Melbourne started it all for small bars down under, so it’s no surprise that they have some of the best whisky bars in the country. Is life in a cold city getting you down? There’s an easy fix for that. While the rest of Australia sinks Milton Mangoes and Mojitos in the sun to while away their hot afternoons, our friends South have totally figured out how to beat the cold – with a big leather chair and a stiff glass of the finest.
Whether you’re in the mood for a sipper from Scotland or a tipple from Tassie, these Victorian venues have got their whisk(e)y game sorted, from Ireland to Islay (the long way ’round). Enjoy our list of the 15 best whisky bars in Melbourne.
1. Whisky and Alement
One of the world’s most comprehensively stocked whisky bars, Whisky & Alement is a shrine to the good stuff, specialising in some of Scotland’s rarest. The staff have an incommensurate knowledge of all things whisky and can guide you in the right direction, or for more learning, you can attend one of their monthly masterclasses. These guys also have an off-premise license, so for a nominal fee, you can nab one of the many rare and exciting bottles on display in their handsome gold cabinet on the way out.
Address: 270 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Hours: Wed-Thur 4pm-12am, Fri-Sat 4pm-1am, Sun 4-11pm
Phone: (03) 9654 1284
2. The Elysian Whisky Bar
Smack bang in the middle of hipster-centric Brunswick St is this elegant, simple bar offering some of the rarest unique expressions of whisky on the planet. Owners Kelvin Low and Yao Wong wanted to break the mould set by other whisky bars, and have won lotteries and purchased the last remaining bottles from certain casks to stock their bar with some 300 examples that can’t be replaced, from all around the world. This is the place to go if you’ve done your dash with back bar stalwarts and want to be guaranteed a new experience.
Address: 113 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Hours: Tues – Sat 4:30pm – 1am
Phone: (03) 9417 7441
3. Eau de Vie Melbourne
The place that kicked-off what’s now become a small empire of venues for the Speakeasy Group, EDV Melbourne is still a trend-setting, bar-raising example of what you can achieve if you inject a little ingenuity into your cocktail menu. While everything shaken and stirred takes centre-stage in the cocktail lounge upfront, the whisky room (hidden behind their bookcase) is where you’ll find a raft of weird and wonderful drops, all tucked inside little lockers behind glass. You can even buy a fresh bottle and keep it in a private locker here for your next visit.
Address: 1 Malthouse Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Hours: Tues – Sat 5pm – 1am
Phone: (03) 8393 9367
4. Bad Frankie
We’ll go out on a limb and say Bad Frankie is probably the most Melbourne whisky bar in Melbourne. The quintessentially cool cocktail lounge serves up an assortment of fine whiskies and local spirits, alongside a more than impressive list of jaffles. That’s right, get your late-night munchies-fix on while you sip the lord’s spirit. A match made in Melbourne whisky bar heaven.
Address: 141 Greeves St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Hours: Tues – Wed & Sun 5pm – 11pm, Thur – Sat 5pm – 1am
Phone: (03) 9078 3866
5. Carwyn Cellars
A Thornbury local for 11 years. Carwyn Cellars is proud to be a totally independent supporter of all things alcoholic. This cellar doubles as one of Melbournes best Whisky bars. On the wall, you’ll find small-batch producers of craft beer, wine, and spirits. Alongside the huge range of locally made beer, you’ll find hard to find and globally renowned spirits including gins, mezcals, and most importantly whiskies.
Address: 877 High St, Thornbury VIC 307
Hours: Mon & Sun 12-10pm, Tues-Sat 10am-11pm
Phone: (03) 9484 1820
6. Beneath Driver Lane
If you are a whisky fan, and a little partial to blues, good service and Reuben sandwiches, Beneath Driver Lane might be your dream whisky bar in Melbourne. Housed in an old bank vault in the CBD, Beneath Driver Lane is a bar packed full of old-world charm and more than a few colourful characters.
Located in: The Strand Melbourne
Address: Basement/3 Driver Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Hours: Tues-Thurs 5pm-1am, Fri-Sun 4pm-1am
7. Boilermaker House
With over 850 malts adorning their back bar, and a dozen craft beer offerings on tap, this bar does precisely what it says on the label, and is devoted to the art of the boilermaker. If you’ve not yet had the pleasure, a boilermaker is simply a shot of whisky followed by a beer. With this many options, it’s impossible to give all the different combinations a try in one sitting, but that’s all the more reason to return. If seats at the bar are scarce you can grab a hi-top table and stick around for the excellent menu offerings, which are all designed to match the stars of the show, malt whisky and whacky beers.
Address: 209-211 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Hours: Wed-Sat 5pm-1am, Sun 5pm-12am
Phone: (03) 8393 9367
8. Buck Mulligan’s
If there are but two things the Irish do well, it’s great literature and top-quality whiskey. Buck Mulligan’s is a bookstore-cum-bar that boasts Melbourne’s largest collection of Irish whiskey. Order a Jameson or, perhaps more appropriately, a Writers Tears, grab yourself a copy of Ulysses and settle in for a long night of James Joyce and solving the world’s problems in one of Melbourne’s best whiskey bars.
