You have just got to love the way Melbourne keeps coming up trumps with food and beverage festivals and events. We keep trying to get there to experience these great events, such as Good Beer Week, starting on the 18th May. Now in its second years, this event is going from strength to strength. Showcasing great craft beers from around the country and overseas, this surely has to be one of those “must do” events.

Beer Week in Melbourne 18 – 26 May 2013

As we have previously blogged, the event is centred in Fitzroy, with several pubs in the suburbs of Melbourne taking part. To celebrate this great event we are offering our Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app for just 99c. This is a significant cost saving over the normal non – Good Beer Week price. So if you are in Melbourne, download and be guided to the best bars and pubs in Melbourne’s CBD. Sorry, but our app does not cover all the pubs holding Good Beer Week as we only cover Melbourne CBD. Although this maybe something we do next year, organisers permitting.

Bars in theCBD that are included as venues for Good Beer Week include:

  • Beer Deluxe
  • James Squire Brewhouse (CBD)
  • Young and Jacksons
  • 1806
  • Section 8
  • Penny Blue
  • Trunk
  • Dejavu

and you will find these in Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars.

But while you are passing the time waiting for the pubs to open, what can you do? Well, why not head out and sample some of Melbourne’s fantastic cafes?

 

Melbourne has some of Australia’s best cafes too!

Melbourne is one of Australia’s top cities when it comes to coffee with some of the best baristas in the world creating coffees with such passion, you’ll keep wanting another. But it can be hard as a tourist to track down those coffee shop that you want to try. The are so many cafes and coffee shops that you can easily walk into one thinking this will do, only to find that it looks good but the coffee is rubbish. If you want to find the best coffee shops in Melbourne’s CBD, then grab Best Cafes in Melbourne.

 

 

As summer is now becoming a memory we need something to keep us entertained and what can be better than a nice pint of beer. Between May 16 and 26, Melbourne is hosting Good Beer Week and that is exactly what it will be!

This year the HQ of Good Beer Week is located at the Terminus Hotel in North Fitzroy, so this is perhaps not an ideal location for out of towners, but for the locals, it’s a pretty good spot. There are trams, trains and buses to get you there and during Good Beer Week, a local luxury car company Uber are offering 50% off their fare to and from the Terminus Hotel (head to Uber.com to sign up for this deal). Although I am sure they will not take kindly to the “have you got room for a slab and pizza” gag.

 

Good Beer Week will showcase some of Australia finest beers and more importantly, the best craft beers from around the country. the Pint of Origin showcase will be at different pubs for each state, except for NT (but Tassie is included). you can sample the following State beers here:

  • Victoria –  Great Britain Hotel – 447 Church St, Richmond.
  • Western Australia – The Royston Hotel – 12 River St, Richmond.
  • Queensland – Dejavu – 525 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne (find it in Best Melbourne pubs and bars app)
  • South Australia – The Tramway Hotel – 165 Rae St, North Fitzroy.
  • New South Wales – Rainbow Hotel – 27 St David St, Fitzroy.
  • Tasmania – The Gertrude Hotel – 148 Gertrude St, Fitzroy.
  • ACT – The Courthouse Hotel – 86-90 Errol St, North Melbourne.

Good Beer Week is also hosting other events throughout the week to inform and enhance on the beer experience. Beer Novice is being held at the Terminus Hotel on Sunday 19 May to educate those wanting appreciate more about beer. The event costs $45 and features 10 enlightening beers and three food pairings as well as 3 informative talks.

And once you have finished at Good Beer Week, where to? Well, our Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app will guide you over 200 venues in the CBD where you can enjoy another beer, cocktail or just the ambience of a rooftop bar.

Exciting new bars in Melbourne

On February 15, 2013, in CBD, by Jonno

During our recent research trip through the streets of Melbourne we have noticed a few changes in the bar scene.

Softbelly is now Du Nord

Du Nord

Du Nord – Better than a trip to Ikea

The great bar Softbelly has sadly closed its doors to be refurbished as Du Nord. Inspiring a French character, Du Nord is actually a Swedish bar run by a very friendly Swedish couple ( as you may have guessed). The interior is stripped wood hinting at a Swedish sauna styling with just that hint of Ikea. It’s minimalist appearance is a refreshing change in these days of faux leather and crushed velvet. It’s got a nice atmosphere and is so close to the CBD offices, it will make a pleasant stop on cooler evenings (on warm nights Campari around the corner will lure you).

