Melbourne is sometimes known for its temperamental weather, but in general, the city experiences plenty of sunny days. Meanwhile, thanks to Melbourne’s best rooftop bars, each one of those sunny days can be that much more enjoyable. After all, a delicious drink or snack always goes down better when it’s coupled with a view of the city’s creative landscape. Thus, we present the best rooftop bars in Melbourne.
In Docklands at the end of the Central Pier sat an old warehouse, which has been given new life. Transformed into a luxurious penthouse-like bar with a waterfront, Alumbra is now a go-to destination on Saturday nights and all day Sunday. Inspired by New York City, the interior is reminiscent of the vivid neon lights that are quite prevalent in NYC clubs. The Sunday food menu gives off a NYC feel with many of its selections inspired from famous NYC Street eats. Follow this with a stroll along the pier with The Wall Street Bailout or a Central Park Walk cocktail and enjoy the sights of Docklands and the sounds from the DJ.
Shed 9, Central Pier, 161 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands
In the heart of the city is Heroes, a three-level funhouse of splendorous colours and tasty treats. Head up to the top level to enjoy one of Melbourne’s best rooftop bars, or stick to the lower floor for some quality karaoke. No matter what, you’re having a great time.
188 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Grab some friends and let’s rumba at Bomba! Enjoy some truly finger-licking flavours from the Spanish tapas. After satisfying your taste buds and cleaning those fingers, quench that thirst with a tremendous picking of drinks – ranging from beer, cider, gin, rum, whiskey and vermouth. If you and your friends would like to indulge a little further, a fancy cocktail may fulfill that indulgence. Everyone needs to enjoy this view with their friends, so why not pair up your drinks with some delicious bar snacks. The cheesy croquettes, chorizo sliders and eggplant chips are the picks from the bunch. A retractable roof is waiting in the wings if the spontaneous Melbournian weather decides to change its colours.
103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Campari House is perfect for those casual and spontaneous get-togethers, making it one of the best rooftop bars in the Melbourne CBD. Its easy-to-eat (and share) signature pizzas leave customers wanting more; in particular, the Italian sausage smoked mozzarella being a personal favourite. So grab a slice and a seat, and soak up the serene setting and a stunning sights.
23-25 Hardware Lane, Melbourne
Union Electric Bar
Another one of the Melbourne CBD’s best rooftop bars, Union Electric Bar is a haven of seemingly endless quality and creativity alike. Between the decor, the food, the drinks, and the crowd, you’ll enter its domain and never want to leave. Fair warning: you also might fall in love with your bartender, even after he or she ignores you. In other words: classic Melbourne.
13 Heffernan Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Aye Aye Captain Baxter! All aboard this delightful spot that is nestled next to the St Kilda sea baths. Baxter epitomises the phrase ‘the bigger, the better’ with its large setting and extensive menus. Drink a jug of the South Beach Cooler with your mates as you gaze into Port Phillip Bay. If you fancy yourself something special or maybe just want an additional contributor to tomorrow’s hangover headache, try the Mango Melba and Pornstar Martini. A different type of headache awaits as you open their comprehensive food menu. Indecisiveness is inevitable (even for the strong-minded). The crumbed pork tonkatsu, Japanese pancake and pork buns are must haves on your order list, leaving your stomach in a satisfying food coma.
St Kilda Sea Baths, 10-18 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda
Do you like the idea of sipping a cold beer while being surrounded by a 360-degree view of the local skyline? If so, then the rooftop beer garden at Imperial Hotel is calling your name. In addition to being one of Melbourne’s best rooftop bars, it’s also one of the city’s best sports bars, so pick a team and head on over.
2-8 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Jimmy Hurlston spent three years eating burgers daily, and 3000 burgers later, he has created a burger kingdom. There is no place hipper than this burger joint. Sitting five stories high, fixed to the roof, is a train carriage. However, this is not your regular carriage. This is where graffiti on a train, usually met with negativity, is thrown into the spotlight and is greatly received by the public. Think Hosier Lane in a train carriage. Foodwise, you’ll only find burgers here – so if you’re thinking about a cheat day, it’s easy with Easey’s. The one thing that isn’t easy is getting a seat in the Hitachi train carriage, so make sure you book your seat! The burger menu, created by the burger enthusiast himself, is simple, yet exceptionally scrumptious as the burger melts in your mouth. The Too Ease or Easey Cheesy burgers are my personal picks. Sometimes simple is best, but it ain’t easy being cheesy.
