For some of the best long cocktails in a Melbourne bar, have a wander to Cookie – especially the quaint little back-bar area. In our quest to find top Melbourne bars and launch our Best Melbourne Pubs & Bars iPhone app, we sampled many a cocktail, wine and beer. What we love about this place is you get three fabulous bars at the one address!!

 

252 Swanston Street

The doorway to so many cool bars

Cookie, Toff in Town and Rooftop Cinema – all at 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne

 

Cookie has an impressive array of drinks behind the bar and a mean cocktail list. The waiters know their stuff and are generally pretty friendly and helpful. The décor is nicely done, with some retro pieces on the walls and laying about. There is a small balcony over Swantson Street, so if get there early enough you may be able to perch yourself there for a while.

 

One level up from Cookie is the quirky Melbourne bar, Toff Of The Town. The sweet little booths are very very popular so if you want to impress someone (or your friends) be sure to get there early. Sitting in one of these after wandering around the dark, wooden, thatched surroundings you feel as if you are in an Asian bar.

 

Image of the Toff

Relaxed and intimate

And a level above The Toff is the Rooftop Cinema bar. Complete with some AstroTurf (fake grass) this bar is perfect at the end of a hot Melbourne January day. The evening cools down and you can take in the beaming Melbourne skyline while you sip away and chat with your friends.

 

While you may save your legs not having to move from Melbourne bar-to-bar (as there is no lift in the building), moving between the three bars can make you earn your beer or cocktail! This Melbourne address has all you could need to impress some newbies to Melbourne. This is what we recommend you do on a warm summer’s evening:

 

  • As you walk in, put your name down for a table to eat at Cookie (the Asian-fusion food is delicious, and not too expensive)
  • Have a drink at the back-bar at Cookie, cocktails are recommended
  • Eat at Cookie
  • Wander up to the rooftop bar for a few (on your way up, drop into The Toff and see if you can reserve a booth)
  • Complete your night with a booth at Toff Of The Town

 

See more about Cookie, Toff Of The Town and Rooftop. Be sure to check when Rooftop is open if it is a lovely Melbourne evening or afternoon. It is a cinema and is not open for drinks until after the film has finished!

 

Read our review of each and see which of the three bars has been “Liked” the most by the punters already using our Melbourne bars iPhone app.

Best Melbourne pubs and Bars icon

One click to all the best of Melbourne

Melbourne Skyline

Another rainy Melbourne day!

Sharing a cold beer or nice wine with mates on a warm Melbourne summer afternoon is one of our favourite past times. Especially if you can get an outdoor bar, and extra special if it is on the river. We have visited all the 250 or so bars and pubs in Melbourne CBD, Docklands and South Bank and here are three of the best for relaxing on the Yarra, drinking outdoors.

 

To find these bars and many more easily, download our Melbourne Pubs & Bars iPhone app – walk around Melbourne CBD and be guided not only by our reviews, but also which venues people have “Liked” the most. In our app when you visit a bar you can tick you “Like” it, and that you have visited it too – so when next looking for a bar you haven’t been to you can see them on your iPhone quickly.

 

Transit Lounge

Transit in Federation Square

Cool views over Melbourne CBD

A hidden Melbourne rooftop bar, you will find this gem above Taxi restaurant – which itself is above Transport, on Swanston Street in the corner of Federation Square touching Princes Bridge. The bar isn’t very big, but with the rooftop area added in you can fit in a good crew here if you are looking to impress out-of-town mates. With gorgeous chesterfield chairs and couches this bar has been decked out tastefully.

 

See more on Transit.

 

 

 

Riverland

Image of Riverland their website

On the river and great on a warm balmy night

A very popular bar on a sunny day, this Melbourne riverside bar has a lot of outdoor space. Perfect for Pimms in a cool summer breeze, pretend you are in London (or atop Madame Brussels – another of our favourite, and quirky Melbourne bars).

 

After a large sporting event at the MCG, Rod Laver Arena or ??? this bar is usually packed, as it is the closest “cool” bar to these grounds. So check for major events before trying to sample this top Melbourne bar.

See more on Riverland.

 

Ponyfish Island

Ponyfish Island

The closest you can get to the Yarra without a boat!