 

 

 

LaLaLand has reopened

La La Land

The reopened cool bar

La La Land has also reopened its doors after the fire a while ago. Sporting a new interior with large comfy sofas in white and a plush red interior. it almost feels like walking into a dream! It’s has a nice chic attitude and this will appeal to ladies and girls with a bit of flair. This is a far cry from Pug Mahones over the alleyway!

 

 

 

 

Match is now Fathers Office

Fatjers Office

An excuse for the missus!

Also, a new addition is the refurbishment of the Match bar and grill that closer rather quickly a while ago. Overlooking Swanston street is Melbourne’s latest edition, Fathers Office. Many wives will be somewhat annoyed at this, as now there will be too many Melbournites staying late “at the office”. It’s a large venue ideal for corporate events and large gatherings. The deck over the street is a great alfresco area and great on a warm sunny evening.

 

 

 

Miss Libertine is now the Captain Melville

Sadly Miss Libertine closed its doors and has now emerged as the Captain Melville.  We have only looked at their web site and the uber trendy atmosphere of Miss Libertine is nowhere to be seen. The website bleats on about the food, so this is probably a restaurant now and we will drop it from Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app.  Maybe they will answer our emails and tell us they are a bar?

 

Oddfellows Hotel is now The Fringe

FingeOddfellows hotel has changed to The Fringe.  It still looks similar, but there have been a few changes here and there. They still do pizza’s so a good feed will still await! It’s a bit out of the way for many, but this is not a bad place if you are this end of town. The website shows some funky deckchairs on the roof, so could be an interesting place for a beer after work.

 

 

Blac, Pony and Bridie O’Reillys have closed

Blac, which was located up on La Trobe Street was closed when we last passed by. Sadly this bar was located off the main strip and is in one of those “odd” areas. The bar was more of a corporate attractor in our view, so probably didn’t become the iconic venue its locations demands for it to survive.

Pony – they have now closed too. Not sure if they will re-open under a new name. We heard that this has been on the cards for a while.

Bridie O’Reilly’s has also closed its doors, which is surprising as it has always been quite busy during our visits.

 

This means we will be updating our app next month to include these bars. But if we have missed one, let us know.

 You don’t have to wait for a new version of Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars. All changes automatically load once you have purchased the app.

 

Melbourne bars at Perth prices

On January 11, 2013, in CBD, by Jonno

$10 for a pint of beer!

Mountain Goat

Not much change from $10

Well it had to happen, after the news last year of the high cost of beer in Western Australia, beer prices in Melbourne have risen to meet the challenge. The shock of the press when a pint in Perth was $10 was ” there is no way we can charge that here”. Well, now their moral indignation has been silenced with bottles of beer in most Melbourne CBD pubs selling for $9:50.  OK these are boutique beers such as Mountain Goat and White Rabbit, suggesting that a beer with an animal name commands a higher price.

 

Strangely its all gone quiet on the price front with no outrage of $10 for a pint. Sadly this is now the norm and some of the mass produced beers are also getting up there. Somehow, if a boutique beer has a cuddly name, then you don’t feel quite so bad at paying a higher price. So one has to wonder how much people would pay for a Fursty Ferret, an Old Badger or even a pint of Arrogant Bastard. I kid you not, these beers do exist in the UK (and are available in very boutique bottle shops here, if Dan Murphy’s actually qualifies as boutique).

 

Will Dan Murphy’s replace our beloved pubs??

 

Is this Australia most expensive pub?

Is this Australia most expensive pub?

So how much will a pint rise to? Well we understand that Perth leads the way in expensive beer, thanks to all the flouro’s with money to burn. One ocean front pub in Hillary’s boat harbour was charging $14 for a normal pint and $18 for a boutique pint. Sadly the cost of a pint is becoming beyond the reach of most ordinary workers and many are now resigned to drink at home with a carton from the bottle shop.

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 A lazy Melbourne Pub Crawl!

The east side of Melbourne’s CBD is a little quieter with fewer shops and more offices. During the weekend this area becomes very quiet and many visitors find that most of the night life opportunities are closed.  It is a little sad really as there are a few hotel options in this locality and travellers can be left wondering why did I come here.? But hidden away in some of the back streets and major roads that become quiet at the weekend, are some great pubs and bars. Here is our pick of some great bars to explore if you are in the east end of Melbourne’s CBD.