48 Easey Street, Collingwood
Whether it’s with your friends and having 99-pomegranate problems, or you’re having a romantic rendezvous on the rooftop, immerse yourself in the elegant ambiance of The Emerson with a grand view of the South Yarra. Don’t forget to snack on the four P’s – poached prawn roll, pork and cape sausage roll, prawns, avocado and fennel salsa and the pulled pork bao. Your belly will definitely be filled with pleasure.
143/145 Commercial Rd, South Yarra
Perched in the heart of Fitzroy is The Provincial Hotel, which flaunts one of Melbourne’s best rooftop bars. Here, you’ll find everything you could ask for, namely booze, views, crowds, ambiance, and food. It’s also a fantastic locale for larger events, should you be looking to host something of that nature.
299 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Cabinet Bar & Balcony
One of the Melbourne CBD’s best rooftop bars, Cabinet delivers top-shelf tapas in a cosy, elegant setting. Find it tucked away off Swanston Street, and leave the work world behind.
11 Rainbow Alley, Melbourne VIC 3000
Let’s be frank, it is hotdog heaven here at Ferdydurke. The Polish Royale is the personal preference. The comprehensive cocktail list will give you some complicated choices, but it is advised you come thirsty and have a cocktail tasting experiment. A hot dog and cocktail combo may seem a bit unconventional, but be open to it, because this place has a knack of pulling off the uncanny. Consequently, it’s one of Melbourne’s best rooftop bars.
31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne
Hiding upstairs from the Noodle Kingdom lays Goldilocks. But not in one of the bears’ beds. Goldilocks replaces her porridge with the best cheese platter Melbourne has on offer, accompanied by a stellar cocktail menu. Eat and drink the night away whilst enjoying the garden-esque ambience on the rooftop concealed away from the crowds. I’ve got a feeling that this place will be ‘just right’ for everyone.
Level 4, 264 Swanson Street, Melbourne
The Cornish Arms
Let’s be honest: it’s hard out there for a vegan. Or at least it used to be. Satiate your meat-free cravings at The Cornish Arms, which hosts one of Melbourne’s best rooftop bars. Here, you’ll find great views, friendly people, quality drinks, and delicious, guilt-free food.
163A Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC 3056
The Local Taphouse
If Sydney has a place for beer enthusiasts, Melbourne most definitely must have one. Similar to Sydney’s Local Taphouse, the brother in Melbourne city has the same ideals. Like Sydney, all the dishes are designed to match specific brews. They are clearly the beer belly brothers. Hands down the best beer in town.
184 Carlisle St, St Kilda East
First in, best dressed for Loop Roof. This bar is built like a bomb shelter, with a four-section awning retractable system in preparation for any of Melbourne’s four changing seasons in the one day. Gas heaters are ready for winter and a misting system for summer. Once you are able to hold down a spot, share a Sloe Lorris jug with your friends and be sure to stuff your stomachs with the pulled pork sliders and chili squid
The Roof at Waterside Hotel
Whether you want to catch a beautiful skyline view or the game on TV, you’ll find all that and more at the Waterside Hotel’s popular rooftop bar. Not only is it one of the best rooftop bars in the Melbourne CBD, but it’s also an ideal venue for private parties.
508 Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000
With the Australian Open tennis tournament just around the corner, a round of ‘doubles’ is the perfect pregame. ‘Doubles’ in Madame Brussels’ vocabulary means a large cocktail jug. So, are you game? If you are, serve yourself a jug of Love Juice and snack on their famous poached chook, chive and mayo toasted sandwiches. Now that’s an ace choice.
57-59 Bourke Street, Melbourne
The Red Hummingbird
In the heart of the Melbourne CBD you’ll find The Red Hummingbird, where the drinks flow liberally and taste delicious. Sip down a signature cocktail inside a dimly lit, appropriately red decor, or outside under the gorgeous sky. Our advice, of course, is that you do the latter.
1/246 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Naked in the Sky
Naked in the Sky is Fitzroy’s favourite bar, and thus one of the best rooftop bars in the city of Melbourne. Sit out in the open with a naked infused vodka in hand, whilst taking a picture of the perfect panorama. Resist the urge of using Mayfair or Valencia and post this ‘naked’ photo onto your Instagram. Let your audience appreciate the natural and #nofilter feeling.