We’re saving the best til last. In such an innocuous spot, this brilliant little bar is on the Yarra underneath the pedestrian footbridge from Flinders Street Station to South Bank. About halfway across the bridge from the Flinders Street Station side, look to your right for some stairs and wander down. You will see a unique bar literally on the Yarra River.

 

In summer this bar rocks on, the music is funky and it can often get crowded by late afternoon on the weekend – so get in early and perch yourself with a drink overlooking the river and Melbourne skyline.

 

See more about Ponyfish Island on Facebook.

The next two weeks will have food, wine and indeed beer lovers salivating in Melbourne. The Melbourne food and wine festival graces the city once again and this year they have a handy app for the iPhone (Melbourne Food and Wine Festival App) telling you where all the events are. However, what it does not tell you is where the temporary bar called Broadsheet will be – it just refers you to the website. Sadly, as a temporary bar, it is not in Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars either, although over 200 other bars in Melbourne CBD are, so you won’t go thirsty!

 

Broadsheet Bar is not in the Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars iPhone app

 

Sherlock Holmes shadow

I know Watson, lets go to the pub!

So where is this elusive bar you may ask? Well donning my Sherlock Holmes deerstalker I head off in search, well OK I admit that I went to the web page to get its location. So I can now tell you that Broadsheet Bars is located at The Broadsheet Bar 234 Flinders Lane, Melbourne and is open from 4pm to 1am every day of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. We will of course put a review of the bar on to our website when we get into Melbourne next week (as international beer research keeps us out of Melbourne at the moment and yes, it is a hard job!)

Great Bars are easy to find, with the Best Melbourne Pub and Bars iPhone app

There are some great events happening all over the CBD and I was keen to check out the foodie movies being shown in Federation Square. As they say, “pull up a deckchair and enjoy a food related film”. Whilst that sounds pretty awesome, the event only runs to the 9th, so a short time in which to enjoy this unique event. But if you miss it, why not catch a movie at the rooftop cinema on the top of Curtin House, their season runs to about the 26th March. But not to worry if you are late as they open as a bar after the movies and have some sensational views over the rooftops of Melbourne. You can find this bar easily (and over 200 more) by downloading Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars onto your iPhone.

There is a huge buzz in Melbourne over the next few weeks with this year’s Melbourne Food and Wine festival kicking off on 2nd March through until 21st March. This annual event attracts huge numbers of tourists into the CBD and why not, when it showcases some of the best products in Victoria.

 

The best food the best bars

 

After you have spent the day perusing the wares of the merchants to Melbourne, what better way to kick off the night with a refreshing Gin and Tonic in one of Melbourne’s Best Bars and Pubs? A great choice would be Madame Brussels located at the Paris end of Burke Street. This rather gorgeous bar can be a little hard to find as it is a rooftop bar. This is where the Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app for iPhone comes in so handy. With a picture showing the exterior of the bar and Google / static maps you will easily find this and all the other 240+ bars and pubs in Melbourne.

Madame Brussels in the Paris end of Melbourne

Just one of the many bars in Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars iPhone app

Madame Brussels is an eclectic place set on the third floor with interesting street top views. But don’t come here for the glimpses of Melbourne rooftops, you come here to enjoy the fabulous ambience. The bar is decorated with a hint of French provincial with a hint of Wimbledon. Even the bars staff sport tennis wear to give that certain “je me sais quoi” to the place.

 

Forget Wimbledon, visit Madame Brussels!

 

Once refreshed there are so many rooftop and cocktails bars to choose from, or even a local pub. One of our favourites is the Portland Hotel on Russell Street, also known as the James Squire Brewhouse, but not to be confused with the James Squire Brewhouse in Docklands (a great waterside pub in Docklands). What makes this bar special? Well they brew their own beer right there on the premises and it is only available there. A unique pub with a unique beer and not a bad drop too! Although for true beer lovers it’s pretty hard to get past the splendidLittle Creatures Brewery on Brunswick Street, although that is a bit of a trek over to Fitzroy (but very worth the tram ride I reckon – although Western Australians will be a little disappointed as the Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle is probably one of the best pubs in the world).

