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Nick & Nora’s bar interior

20 Best Melbourne Cocktail Bars

In Melbourne, the bar scene is as much about innovation as it is about tradition. Here, bars are more like creative labs, where the craft of cocktail-making is constantly refined. Seasonal ingredients and bold experimentation shape the menus, meaning even the classics are often given a fresh and bold twist.

For those who enjoy a well-made drink, Melbourne‘s range of cocktail bars—from the cosy to sophisticated to the downright quirky—offers a world-class experience. Below, we’ve put together some of the best cocktail bars in Melbourne. Whether you’re kicking off your night or wrapping it up, these bars promise to make your night one for the books.

Best Cocktail Bars in Melbourne at a Glance

The highlights of our list go like this:

Now we’ve had a look at our favourites, let’s check out the full list (that we just keep adding to!)

Classic Cocktail Bars Melbourne CBD and Surrounds

If you are looking for cocktail bars in Melbourne CBD, we’ve got you covered. The streets of Melbourne are littered with incredible spots to grab a nightcap, indulge in a tipple or test your tastebuds out with a selection of interesting flavour combinations. From award-winning venues like Caretakers Cottage to stalwarts such as The Everleigh, these are the best cocktail bars Melbourne city has to offer.

Caretaker’s Cottage bar interior
Caretaker’s Cottage | Image: Caretaker’s Cottage

1. Caretaker’s Cottage 

  • Address: 139-141 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne, Victoria 3000.
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 4:00 pm to 1:00 am

Caretaker’s Cottage, behind Wesley Church on Little Lonsdale Street, recently earned a spot among the world’s top bars (number 23 out of 50), making a significant impact on the global drink scene despite its relatively small size. Previously serving as the actual caretaker’s quarters of Wesley Church, the cottage has been transformed into Victoria’s smallest pub-cum-bar.

Caretaker’s Cottage effortlessly strips away the elaborate showiness often found in high-quality cocktail vars, infusing genuine charm and hospitality into the space. The drink list, as you’d expect, is exceptional. It rotates monthly but always includes a noteworthy Guinness and martini​​. Local punters also love it for its quality sound system, featuring a record player and a collection of vinyl. With queues often out the door, it’s best to get in early, if you can.

The Everleigh bar interior
The Everleigh | Image: The Everleigh

2. The Everleigh

  • Address: Upstairs, 150-156 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, from 5:00 pm to 1:00 am

The Everleigh on Gertrude St is the pinnacle of Melbourne’s cocktail culture, perfectly capturing the elegance and hedonism of the 1920s speakeasy. It’s an intimate spot where tradition is honoured through the execution of classic drinks and modern concoctions, all served in an atmosphere of understated luxury marked by marble, leather, and mahogany finishes​​​​.

At The Everleigh, every cocktail is a testament to the craft, whether it’s the Jitterbug (gin, elderflower, Aperol, lime) or the Shanghai (Jamaican rum, pomegranate, lemon, anise) or one of the several other inventive cocktails. Pair it with a plate of anchovies and charcuterie that’s you done for the night.

1806 bar interior
1806 | Image: 1806

3. 1806

  • Address: 169-171 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000.
  • Opening Hours: Friday to Saturday, from 4:00 pm to 1:00 am, Wednesday to Thursday 5:00pm – 12:00am,

1806 is a journey through the history of cocktails, starting from the year it’s named after — 1806, when the term “cocktail” was first defined in print. This cocktail bar blends old-world charm with lessons in history, with an ambience that reflects the theatricality of the 1920s prohibition era (including some dazzling burlesque entertainment).

The cocktail menu at 1806 is extensive and categorised by era, offering a mix of classics and contemporary creations. Alongside its cocktail offerings, 1806 has expanded its selection to include 110 whiskies, as well as cocktail-making masterclasses for beginners to advanced.