The Deck

Located off King Street, just north of Flinders Street and hidden down a back alley behind the pub, is a small rooftop bar called the Deck. This is an interesting little bar, although actually it is not that little, with a view out over the railway track to South Melbourne. Our first visit here was in the rain (so typical of Melbourne) so its appeal was not that great. But you cannot let a bit of rain mar your view on a bar!  So a few days later we returned to bask in glorious sunshine.

 

Highlander

Highlander bar was a nice surprise when we stumbled upon its doors. Meeting the rather lovely lady owner, we chatted about her plans and the ambience of the bar. She told us about the proposed plans to create a rooftop bar, which last time we visited had not started. This is a sumptuous and sassy bar and is certainly a good place to take a first date!

 

 

The Mint

The Mint is a little bit more up market than many of the bars in the east end of Melbourne’s CBD and is handy to Flagstaff Gardens. Adjacent to a rather ornate historic building, there is a nice atmosphere to this place and a sort of a view over the tarmac to the adjacent building.

 

 

All these bars can be found easily in the Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app.

The best boys weekend ever! A Day Out in Melbourne

On November 30, 2012, in CBD, by Jonno

 

Yeah! don’t even think about going out for a beer with your mates!

My mate is becoming a dad in a few weeks and as one last hurrah we are trying to get a boys weekend to Melbourne going. It’s tough as a lot of our friends have children and wives. The children are the excuse the wives use to temper our enthusiasm for going away. Yeah we have all been there, some say “Yeah, course you can go” but you know it’s gonna be a long time before that debt is paid.  Some are just adamant that you cannot go! The underlying concern is one of trust and the expectation that you’ll have a few beers and shag every 18 year old in the city. Well, that only happens in our dreams!!!!!

 

So if you do manage to get that elusive leave pass, where do you go?

 

Well a good choice is always one of the capital cities and to be honest, Melbourne would have to be the best choice. Sydney is OK, but its more spread out and there are not as many great bars to check out. The best thing about Melbourne is being able to jump on a tram to get from one side to the other. And, hey, it’s not that far to walk anyway!

 

So getting your flight is an Internet search as is the hotel. But where to stay? Melbourne has lots of hotel options, but you need to get as central to the CBD as possible. That makes it easy to get around and stumble home! However, that will be determined by how much you can afford. Those with unlimited cash reserves should head to the Westin, perhaps the best hotel in the CBD, but at $600 a night, it’s pretty pricey. Check out Agoda or one of the other last minute hotel sites.

 

If its footy season then you got to get yourself some tickets to watch a game at the MCG. (click here to see a virtual tour of the ground).  Sadly it will probably be a Collingwood game, but then it’s always great to watch them lose. I love the way when they are behind their fans go home at three quarter time, bless em!  If there is no sport, then your options are perhaps bar related (honestly are you going on a boys weekend to go to the museum???). If the weather is good, then get down to the Yarra river and Ponyfish Island. Right in the heart of the river, this is a great open air bar and a good afternoon starter. From here you can just wander back into the CBD and drop into one of the bars in Federation Square – Beer Deluxe or the Transport / Transit bars are always a great choice.

 

From Federation Square head up to the Carlton Hotel on Bourke Street. It’s very popular and you’ll see why with a sumptuous lounge bar and a great roof top terrace.  They have security, so if you have been hard at it for the afternoon, you may be declined entry. Another alternative is Miss Libertine on Franklin Street. This has more of a club pub feel, but a cracking pub none-the-less.

 

Whatever your choice of bar is, our Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app will guide you effortlessly to all that Melbourne has to offer and what is better, if you get split up, our in app SMS feature makes letting your mates know where you are so simple.

 

 

 

 

An evening with the Madame

On November 15, 2012, in CBD, by Jonno

Melbourne.

It’s 5pm and the sun has been out for most of the afternoon now. The mercury has risen to a warm 26 degrees and the backpackers are undressing in Federation Square. The deckchair commandeered for my afternoon nap has drifted into the sun giving me a rosy glow. Students behind me shelter in the shade of what was my umbrella and are talking non-stop. Their conversation is banal and I am forced to reconsider my position.

Pulling out my iPhone I look at this months latest most liked bars and notice that Gin Palace is still listed at the top, but wait. What’s this the Madame has jumped up to be equal in her likes. Well, game on and where better on a warm afternoon than in the garden of our favourite Madame – Madame Brussels.