Address: 217 High St, Northcote VIC 3070
Hours: Tues-Thur 4pm-12am, Fri 4pm-1am, Sat 2pm-1am, 2pm-12am
Phone: (03) 9077 7915
9. Whisky Den
Established in 2016, this Melbourne Whisky Bar was modelled after a hybrid of the tiny ‘yokocho’ alley bars of Japan and the Hutong bars of Beijing. Except, they’ve scaled up their capacity, which is 40, rather than 3-5. The bar’s layout includes a large booth in the back and a couch-strewn mezzanine level, but the best seats in the house are at the bar. There you can chat with the staff about everything from the distillation process to the effects of climate on maturation. This is one of the best bars in Melbourne for a cozy dram with mates.
Address: 2B/27 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Hours: Mon-Thur & Sun 12pm-12am, Fri-Sat 12pm-1am
Phone: (03) 9650 1570
Named after the year the word ‘cocktail’ first appeared in print, 1806 is in no way restricted to just whisky, though they’ve done a damn good job of building one of the best collections around. Long known as one of Melbourne’s best whisky bars, their menu is well segmented into easy-to-read sections with descriptors for each product on offer, making choosing your dram for the evening an easy affair. They also offer a mean whisky and cheese pairing, which tastes a lot better than it sounds – trusts us.
Address: 169 Exhibition St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Hours: Wed – Thurs 5pm-12am, Fri – Sat 4pm-1am, Sun 5pm-12am
Phone: (03) 9663 7722
11. The Woods
One of iconic Chapel Street’s best-loved venues, The Woods as it’s come to be known is famed for its killer ambience, top-notch service and modern, interesting food offerings. While it sits somewhere between a bar and a restaurant, the whisky-heavy drinks menu doesn’t disappoint, with a huge number of bottles in stock to sate even the pickiest of drinkers. This is one of Melbourne’s best spots to score a seat at the bar, order a double of your favourite and sip long into the night.
Address: 108 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181
Hours: Mon-Wed 5pm-12am, Thur 5pm-1am, Fri-Sat 4pm-1am, Sun 4-11pm
Phone: (03) 9077 4407
12. The Noble Experiment Melbourne
Late-night prohibition-inspired whisky bar, The Noble Experiment is an exploration of the olden days. The 1920s-style bar features exposed brick walls and booth seats, for cocktails and meals from across the globe. Tickle the tastebuds with some fine whisky, or perhaps even a highball or two. This Smith Street venue is a sure-fire way to start, or finish a damn good night.
Address: 284 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Hours: Mon – Thurs & Sun 5pm – 1am, Fri-Sat 5pm – 3am
Phone: (03) 9416 0058
13. Lui Bar
One of our more up-market friends, Lui Bar is a posh cocktail lounge found on the 55th floor of the Rialto building. The sleek decor and jazzed up design should tell you everything you need to know about this Melbourne whisky bar; the price, much like the whisky is premium. But step up and peer out the glass wall and you’ll understand why Lui Bar is so popular. The view of Melbourne’s most iconic city structures is on full display every evening for your enjoyment. A real anniversary night showstopper.
Located in: Rialto
Address: 525 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Hours: Wed-Thur 5:30pm-12am, Fri 11:30am-12am, Sat 11:30am-12am, Sun 3pm-12am
Phone: (03) 9691 3888
Hihou is the Melbourne whisky bar renowned for its collection if Japanese Whisky. The bar has been collecting and storing some of the best whiskies in the world since it opened 8 years ago. The bar is located on the corner of Spring Street and Flinders Lane and the name Hihou means ‘secret treasure’ in Japanese. With a functional and minimalist layout, the bar is cozy yet dramatic with its concrete walls and seating arrangement.
Located in: Collins Place
Address: 1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Hours: Mon 12-1am, 5pm-12am, Tues-Sat 5pm-12am
Phone: (03) 9654 5465
15. The Kilburn
Housed in Hawthorn’s iconic Commercial Bank of Australia building, The Kilburn is home to over 600 whiskies, making it by far one of the best whisky bars in Melbourne. As a larger venue that caters to bigger groups, it’s your go-to spot for after-work drinks, big events and corporate functions, all with the angle of drinking your way through the back bar.
Address: 348 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122
Hours: Mon 4pm – 12am, Tues 4pm – 2am, Wed 4pm – 12am, Thurs 4pm – 2am, Fri – Sat 2pm – 2:30am, Sun 2pm – 11pm
Phone: (03) 9913 5831
Which Melbourne whiskey bar also offers tastings?
The Whisky Den is a whisky bar that offers flights and tastings for its patrons. You can schedule a tasting by contacting them directly.
Which is the best whiskey bar in Melbourne for Japanese whisky?
Hihou is a Japanese bar in Melbourne that offers a wide variety of Japanese whisky's and cocktails.
What whisky bar in Melbourne also serves food?
Many of the best whiskey bars in Melbourne also serve delicious food. One of the best options is The Woods where you'll find a selection of Charcuterie and Tapas.