Lily Blacks bar interior
Lily Blacks | Image: Canberra Airport

4. Lily Blacks

  • Address: 12 Meyers Place, Melbourne, Victoria 3000.
  • Opening Hours: Monday – Tuesday 5 pm–2 am, Wednesday to Thursday 5 pm–2:30 am, Friday 4 pm–3 am, Saturday 6 pm–3 am

If you prefer your cocktails bursting with bitters, Lily Blacks is your go-to. It’s famed for its extensive selection of bitters, boasting around 160 different types. The cocktail list is a blend of classics and original creations, ranging from sweet, to dry, boozy, and bitter. Highlights include the Toulouse Goose (Grey Goose, apple and rhubarb shrub & prosecco), and J’Adore (Patron Silver, chartreuse yellow, raspberry and verjus).

What we love about Lily Blacks is the approach to cocktails is both sophisticated and accessible, welcoming everyone from the after-work crowd to the hospitality crew for a pre-or post-shift drink.

The Black Pearl bar interior
The Black Pearl | Image: The Black Pearl

5. The Black Pearl

  • Address: 304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065.
  • Opening Hours: Wednesday to Monday 5:00 pm to 3:00 am

The Black Pearl is a Melbourne institution and a beacon on Brunswick Street, known for its laid-back feel and range of creative cocktails. The venue includes both the main bar area and The Attic upstairs, each offering a unique drinking experience (the Attic offers a more reserved space with table service and a curated drink menu, perfect for a date night or if you’re after a more intimate setting).

No matter where you sit, the focus is firmly on cocktails, allowing the bartenders to showcase their considerable skills with both in-house creations and carefully selected spirits. The bar also features snacks available until 10 pm, including some drool-worthy sausage rolls​​​​.

Bad Frankie bar interior
Bad Frankie | Image: Bad Frankie

6. Bad Frankie

  • Address: 139-141 Greeves St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
  • Opening Hours: Sunday, Wednesday 5 pm – 11 pm, Thursday to Friday 5 pm – 1 am, Saturday 3 pm – 1 am

Bad Frankie in Fitzroy stands as a true-blue Aussie bar, making a strong case for the richness of Australian spirits. It’s an intimate spot that champions local produce and Australian-made spirits with a back bar boasting over 200 varieties, including gins with native pepper berry and lemon myrtle. The Thirsty L’il Piggy and Akubra in the Bush are standout drinks that showcase the unique flavours of Australiana.

Fancy some food to complement your cocktail? Bad Frankie serves up a range of simple yet delish jaffles, from classics (cheese and vegemite) to innovative flavours like a lasagne jaffle or a gooey caramel slice dessert jaffle.

One or Two bar interior
One or Two | Image: One or Two

7. One or Two 

  • Address: 18 Celestial Ave, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 4 pm – 1 am

One or Two is a snug bar in Melbourne’s Chinatown, the first solo project by Andy Chu, a veteran bartender. Inspired by the TV show “Midnight Diner,” the bar aims to offer a warm and welcoming vibe, focusing on premium, ice-cold and refreshing drinks. It’s all about Japanese hospitality here, making sure everyone feels right at home.

The bar’s design follows the wabi-sabi concept, finding beauty in imperfection and the fleeting moments of life. This means the place has a simple yet stylish look, with natural wood and neutral colours, and it’s always changing in small ways. Whether it’s the mood lighting, the background music, the snack options, or the cocktail menu that changes every month, you’re in for something new with each visit.

Boilermaker House bar interior
Boilermaker House | Image: Boilermaker House

8. Boilermaker House

  • Address: 209-211 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000.
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 5 pm – 12 am, Friday 5 pm – 1 am, Saturday 4 pm – 1 am

Boilermaker House in Melbourne is a standout venue brought to life by the Speakeasy Group, known for its successful ventures like Eau De Vie. The essence of Boilermaker House lies in its celebration of whiskey and craft beer. With an astonishing collection of over 700 whiskeys and a rotating selection of craft beers on tap, the staff’s knowledge of the drink menu is almost encyclopedic.

True to its name, Boilermaker House specialises in “Boilermakers” – a pairing of whiskey and beer that’s designed to enhance the unique characteristics of each. We recommend the Boilermaker Sour – basil Hayden Whiskey, coconut, caramelised pineapple, IPA, passionfruit, lemon, whites, and bitters.

