10 of the best bars; Melbourne’s finest watering holes

Couple having a glass of wine

Breaking the ice over a lip-smacking libation is a great way to get to know someone. Fortunately, for those partial to the odd tipple, Melbourne is packed to the rafters with top-notch watering holes. Because of their sheer abundance, we’ve put together a list of the best bars Melbourne has to offer to help whittle the choice down for you. Chin-chin!

Best Bars Melbourne; EliteSingles’ favourite 10

Dating in Melbourne is an absolute dream given the amount of things goings on. Having already singled out our favourite eateries, we thought it’d be wise to handpick the most romantic bars Melbourne lays claim to. Whether you’re a budding oenologist or just enjoy a damn good cocktail, we’re confident there’s something for every taste. To save you the aimless wandering we’ve made a handy map to help you navigate the city – see below!

  • Whisky & Alement

    Best Bars Melbourne #1: Whisky and Alement

    It’s no secret that Melbourne is well stocked with whisky bars of stellar repute. However, this Russell Street drinking den has to take top spot for us. Not only are its shelves festooned with over 500 bottles of whiskey from across the globe (some of which are incredibly rare), it’s also affiliated to The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. It follows that the bar staff’s knowledge of the good stuff is basically at savant standard. Take your taste buds on an educational tour of Alba’s bonnie highlands and pay this place a visit.


    Photo Credit: Whisky & Alement

  • Misery Guts

    Best Bars Melbourne #2: Misery Guts

    Don’t be fooled by the grouchy name of this establishment. Nestled on a corner off St. Kilda’s Grey Street, Misery Guts high ceilings and quirky decoration give off vibe that’s more light-hearted than gloomy. Yes, the off-white cotton police banner pinned above the bar that reads “disperse or we use tear smoke” could be mistaken for hostility. But it’s all in jest. What’s not tongue in cheek is the drinks selection; locally sourced beers, carefully selected wines and bonzer cocktails abound. Plot down and watch those troubles fade away. 


    Photo Credit: Simon Schluter

  • Upside Rooftop Bar

    Best Bars Melbourne #3: Upside Rooftop Bar

    It would be criminal not to include a rooftop bar in our list of Melbourne’s best bars. Again, there are plenty to choose from, each offering their own panoramic snapshot of the city’s skyline. We like Upside for a number of reasons. Let’s start with the eye-catching interior. Reclaimed wood rearranged in a captivating parquet pattern adorns the bar, whilst sleek lines carve out the minimalistic patio. Then there’s the booze. Whether it’s the barrel-aged whisky, crisp lager or clever cocktails, the sky really is the limit.


    Photo Credit: Upside Rooftop Bar

  • Holey Moley Melbourne

    Best Bars Melbourne #4: Holey Moley

    This CBD gem is a real driver for success when it comes to the quirkiness factor.  If you feel for “putting” your best foot forward and going full swing, this mini-golf-cum-cocktail-bar is an ace date destination. Having sunk all the golfing puns, this place is great if you’re after something slightly unusual. Work your way around a trio of 9-hole courses that include a giant turntable and a Pac-Man themed challenge. The bar, aptly named The Caddyshack, serves up grade-A cocktails too, ‘Fresh as a Birdie’ and ‘Teeyonce Holes’ being our faves. It gets busy, so booking in advance is par for the course.


    Photo Credit: Lucas Dawson/Concrete Playground

  • Underwood Wine Bar

    Best Bars Melbourne #5: Underwood Wine Bar

    This North Fitzroy boutique bar is a must for anyone with a penchant for carefully curated, local wines and artisanal produce. Exposed brickwork and a heavy wooden bar frame what is an intimate room, and allow space for owner Michael Underwood’s cutely-crafted drinks list to do the talking. Regionally sourced wines and beers betray a searing attention to detail, as well as a passion for the finer things in life. If you’re feeling peckish, order a couple of signature gruyere toasties or share some charcuterie courtesy of nearby Obelix & Co.


    Photo Credit: Concrete Playground

  • Leonard's House of Love

    Best Bars Melbourne #6: Leonard’s House of Love

    Though this is another slightly left-field inclusion, it’d be a travesty not to mention Leonard’s on any serious ‘Best Bars Melbourne’ list. And this South Yarra staple will have you saying Happy Days in next to no time. All-Americana has been given a uniquely Aussie makeover at this unpretentious dive bar, which happens to be housed inside a 70s-style log cabin. House beers and cocktails that hark back to a time when Countdown graced the telly take centre stage, whilst tantalising no-frills grub (think fried chicken and burgers) back up the booze. A must if you prefer laidback date spots.


    Photo Credit: Kevin Li/Smudge Eats

  • The Everleigh

    Best Bars Melbourne #7: The Everleigh

    When you’re after a touch of class, nothing trumps The Everleigh. Hidden behind an unassuming Gertrude Street doorway, everything about this Fitzroy staple seems refined. A long marble bar, inviting chesterfields and oak panelling capture your eyes, whilst top-notch bartending mesmerises your palette. With a strong focus on the classics, done to an absolute tee, this is the place to head if you want to savour a proper cocktail. Striking a balance between 1920s élan and modern hospitality is no mean feat, but it’s something this world class watering hole has executed to perfection.


    Photo Credit: The Everleigh

  • Smalls Bar

    Best Bars Melbourne #8: Smalls Bar

    Given that it only has 24 seats, the name of this South Melbourne wine bar is pretty much spot on. This diminutive establishment proves that size doesn’t matter. In fact, by keeping things concise, owner Jess Hoi is able to showcase a dazzling selection of wines from small-scale producers, both domestic and international. They follow the same line when it comes to the food. Andy Hearnden presides over the kitchen, turning out divine snack-size dishes a la homemade Scotch eggs and charcuterie to order. With a walk-in only policy it’s wise to be prompt!


    Photo Credit: Sarah Willcocks/The Urban List

  • Stomping Ground Brewing Co.

    Best Bars Melbourne #9: Stomping Ground Brewing Co.

    Here’s one for the craft beer aficionados. If you happen to be strolling round Collingwood of an afternoon, make sure you pop in here for a few jars. Set in a converted warehouse, Stomping Ground is the year-old brainchild of Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone, the duo behind The Local Taphouse in St. Kilda. Everything poured from the 30-tap bar is brewed in-house and is as fresh as it gets. Although it’s a spacious building, two enormous braziers warm the space and give it a certain cosiness you’d associate with a German beer hall… minus the lederhosen! 


    Photo Credit: Stomping Ground Brewing Co.

  • Embla

    Best Bars Melbourne #10: Embla

    Of all the wine bars on our ‘Best Bars Melbourne’ roster, this one is the most rustic (which is ironic given its central location). A long saloon-style bar runs the length underneath an almost skeletal beamed ceiling.  Sandy brickwork and hints of copper only add to this bucolic vibe. You get the idea. And this uncomplicated ethos isn’t limited to the decor either. With an ample selection of both Aussie and international wines, there’s plenty of premium plonk to enjoy. If you’re hungry, try the food; chunky tartares, rich terrines and amazing roast chicken make for a gourmands’ paradise. 


    Photo Credit: Kevin Li/Smudge Eats


About the author: Alex Rennie

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