285 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Feast of Merit
At the top of this acclaimed restaurant–which makes expert use of its heritage foundations–is one of Melbourne’s most intimate rooftop bars. In other words: the perfect place to bring a date.
117 Swan St, Richmond VIC 3121
The name pretty much sums up what you’ll be greeted with as you enter The Palmz deck. This secluded spot is surrounded by tropical flora with the bar positioned under a thatched roof. With its funky yet uber-relaxing atmosphere, it almost feels like you’re on a deserted island but with a beautiful sight of Melbourne. This fantasy ‘island’ also comes with its own retractable roof to combat the well-known temperamental Melbournian weather so rest assured, it will always be evergreen here.
193 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Hasti Bala Bar at The Carlton
As the name might suggest (if we knew what it meant), Hasti Bala Bar represents a downright exotic blend of various jungle themes. Naturally, it’s the perfect place to party, hence its status as one of Melbourne’s best rooftop bars. Find in at The Carlton (home to The Palmz), and prepare to imbibe.
193 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Rooftop Bar sits on top as Melbourne’s most popular rooftop bar, despite the seven sets of stairs that welcome you as you enter. As agreed by most Melbournians, the bounty for enduring this stair workout is endless. If you’re here for the Rooftop Cinema, don’t forget to book, or you’ll be left disappointed after conquering the stair challenge. Being the best means you’re going to be packed to the brim, so if you don’t mind the crowds, enjoy the sunset with a spectacular view of Melbourne CBD with a cold serving of beer and burger.
252 Swanston St, Melbourne
Marquis of Lorne
Don’t be intimidated by the lofty name, Fitzroy’s Marquis of Lorne has everything an Aussie might look for in a modern locale. That includes a heritage vibe, killer food, cold beer, and one of the best rooftop bars in Melbourne Vic. In summary: drink here.
411 George St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Situated on Spring Street, Siglo is the pinnacle of sophistication. The glorious nursery of greens surrounds the wooden booths and seating areas. The uninterrupted view of St Patrick’s Cathedral and Parliament House is serene and soothing and is accompanied by an invigorating atmosphere.
2/161 Spring St, Melbourne
Transit Rooftop Bar
Sitting on top of the Transport Hotel in Melbourne, Transit Rooftop Bar will accordingly transport you from reality to fantasy with its expansive, eye-catching views of the MCG, Southbank, Botanical Gardens, Yarra River and the Melbourne Art Centre Precinct. Relax above the crowds and under the stars overlooking Melbourne’s amazing landscape with a cocktail in hand.
Level 2, Transport Hotel Federation Square, Corner Flinders Street &, Swanston St, Melbourne
Spread across two stories beneath the open sky, Whitehart is the stuff that bar-going dreams are made of. It’s built of steel beams and shipping containers, and that’s just one among numerous things going for it. Come for the pizza, stay for the crowd.
22 Whitehart Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
When I’m away from home and my mum’s cooking, the Uncle steps in. The colourful Vietnamese conical hat-inspired lighting above the bar is a unique homage to my cultural roots and is the focal point in this already quirky interior. Growing up eating traditional Vietnamese cuisine has turned me into a tough critic and I’ve found Uncle to be the perfect super-sub to my mum’s cooking. Pho is a big deal when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine so it is an undisputed must-have. Add the chicken tenderloin steamed bao and condensed milk fried ice cream to the list too. After satisfying your stomach, sit back and unwind on the rooftop with a Ho Chi Mama cocktail.
188 Carlisle St, Melbourne
Upside Rooftop Bar
Upside Rooftop Bar is one for the Fitzroy locals, and its rooftop is always flooded with Fitzroyians. Of course, everyone, including visitors, is welcome. Even if you feel slightly overwhelmed by the considerable amount of people, look on the upside; the view of Fitzroy’s quirky surroundings is spectacular. The experimental and extensive cocktail list is a definite must try. There’s a variety of unique flavours, so it comes down to one’s own preference. I had a cheeky off the menu cocktail from here, so ask one of the highly-skilled bartenders to create one of their own bombshells.