Byrdi bar interior
Byrdi | Image: Byrdi

9. Byrdi

  • Address: 211 La Trobe Street, Tenancy Gd075, Melbourne, Victoria 3000.
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 12:00 pm to 12:00 am

Byrdi is a unique cocktail that stands out for its dedication to seasonality and locality, crafting a cocktail menu that’s forever fresh and evolving. With a focus on native botanicals and sustainable materials, Byrdi presents a space where every detail is carefully considered, from the bluestone and coconut husk flooring to the inventive drinks.

The drinks menu is a testament to their innovative approach, featuring ingredients you might not expect to find in a cocktail, like fermented honeycomb and mushrooms. With this adventurous spirit, Byrdi manages to serve up some of the city’s most delicious and original drinks, complemented by a seriously tasty food offering featuring dishes like chicken yakitori, prawn toast, peppers and more.

Hidden Cocktail Bars Melbourne

If there is one thing that Melbourne does well, it is a hidden cocktail bar. We’ve scoured the city to find the very best options for your next date night, peering behind every secret door and back alley. Here, you’ll find our list of the top hidden cocktail bars in Melbourne.

Eau de Vie bar interior
Eau de Vie | Image: Eau de Vie

10. Eau de Vie

  • Address: 1 Malthouse Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 5:00pm – 1:00am, Friday – Saturday 4:00pm – 1:00am 

Eau de Vie stands as a testament to the art of cocktail making. This speakeasy-style bar offers a cocktail menu that’s full of exotic, bold flavours, and presentation that turns each drink into a performance.

The ambience mirrors the drink selection; a 1920s-inspired hideaway where each corner, from the hidden whisky room to the softly lit main bar, is reminiscent of a bygone era. Here, the experience is not just about drinking but about being transported to a different time.

Bar Margaux bar interior
Bar Margaux | Image: Bar Margaux

11. Bar Margaux

  • Address: Basement/111 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday – Wednesday 5:00 pm – 12:00 am, Thursday – Friday 5:00 pm – 1:00 am, Saturday 5:00 pm – 3:00 am 

Bar Margaux is a vibrant, old-timey cocktail bar that combines the charm of Parisian brasseries with the laid-back atmosphere of Melbourne’s laneway culture. Known for its extensive wine list, classic cocktails, and French-inspired menu, Margaux offers a cosy yet sophisticated space for diners and drinkers alike.

Its ambience is marked by dim lighting, leather banquettes, and a bustling bar area, making it perfect for an intimate night out or a relaxed drink with friends. The menu features a mix of comfort food and French classics, ensuring that both your appetite and drinks are well catered to.

Beneath Driver Lane bar interior
Beneath Driver Lane | Image: Beneath Driver Lane

12. Beneath Driver Lane

  • Address: Basement, Shop 3, Driver Lane, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000
  • Opening Hours: Sunday to Wednesday 4:00 pm – 3:00 am, Thursday to Saturday 4:00 pm – 3:00 am, Friday 2:00 pm – 3:00 am

Hidden beneath the hustle of the city, Beneath Driver Lane is your go-to for post-work drinks. The cocktail list here leans heavily on whiskey, offering everything from smooth sippers to bold mixes. Set in the underground vault of the former GPO’s Money Order Office, the bar draws inspiration from the Deep South, particularly the blues bars of New Orleans​​.

Beneath Driver Lane is renowned for its extensive spirit list, boasting over 650 options and a cocktail menu that includes both classic and inventive options. Highlights include the Cuban Spider and Cereal Number (ft. cereal-infused bourbon & honey). But it’s not just about the cocktails, it’s also about the music. The bar aims to capture the energetic, foot-tapping essence of 12-bar blues, creating an atmosphere that’s both pulsing and immersive.

Above Board bar interior
Above Board | Image: Above Board

13. Above Board

  • Address: Level 1, 306 Smith Street, Collingwood, VIC 3066
  • Opening Hours: Sunday to Saturday, 6:00 pm – 1:00 am

Above Board in Collingwood is a standout cocktail bar that delivers a distinctly intimate cocktail experience. With just 16 seats available, it’s a place where the focus is squarely on the quality of the cocktails and the interaction between guests and the bartender, Hayden Scott Lambert, an industry veteran.