 

How to find Melbourne’s best pubs and bars

 

So no matter what sort of evening’s entertainment you are seeking, Melbourne CBD probably has something right up your street. If you are looking for a cocktail bar, wine bar, pub or club, then Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app for iPhone is just the app you need. Over 240 venues are listed in the CBD, Docklands and Southbank.

It is always hard to answer the question

Sheep on the roof

Thankfully the owner decided against Lemmings

“what is your favourite Melbourne pub or bar”

 

As a frequent traveller to Melbourne I have not tried every bar, pub and club, even though we think we have them all in our app Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars. So perhaps my favourite will change when I get back to Melbourne to fill in the gaps of bars I have visited.

 

 

“Perhaps my favourite bar is the Red Hummingbird”

Red Hummingbird in Russell Street, Melbourne

One of Melbourne's best bars

The Red Humingbird, located at 246 Russell Street, Melbourne, is a gorgeous cocktail style bar on the first floor with a really nice rooftop bar above. Rooftop bars are a very Melbourne thing and there is nothing nicer on a warm summers evening, than sitting on the rooftops gazing out over the city with a nice cold beer.

The Red Hummingbird can be hard to find though, as the entry is from a single door fronting the street. The cute red birdcage above the door gives it away, but then people tend not to look up, and in Melbourne that is a pity as the street facade and skyline is pretty nice. So once you have located the door on Russell Street climb the stairs to the first floor to be met by a sumptuous lounge bar.

Finding the Red Hummingbird is easy with the Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app on iPhone. Google maps will guide your there and give you directions too.

Travelling and don’t have a data connection?

Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars contains off-line maps so you can still find all those wonderful pubs and bars.

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Unique bars in Melbourne

Next stop Melbourne!

It was a long time ago when I first visited Melbourne, at the time local Sydney-siders advised that the best view of Melbourne was from 30,000 feet!  Thankfully I went to Melbourne to find out for myself and boy am I glad I did. That was 20 years ago and today Melbourne is more funky, trendy and vibrant than ever.

Melbourne has “probably the best bars and pubs in Australia”

Sitting on the rooftop of Madame Brussels, Troy and I discussed how many great bars and pubs there are in Melbourne. “Probably the best bars and pubs in Australia”, Troy commented. Upon reflection I think I tend to agree. Admittedly I have not been to Sydney for 20 years, as to me that city has no heart and soul. It’s a big conurbation with an opera house, a rip off of the Tyne bridge and a lot of people who think they are important.

Wimbledon in Melbourne

One of the many delightful rooftop bars in Melbourne

Melbourne has a very vibrant cafe and bar scene, with delightful bars in hidden lane ways, rooftop terraces and sexy interiors. There really is something for everyone in this city. Boys nights out in large sports pubs, an evening with friends on the river, intimate cocktail lounges for those first dates and a happening nightclub scene. The are even quite a few “girlie” bars and a “boysey” bars for those who like the watch the opposite sex undress. Yes Melbourne certainly has something for everyone and we decided to bring all our research to your iPhone.

Our Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars iPhone app has over 200 bars and clubs in Melbourne CBD and Docklands. With 3 photos of most venues, deciding where to spend an evening has never been easier. Want to be inspired? Click on one of our favourites (“Our Picks”), which we feel reflect the very best Melbourne has to offer. Keep track on which pubs you have been to and “like” bars you have visited. See who else likes bars in Melbourne for an app user recommendation. And never get lost, with Google mapping and static off-line maps (for those without a data connection).

See who else likes bars in Melbourne for an app user recommendation.

Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars brings you all of Melbourne’s pubs and bars so you can visit the best, whatever your preference!

In January 2012 I took my best mate from Uni, Spud, on a 5-stop beer crawl / walk (actually, cycle) starting in Carlton and finishing with a great boutique beer bar on Lygon Street, Brunswick. We had a terrific afternoon sampling the craft beers at each, and soaking up the ambience of one of Melbourne’s newest breweries, Temple Brewery in Brunswick.

