Whether you’re a hipster, rock star, dancing queen, live music or sports fan, or something in between, it’s not hard to find a bar or club in Melbourne that you’ll feel comfortable in.
Melbourne pub, bar and brewery tours are a great way to get you started. Alternatively, just step out with the following recommendations and join the party!
1. Live music
When it comes to live music, Melbourne has something happening every night of the week. The variety of venues is incredible, with dedicated grunge bars, jazz clubs and pub rock hot spots to be found in every corner of the city.
The Corner Hotel (Richmond): Speaking of corners, The Corner is one of Melbourne’s top live music venues. Located on busy Swan Street in Richmond, there are plenty of great places to eat before you head to your show.
Forum Melbourne (City): There aren’t many venues that can compete with the Forum on architectural grandness. The main hall has recently been refurbished to allow for more standing room. Take the time to look up and appreciate the roof line — there’s nothing quite like it!
The Croxton (Thornbury): Set in the cool heartland of Melbourne’s north, The Croxton recently received a huge facelift and now hosts some of the biggest up-and-coming international bands. There are a plethora of hipster bars nearby to start the night in, and end it as well.
Bird’s Basement (City): For great jazz, Bird’s Basement is the bee’s knees. Best of all, they run two dinner shows a night. You can enjoy a quality Italian meal as you tap along with the tunes.
Cherry Bar (City) and The Tote (Collingwood): If you’re after something a bit heavier, try either of these Melbourne institutions. Cherry Bar has played host to some of the biggest rock acts in the world, while The Tote showcases Australia’s best punk and metal bands.
2. Rooftop bars
With daylight saving in Melbourne from October through to the end of March, it’s the perfect time to grab an after-work drink and watch the sun go down from one of the city’s many rooftop bars. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out our Melbourne pub, bar and brewery tours that take in some of the city’s best rooftop venues. Here are some of the options.
Naked in the Sky (Fitzroy): Offering 360-degree views, there’s rarely a summer day when Naked In The Sky isn’t packed. When you see it, you’ll understand why.
Rooftop Bar (City): Whether you’re grabbing a meal at cool Cookie or catching a gig at The Toff in Town, it’s worth the climb to the top of the Curtin Building for a pre or post drink at Rooftop Bar. In summer they host a program of film screenings. Rooftop Bar is currently closed for renovation.
The Corner Hotel (Richmond): Even if you’re not there to see a band, the rooftop beer garden at The Corner has recently been renovated and provides the perfect setting for Friday night drinks or a full Sunday session.
Marquis of Lorne (Fitzroy): Located in the city’s inner north, Marquis of Lorne offers a great menu (with nights dedicated to cheap curries or burgers) and $5 tinnies. Need I say more?
3. Beer gardens
It wouldn’t be a Sunday session without a lush, green beer garden to kick back in. Here are a few awesome options.
The Standard Hotel (Fitzroy): The Standard is an old-school pub with a huge outdoor area. There’s plenty of private space, so gather a group and settle in.
Wesley Anne (Northcote): Featuring fire pits for those cooler Melbourne evenings, Wesley Anne feels a bit like being in the country without having to leave town.
Stomping Ground Brewing Company (Collingwood): This is one of the newer venues that have popped up in recent times. You may struggle to get a table at the Stomping Ground, but once you do you can just sit and enjoy the constant flow of beer, music and good times.
Retreat Hotel (Brunswick): Known for quality live music (mostly blues, country and rock), you can easily lose an entire day sitting out the back of the Retreat with a beer or two.
Ponyfish Island (City): Located smack bang in the middle of the Yarra River in the heart of the CBD, Ponyfish Island offers fun times and some of the best views of Melbourne by night.
4. Boutique breweries
Melbourne is home to several amazing boutique breweries. Some of our Melbourne pub, bar and brewery tours will take you on a guided visit to a number of brewhouses. However, if you are heading out on your own, these venues are worth checking out.
Two Birds Brewing (Spotswood): Over in the inner west, award-winning Two Birds Brewing offers a range of beers to suit all tastes and a full dining menu.
Tallboy & Moose (Preston): This is one of the newer additions to the city’s craft brewing scene. At Tallboy & Moose guests can play table tennis and grab a bite from the unique menu — which includes haggis pakora, chili beef cheesy chips and a Mel Gibson burger.
Temple Brewing Company (Brunswick East): If you want to hone your beer taste buds, the tasting paddle at Temple Brewing is the place to start. Work your way from pale to dark ale, and finish with a hearty meal from their awesome menu.
Moon Dog Craft Brewery (Abbotsford): Grungy Moon Dog offers experimental, small-batch beers, infused with watermelon, pumpkin, champagne and chilli. The trusty food truck parked out front serves up sensational wood-fired pizzas.
Additional images: Bigstock
About the writer
Chris Bright is a freelance writer based in Melbourne with a passion for travel, food, music and film. He’s travelled to South-East Asia, India, Japan, parts of Europe and most of North America — the most memorable of which was hiring a 7-foot RV and driving from Miami to LA with a bunch of close mates. Chris is willing to try anything once, whether it’s leaping from great heights or eating things that don’t look the least bit appetising. When it comes to travel, he loves nothing more than meeting new people and sharing a laugh over their local drink of choice.
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