This minimalist haunt is known for its carefully crafted cocktails, created by Lambert, who is often behind the bar himself. The drinks menu changes regularly but is always concise and well-curated, featuring features a mix of beautifully executed classics alongside innovative signature sips.

Gin Palace bar interior
Gin Palace | Image: Gin Palace

14. Gin Palace

  • Address: 10 Russell Place, Melbourne, VIC 3000
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 4:00 pm to 3:00 am

Wondering where the city’s hospo workers go post-shift? You’ll find them at Gin Palace – an institution in Melbourne’s bar scene, celebrated for its dedication to all things gin. With a history spanning over two decades, this bar offers a cosy, somewhat decadent, Victorian-era lounge atmosphere, inviting drinkers to explore its extensive gin selection.

From classic G&Ts to more elaborate gin-based cocktails, every gin lover is well-catered to. Not a gin fan? You’ll still find a range of other spirits, wines, and snacks (the toasted chicken sandwich is a must-try).

Union Electric Bar bar interior
Union Electric Bar | Image: Union Electric Bar

15. Union Electric Bar

  • Address: 13 Heffernan Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000
  • Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday from 5:00 pm – 1:00 am, Friday – Sunday 12:00 pm – 1:00 am

Union Electric Bar & Rooftop is a vibrant fixture in Melbourne’s Chinatown, offering an eclectic mix of old-school hip-hop vibes, a dedication to craft cocktails, and a laid-back that’ll have you feeling like you’re at a local laneway party. This bar prides itself on its creative drink menu, which is constantly evolving to feature new and unique flavours, particularly showcasing a love for Australian producers.

The rooftop gin garden complements the main bar’s focus, shifting from rum to gin. The bar’s interior, with its exposed brick facade and heritage-listed charm, provides a cosy backdrop for enjoying drinks like the Lola, Stiggin’s Fancy Cocktail, Hungry Ghost or classic tiki drinks, with a side of BYO food from local favourites​​​​.

State of Grace bar interior
State of Grace | Image: State of Grace

16. State of Grace

  • Address: 27 King St, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday 12:00pm – 11:00pm, Fri-Sat 12pm – 12:00am 

State of Grace made a notable comeback in 2018 with its move to King Street in the old Melbourne Steamship Co. building, and has remained a firm fave amongst locals and tourists alike. Spanning three levels, you can pick your poison: a European-inspired restaurant on the ground floor, a hidden cellar bar known as Fall From Grace, and a rooftop bar that adds a casual yet stylish New York lounge vibe to Melbourne’s bar scene.

The rooftop offers a more relaxed atmosphere compared to its lower levels, with stunning city skyline views, a selection of refreshing cocktails (try the Nurse White – Tanqueray gin, Lillet Blanc, Cocchi Americano, orange bitters), casual dining options, and a space perfect for after-work drinks or a date night​​​​.

Themed Cocktail Bars Melbourne

Love a good theme? Melbourne has you covered. The city is home to a number of fantastic cocktail bars that house a unique twist. From the historical journey that is Berlin Bar to the 1920s Parisian delight that is Polly Bar, these are the themed Melbourne bars you need to check out.

Berlin Bar bar interior
Berlin Bar | Image: Berlin Bar

17. Berlin Bar

  • Address: 16 Corrs Lane, Melbourne, Victoria 3000.
  • Opening Hours: Sunday-Thursday 5:00 pm to 12:00 am, Friday to Saturday 5:00 pm to 1:00 am

Berlin Bar takes you on a historical journey, splitting its venue into two distinct eras of Berlin: the opulent West and the austere East, complete with a “bunker” on the Soviet side and plush leather booths on the capitalist side.

Decor aside, the bar prides itself on its creative cocktail menu that ranges from classic to more adventurous sips, all crafted by a team dedicated to their art. It’s an ideal spot for memorable first dates, or a quirky show-and-tell spot for visitors looking for something out of the ordinary.

