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.