Ben McKimm

15 Best Whisky Bars in Melbourne | Man of Many

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.

1. Whisky and Alement

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.

2. The Elysian Whisky Bar

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.

3. Eau de Vie Melbourne

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.

4. Bad Frankie

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.

5. Carwyn Cellars

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.

6. Beneath Driver Lane

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.

7. Boilermaker House

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.

8. Buck Mulligan’s

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.

9. Whisky Den

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.

10. 1806

This might be one of Melbourne’s best-kept secrets. Serving an array of whisky blends set in a cozy European shopfront, the Arcadia Whisky Lounge delivers an intimate atmosphere placing a focus on local ingredients, renowned cocktails and marvellous whisky. You’ll find high-end spirits creating whisky-based cocktails like the Vieux Carre, a New Orleans whisky cocktail born from a combination of rye whisky and cognac, sweet vermouth and Dom Benedictine for a fruity sweetness, topped off by bitters and garnished with orange peel served on a large rock of ice transport. For those who are searching for an authentic whiskey sipping experience, whisky flights served with still water await, and if you’re looking for a crash course on all things whisky, there’s an introduction to whisky option, providing a selection of whisky blends from all parts of the world.

11. Arcadia Whisky Lounge

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.

12. The Noble Experiment Melbourne

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.

13. Lui Bar

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.

14. Hihou

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.

15. The Kilburn

Choosing our list of the best bars in Melbourne meant checking out some of the coolest, fanciest, and downright hard-to-find joints in the city. It helps that Man of Many’s team of experts venture to Melbourne on the regular, with plenty of knowledge about all things whisky, beer, and cocktails. Of course, having a few friends in the industry means we’ve been able to explore most of these bars at our own pace, basking in the atmosphere, trying the food on offer, and most importantly, the high level of mixology shown at every bar listed on this page.

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