Nick & Nora’s bar interior
Nick & Nora’s | Image: Nick & Nora’s

18. Nick & Nora’s

  • Address: 80 Collins Street via, 11 Benson Walk, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Opening Hours: Friday to Sunday 3:00pm – 1:00am, Tuesday to Thursday 5:00pm – 1:00am

Nick & Nora’s strikes the perfect balance between glamour and innovation (and is another triumph from Speakeasy Group (Eau de Vie, Boilermaker House). It’s a nod to the 1930s’ lavish lifestyle and is part cocktail bar, part champagne bar.

This venue isn’t just about drinks, however. It’s an entire experience in and of itself, rocking an art deco vibe, decking out its space with geometric patterns on carpets, wallpapers, and light fixtures. Plus, the space is massive, serving up to 240 guests with table service spread across five rooms and three balconies

Polly Bar bar interior
Polly Bar | Image: Polly Bar

19. Polly Bar

  • Address: 401 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065
  • Opening Hours: Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday 5:00pm – 12:00am, Friday 5:00pm – 3:00am, Saturday 2:00pm – 3:00am

Since opening over 25 years ago, Polly has maintained its reputation for crafting exceptional cocktails. The bar encourages guests to get creative with their orders, whether they’re trying something new or putting a twist on a classic.

With a distinctly lavish 1920s Parisian setting, complete with rich red velvet decor—it’s truly the perfect spot for enjoying in-house and exclusive cocktails. Alongside seasonal creations, it keeps beloved classics on the menu by popular demand.

Not to mention, it boasts one of Melbourne’s largest selections of absinthe, served in the traditional style, and offers an expanding range of cigars for enjoyment in the semi-open atrium, making Polly the go-to spot for a truly bougie night out.

Double Happiness bar interior
Double Happiness | Image: Double Happiness

20. Double Happiness

  • Address: 21 Liverpool St, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Tuesday 5:00pm – 12:00am, Wednesday to Thursday 5:00pm – 1:00am, Friday to Saturday 5:00pm – 3:00am

If communist-era memorabilia and Chinese decor is your thing, get yourself down to Double Happiness in Melbourne’s CBD. This intimate spot serves up a range of inventive drinks with an Asian twist, including their famous bubble tea cocktails and a selection of Asian beers.

Signature drinks include the Great Leap Forward, with house-made lychee vodka, and the Vietnamese Coffee Martini. For a quintessential laneway bar experience with bangin’ drinks and great hospitality, Double Happiness is the place to go.

Alternatives to the Best Cocktail Bars in Melbourne

Interested in more things to do in Melbourne? Here are our faves! 

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Why Trust Our List 

From the author, Ally Burnie: I’ve been writing about Australia’s food and drinks scene for over a decade. And, since moving to Melbourne in mid-2023, most weekends you’ll find me out and about exploring all the incredible cocktail bars this city has to offer (I know, it’s a hard life). I’ve been to many of the spots on this list, and the ones I haven’t managed to get to (yet), I’ve included based on recommendations from Melbourne’s industry experts, as well as Google reviews from tipple-happy customers.

Cocktail Bars in Melbourne FAQs

What is the most popular cocktail bar in Melbourne

Caretaker’s Cottage currently tops the list as Melbourne’s favourite cocktail haunt. Nestled in the heart of the city, this spot is famous for its ambience, innovative drinks, and the magic touch of its bartenders. It’s the go-to place for those in the know and anyone else, too. Just be prepared to queue!

What’s the classiest cocktail

When it comes to classy and/or classic cocktails, you can’t go past the trio of the Old Fashioned, Negroni, and Martini. These timeless classics are the epitome of cocktail elegance. Whether you prefer the sweet, bitter, or crisp, these drinks are sure to add a touch of class to your evening (or at least make you look like you know your drink).

What is the number one ordered cocktail

Take a wild guess…

Okay, we’ll tell you. The Espresso Martini has seen a meteoric rise in popularity, with a whopping 300 per cent increase in Australia since early 2021, leaving cocktail favourites like mojitos and piña coladas in its wake. It’s the perfect pick-me-up cocktail, combining the rich flavours of coffee with the smoothness of vodka. Yum, yum, yum.