 

Gin Palace and Madame Brussels are the top “liked” bars in Melbourne

 

The madame attends to her guests needs

 

I am lucky to get a spot at the balcony looking over the Main Street and giving me a panorama of the whole alfresco area. The sun is warm, but I have some shade. A beautiful woman beside me is in full sun and is seen to be under duress. The staff bring out a pale green parasol for which she can protect her beautiful skin. She smiles at everyone who is watching. Sexy and sassy the Madame knows how to treat her guests.

 

With cold beer and a pleasant outlook, Madame Brussels has to be one of the best bars in Melbourne’s CBD.

 

It’s spring carnival time in Melbourne…

Horses at the Melbourne Cup

 

and that means horses, horses and yes, more horses. A day at the races is a great day out in Melbourne and what better race than heading to Flemington to watch the Melbourne Cup.

 

 

 The race that stops the nation!

Ladies dressed fro the Melbourne Cup

Ready to watch those fillies

The Melbourne Cup was started in 1861 and has now been running for 151 years.  The race covers a staggering 3.2km (3,200 metres) and starts at 3pm on the first Tuesday of November. It has been labelled as the race that stops a nation, but in reality it just stops Victoria as with the different time zones across Australia many people are at work! It is however, the richest two-mile handicap horse race in the world and is said to be one of the richest turf events.

One of the lovely things about race day is how wonderful many of the ladies look. The Sydney Morning Herald has a review on this years fashions.

 

The greatest winners

Phar Lap

The horse with a big heart

Perhaps the most famous horse to win the Melbourne Cup was Phar Lap in 1930 as the odds were 8-11 making it the shortest-priced favourite in Cup history. Racing Victoria website has some more facts on this horse. However Phar Lap is not the fastest horse to complete the Cup, winning in 3:27:75.

The fastest horse to win the Melbourne Cup was Kingston Rule winning in 3:16:30 in 1990.

 

winner of the Melbourne Cup 2003, 2004 and 2005The best performing horse was Makybe Diva winning the Cup in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Surprisingly the first and last wins were in a similar time at 3:19, but her second win was a time of 3:28, showing what a significant difference the weather and track conditions can make.

 

Where to celebrate that win!

If you are one of the lucky one’s and get all dressed up for a fabulous day of racing, you will be thinking to yourself, where shall we go after the races?

Our friends at the Martini bar let us know that they are open from 5pm (in the Westin Hotel) and we thought that would be a great place to head after the races. Another great bar is the Gin Palace -  currently the number one “liked” bar in Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars.  Scrolling through all the most “liked” bars is a great way to find an excellent venue after the Melbourne Cup. If you cannot decide where to go, then why not try our lucky dip? This great feature in our Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app will select a local venue for you.  Don’t fancy that venue – well, pick again and again and again – until you find a bar that tempts you! The app will guide you there effortlessly.

 

Can’t make it to Flemmington?

If you are stuck in the city and cannot get to the race track, then our friends at the Westin Hotel have a great alternative:

Westin Hotel Collins StreetWatch the race that stops the nation at The Westin Melbourne’s Lobby Lounge. Treat yourself with our Contemporary High Tea. A modern twist on the traditional and includes an aromatic coffee or Jing tea herbal infusion, savoury delights, sweet temptations and of course, the classic scone. A wholesome experience on Melbourne Cup Day…nothing can beat it.  From $49 per person or $59 per person including a glass of Chandon NV Brut.

Booking is essential, please call 03 9635 2222 or email hightea@westin.com

 

 

 

There are so many bars in Melbourne that it can be a hard decision where to go. In our Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app for iPhone, we have selected some great places as our favourites. Great bars that we are comfortable to recommend to our friends when heading to Melbourne. But in our app we have a “Like this Bar” button that allows you to say which bars you like.

 

Use the app to vote for your favourite bar

 

As of 1 October 2012 the 5 most “Liked” bars are:

Interior of Gin Palace1.Gin Palace

The name says it all really as this is a bar specialising in gin. Fabulous decor in a plush gin palace style. One might expect Al Capone to be sitting in the corner. And there is something special here too, but you’ll have to ask!

 

 

Carlton Hotel2.Carlton Hotel

This is said to be one of Melbourne’s best pubs with a sumptuous lounge bar and a cool rooftop bar. A visit here is likely to make you linger longer than you expect.

 

 

 Madame Brussells3.Madame Brussels

Think France, think Melbourne rooftop, think Madame Brussels. Once you know where this place is, you will want to keep it to yourself. Foreign beers, wines and cocktails are the order here and this feels like one of those more “special” bars. The roof terrace is awesome with a hint of Wimbledon meets French chateau. Take the lift at the end of the corridor next to the restaurant. At the third floor you may be surprised at what you find!

