

A hidden gem in the inner east of Melbourne, this dimly lit bar with a heritage-listed glass atrium sets the scene for a moody evening of great cocktails – perfect for date night. 

At Ugly Duckling, you’ll find classics like a Singapore Sling or choose from multiple types of gin for your gin & tonic, and with the menu changing to match the season, summer sees lots of fruity creations, whereas winter is all about deeper, more robust cocktails. 

Jungle Boy

96 Chapel Street, Windsor

Perhaps one of the best hidden bars in Melbourne, Jungle Boy lies behind what looks like a cool room door in the sub shop Boston Sub in Windsor. 

Once you enter through the door of Jungle Boy, you’re met with an oasis of hanging plants, animal heads on the wall, and cocktails served in tiki mugs, all encapsulated in dim lighting to set the mood.  

cocktails in tiki mugs

Expect your cocktails served in tiki mugs mixed with theatrics at Jungle Boy. Image: Visit Victoria.


 

Bar None 

72 Auburn Road, Camberwell

Bar None is a cocktail bar in the east of Melbourne that feels as comfortable and relaxing as having a drink in your living room. 

With more than 300 spirits lining the back bar, Bar None's cocktail menu has something for every kind of drinker with classic margaritas and negronis, to a sweeter yet bitter sherbet fox made with rum and pineapple syrup. 

Settle in with a charcuterie board or some dips and bread for a relaxed night of great cocktails and service to match.

Fun Fact: Camberwell was a dry area until 2015 and residents needed to vote to approve liquor licences for venues.

Lay Low

93 Buckley Street, Seddon

Another of Melbourne’s best cocktail bars is Law Low, found inside a clothing store behind a non-descript grey door in the west of the city. 

Behind the door, you’ll find a long bar serving cocktails focused on quirky creations with local flavour like a Seddon Sling which is Vietnamese mint and ginger beer topped up with bourbon, which you can enjoy in the lounge, or on the upholstered bench seats lining the walls. 

With a more relaxed feel than other cocktail bars, sit back and admire the mural by local artist Hannah Simpkin in the back alleyway. 

The Everleigh

Level 1/150-156 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

The Everleigh has been something of an institution since it first opened in Fitzroy, going from strength to strength, and winning accolades including Australian Bartender Cocktail Bar of the Year in 2018, and Best Victorian Bar of the Year in 2019.

Sit at the long marble bar and have a chat to the bartenders, who can make you any number of fancy cocktails, such as an old fashioned or whisky sour, or you can leave it in their capable hands and be surprised by what they come up with.

It’s the attention to detail and the table service that make The Everleigh feel a class above other cocktail bars in Melbourne, while glass cabinets filled with old cocktail tools of bartenders' past, gives it a refined feel.

Byrdi

211 La Trobe Street, Tenancy GD075, Melbourne CBD

Ranking number 30 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list in 2019, Byrdi is something else entirely when it comes to the best cocktails in Melbourne – because it’s not often the ingredients for said cocktails are prepared months in advance.

You can expect your cocktails at Byrdi to come with ingredients that have been fermented, smoked, reconstituted, or sometimes all the above – you can even pick up some of Byrdi’s bottled cocktails to take home at Blackhearts & Sparrows wine store next door.

And if you fancy something to eat while you’re at Byrdi, there is a small but refined menu with items like tempura salt and vinegar green beans, or flatbread topped with seeds, chili oil and smoked yoghurt.

alcohol bottles lined up against a dimly lit bar

Spirits line the back wall in a dimly lit environment at The Everleigh cocktail bar in Melbourne. Visit Victoria.


 

Above Board

Level 1/306 Smith Street, Collingwood

What can only be described as ‘intimate’, Above Board is not your average cocktail bar in Melbourne, offering only 25 cocktails and a 12-seater island bench to sit down.

Owner Hayden Lambert has done this by design, wanting to offer 25 perfect cocktails, as opposed to 100 varieties that are less than average.

You’ll still find classic cocktails such as Negroni, Old Fashioned, Manhattan and a Martini, as well as some unexpected combinations that are subtle, but still pack a punch. Just don’t expect loads of fancy garnishes and theatrics, as Lambert wants his cocktails to speak for themselves, without the need to dress them up.

Eau de Vie

1 Malthouse Ln, Melbourne CBD

Another one of the city's great hidden bars is Eau de Vie, which feels more like 1920s America than a whisky bar in the heart of the Melbourne CBD.

Once you find the secret bookcase and enter the bar, there’s plenty of spaces to enjoy some of the world’s best whisky including intimate booths, communal tables, or even up the bar for a chat with the bartenders.

And if you truly want to experience the bold world of whisky, Eau de Vie offers a five-course degustation dinner that takes you on a journey where whisky and food collide.

Eau de Vie is the type of bar in Melbourne that focuses on the whole experience, as opposed to a single offering, so head into the city for a night where you’re looking to be wowed.

Nick & Nora’s

80 Collins Street via, 11 Benson Walk, Melbourne CBD

A cocktail and champagne bar in Melbourne that takes you back in time with the 1930’s style décor, Nick & Nora’s is by the same group who run Eau de Vie - so you know the cocktails will be good.

The champagne at Nick & Nora’s is broken down into categories using words like ‘crisp’, ‘dry’ and ‘sweet’, with glasses starting from around $17, and bottles worth more than $2,000.  

The cocktails are just as classy, with variations of classics like a Dirty Martini, and liquid nitrogen is used in many of the creations, adding a sense of theatrics to the evening.  

Settle in with a cheese and charcuterie board, as well as some very elegant cocktail options for a night of refined class.

Trouble in Dreams

297 Barkly St, Footscray 

A 25-seat cocktail bar in Melbourne’s inner west, the drinks list at Trouble in Dreams is inventive and thought out, with variations of cocktails such as a ‘slow gin fizz’ showing off the focus on adventurous ingredients you might not expect.

There are also several natural wines on offer for those not interested in cocktails, all available by the glass, which means the high-end pours are then vacuum sealed if not used to maintain freshness and integrity.

With light nibbles on offer like cheese boards and charcuterie, this intimate bar offers some of the best cocktails in Melbourne for you to start or end your night with.