127 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Huddled in behind Elgin and Lygon Streets is a hideaway. Bring a small group of tight-lipped friends to the top secret Wolf’s Lair. Concealed and cosy, this bar is where you and your close friends can enjoy each other’s company whilst sharing a Tiger or Watson pizza and a Blue Bison cocktail jug. The Wolf’s Lair thrives on confidentiality and intimacy so maybe a few secrets of your own can be let out here with confidence. Just remember, what happens in Wolf’s Lair, stays in Wolf’s Lair.
Wolf’s Lair & Drinking Haus & Treetops – Jimmy Watson Lane, Carlton
Richmond’s favourite live music venue comes joined by one of Melbourne’s best rooftop bars. Indeed, Corner Hotel has been a staple for Melburnians who love a gig (so, all Melburnians) for the last 20 years, and it now boasts a top-quality outdoor drinking and dining area up top, for after-work beers, pre-gig vino, sunset cocktails, and weekend BBQs. The food offering involves simple, on-point pub classics that don’t disappoint, and we reckon this new, refreshed rooftop is a grouse improvement on the area it used to be.
57 Swan St, Richmond
Named after a year when cinema was factually better (it just was), and coincidentally the year the Rivoli cinema its sits above was erected, Nineteenforty is the most picturesque place in Melbourne to enjoy pre-film drinks and super tasty popcorn (with some interesting flavours on offer). The house specialty is the GnT menu, making this rooftop one of the best views Hawthorn has to offer.
200 Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn East
Perched above Fancy Hank’s on Bourke St in the middle of the Melbourne CBD, Good Heavens is a melting pot of ideas that all amount to a good time. Hints of Miami waft through with floral-print-shirt clad staff shaking 80’s themed cocktails and pastel colours featuring heavily in the decor, while the happy denizens dive into Tex-Mex-esque (say that after a few daiquiris) fare. With all the charms of a chilled outdoor beach shack and all the class of a five star hotel lobby, Good Heavens is a must this summer (and each one coming).
79 Bourke St, Melbourne
Fonda – Windsor
Windsor’s favourite Mexican eatery, Windsor, recently opened up the doors to its kickass rooftop, so you and all your amigos can enjoy the best Kangaroo tacos this side of Cancun with some delicious cocktails (or a non-alcoholic agua fresca to stave off the sting of the hot sauce you’ll definitely hit too hard) in the sun. We think it’s muy bien.
144 Chapel St, Windsor
The words “French” and “Saloon” don’t necessarily go together in the mind of the average citizen, but this beautiful bistro definitely makes the concept work. Meanwhile, the rooftop comes straight out of Paris. Consider it the joy of Europe, minus the hassle of travel.
First Floor, 46 Hardware Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
Italian food doesn’t get much better than the dishes served up at Sagra, unless they’re enjoyed on their classy AF terrace, that is. Located in the suburb of Malvern, this favourite of savvy locals and well-informed travellers alike recently opened a top-quality cocktail bar upstairs, with a fully enclosed area catering to revellers all year round, and floor-to-ceiling glass panels which open up to a terrace for use when it’s sunny. That’s amoré.
256 Glenferrie Rd, Malvern
The Emerald Peacock
If delicious cocktails, quality food, and plush vibes are your things, then The Emerald Peacock is your new spot. That it’s also one of Melbourne’s best rooftop bars is mere icing on the cake. Come here to escape the world, and stay until they kick you out.
233 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
The Cellar Door
Situated at the gateway to the Yarra Valley in Ringwood, The Cellar Door is a large, multi-faceted venue from the same team who brought us Melbourne favourite The Public Brewery. This a seriously cool space, with a huge rooftop area that overlooks the neighbouring suburbs, featuring herb gardens and plenty of space to enjoy locally sourced wines, cheeses, and meats in the open air.
Townsquare, Eastlant, Ringwood
Rooftop at QT
The newly opened QT Melbourne on Russell St, smack bang in the middle of Melbourne, has followed the form of its namesake brethren. Fun and youthful, the spaces are vibrant and evoke the energy of the fast-paced, diverse city in which it inhabits. It’s then no surprise that the QT rooftop bar in Melbourne is the place to be seen, offering views right across the city. Late-90’s themed cocktails by Group Bars Manager Jared Thibault are reminiscent of a contentedly frivolous era of drinking, and the overall offering feels like a fully-immersive Melbourne experience.
133 Russell St, Melbourne
This article is part of our Brews & Bottles Series.