 

 

Cookie4.Cookie

On the first floor of Curtin House is this grand high-ceilinged bar. Ornate features with a blend of industrial give this place a very chic feel. Great array of beers and other drinks and serves food too, so a great all round bar for any night out. One of Melbourne’s popular spots.

 

 

 

The Croft Institute

5. The Croft Institute

Set in the middle of Chinatown is this rather odd nightclub-cum-bar. An experience for sure. This one didn’t make our favourites list as not all of us have been here. We can see it will become a favourite.

 

 

 

With such a great response from our app customers, you can be pretty certain that visiting one of the above top 5 Melbourne bars will be a great experience. If your favourite bar or pub is not in the top 5 Melbourne bars, download Best Melbourne Pubs and bars and “Like”your favourite pubs and bars and let everyone know Melbourne’s top pubs and bars.

Liking pubs and bars is easy in the Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app for iPhone.

 

 

CITY CIRCLE TRAM PUB TOUR

On September 17, 2012, in CBD, Docklands, by Jonno

All Aboard – It’s Free!!!

City circle tram – free pub crawl!

Our business is reliant on the sale of our app for the iPhone, which many will know, will guide you to almost every pub and bar in Melbourne’s CBD, Docklands and Southbank. We think we have em all, but, hey even we can miss one or two! Every now and again it’s great to share some of our in- depth research with our followers. So this month we have pulled together a great little tour around the city with 4 great pubs / bars for you to visit and some interesting things to look at on the way. When the sun is out and the mercury rises above 20 degrees, what better way to pass an afternoon, than by wandering the streets of Melbourne?

 

Great Pubs and a Free Tram Ride

Firstly, we must point out that being drunk on the tram is not acceptable – so take it easy!

The city circle tram does bog laps (as my other half would say) around Melbourne CBD every day between 8am and 6pm. It’s a great way to see the city and get familiar with where you are and where everything is. It is also a great way to explore some of Melbourne’s interesting bars and attractions. The great thing is – it’s free!

This great little tour takes you to the four edges of Melbourne, starting in the north and ending in the west. As its using the tram you can go in any order you like, but we think the order we have selected fits an afternoon session rather nicely.

Head to Flagstaff, where a very short walk will get you the The Mint. Located in an old house, this is a bit of a posh sort of place, but the al-fresco area is nice and secluded and over looks a great historic building. The food here is pretty good too as we often come here for a burger and a beer to discuss business when in Melbourne. Having a good feed is always a good way to start a session we find.

 

Jump back on the tram and head to Parliament. Well, it was many years ago when Melbournians thought they ruled the country (some in Collingwood still think they do!).  True to political form, the pollies egos became too big and they needed their own state, Canberra. On the bright side, it’s handy for porn and drugs we hear (never been there). My favourite quote on Canberra is from Bill Bryson. Canberra – slightly better than breaking a leg.

 

Siglo rooftop barThere are a few options in the Parliament area, so we have 2 choices. For those wanting to have a “posh” drink, it is hard to go past Siglo. Their rooftop area is gorgeous overlooking the street tree canopy with hints of the Parliament building popping through. It’s table service here and the wine list makes it worth it. If a pub is more your thing, then the Cricketers in the Windsor hotel will satisfy that thirst for a beer. This bar has become quite famous in Melbourne, not sure why as it really is nothing special. It has recently been refurbished, but it’s really just a different colour.

 

Back on the circle route, head down to Federation Square. This place was so controversial when it was built. The architecture upset lots of people, but I reckon it was a bold and impressive decision not to develop this area in a normal office box layout. The sandstone paving is fabulous and every time we are here it’s normally packed. So a good indication that a lot of people like it! There are two great options here, actually there are more than that but we are losing the point! For a “posh” drink head to Transit, the rooftop bar in the Transport building. Great views over the river out to Albert Park and the city. Want something more beery, well delve deep into the heart of Federation Square to Beer Deluxe. It has everything the label suggests!!!!

It’s hard to leave Federation Square, but our final destination is down in Docklands by the water. The Woolshed pub is a converted warehouse and has a great selection of beers, wines and even some fancy cocktails. The staff were really good here when we visited and being off the CBD circuit I think that they get a more regular office crowd. And friendliness is what we love in our pubs!

 

Enjoy this tour and please don’t get trashed and upset the tram driver, you’ll spoil it for every one. We reckon a pint in each bar is more than enough, before you settle in at the Woolshed.