When to start this Carlton and Brunswick bar hopping, and where to eat

We kicked-off at 2pm on a sunny Saturday afternoon, but mainly because Spud had to be home by 5pm to help with the little ones. I’d suggest you start at or after 3pm though, as Atticus Finch only opens from 4pm. You could also reverse the order we did it and eat at The Great Northern, the nosh looked nice. Alternatively, do it in the order we have it below but after Atticus Finch skip the Alderman, head down to Mr W then have The Alderman as your last and either order food in there (which is passed in from next door, some great Sicilian food from we Bar Idda we’re told). Or, a few doors down (left out the door) is the highly rated Rumi, great middle eastern food.

The map or route for this top Melbourne bar crawl

As you can see from this map of our happy trail, the area is a little further north than Jonno has covered in our Best Melbourne Pubs & Bars iPhone app, but I felt it was good to share this route:

1. The Great Northern, 644 Rathdowne Street, Carlton

Web: www.gnh.net.au

This wonderful oasis boasts 18 craft beers on top. What a find! For a co-founder of The London Pub Crawl Co. this pub held a special place in my heart. The variety of beers on tap reminded me of the 160 English pubs Jonno whittled down from the 7,000 in London, and stuffed in our London pub iPhone and Android app.

2. Temple Brewery, 122 Weston Street, Brunswick East

Web: www.templebrewing.com.au

A sleek and modern brewery in an industrial pre-fab concrete park, tucked away just off Lygon Street (close to the Quarry Hotel). We found the staff pleasant, the beer spot on and from the look of the dlighted faces on other punters eating there – the food looked OK too. Our favourite beers straight from the tap that day were the Temple Bicycle Beer (of course) and Temple Saison.

3. Atticus Finch, 129 Lygon Street, East Brunswick

Web: www.atticusfinch.com.au

This stylish bar has some exquisite beers in the fridge. Some of the blurb from their website evokes the best picture I can convey:

“Enjoy a locally sourced epicurean treat while sinking into one of the comfy booth seats or relaxing in the spacious rear courtyard. Escape the everyday and become immersed in old world charm with a distinctive modern day twist.”

4. The Alderman, 134 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Web: n/a

This was our favourite for the day. Maybe it was the fact we were the first ones through the door soon after it opened at 3pm, or that the owner was working behind the bar that day and entertained us with a good chat and some history of the place. The selection of craft beers were impressive and the art deco interior and really well done courtyard outback captivated us for more than the mandated “1 beer per place” rule. In the colder Melbourne months the fireplace is perfect to cosy up to for a wintry ale. Check out the rustic dart board in the little courtyard.

5. Mr Wilkinson, 295 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Web: www.facebook.com/Mister.Wilkinson

My cousin Chris first introduced me to this gem. We were dining at Hellanic Republic and – knowing my love of beer and all things pubish – he suggested we meet here beforehand. It is a top little bar at the north-end of Lygon Street. The staff know their beers, are friendly and the décor of a lot of wooden surfaces with some old televisions thrown in make it a unique feel.

 

While none of these pubs, bars or the brewery are in our popular Best Melbourne Pubs & Bars iPhone app, when we do get to collecting all the data on pubs and bars further afield than the CBD and Docklands each and every one of the above will make the list. Both Spud and I highly recommend this beer walk, and our preferred mode of transport is the good old bicycle. Be sure to drink and ride responsible of course!

Walking along Little Lonsdale Street in the north end of Melbourne’s CBD, you may be forgiven for missing the 1,000£bend.  Little Lonsdale Street is a backstreet after all and is not that heavily used.  But sadly by not wandering the backstreets you are missing out on some of Melbourne’s cool bars and cafes.

Another of Melbourne's great cafes / bars

Trendy with an industrial feel

 1,000£bend – an odd name in a backstreet location!

 

Stumbling upon this funky gallery cafe-cum-bar in an old warehouse, you may think it is just a cafe , but out the back there is an exhibition area. Sadly whenever we have dropped in, there have been no exhibitions and to date the young lady who runs it has not got in contact to tell us “what’s it all about!” (a gentle prod!).

Find them in the Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app

 

With 1970s furniture and hippy soundtrack this is a great find on the side streets of Melbourne. An early morning breakfast with great coffee or a late afternoon beer, this place has it all.

 

Great bar cum cafe in Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

A friendly reminder!

Address: 361 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 3000

Phone: n/a

Web: n/a