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.

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!