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.

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.

 

 

On July 6th this year the legendary music venue, the Ding Dong Lounge, will reopen its doors to Melbourne’s music lovers. Closed a few years ago after a fire ripped through the German restaurant below, the venue has now been refurbished.

Billy Walsh, the sole owner and known in Melbourne for being the drummer in the Cosmic Psychos, is said to have conceived the idea for Ding Dong lounge after one-too-many margaritas at CBGB’s. You’ll have to ask Billy whether this is actually true or not. We haven’t spoken to him, so we don’t know if he is planning for some big names to be passing through, but with a heritage – including the likes of Noel Gallagher (who demanded to buy the bar), the White Stripes and a who’s who list of Melbourne bands – you can expect that this will return to being one of the places to be.

Reviews on the web indicate that once past the recognisable red neon sign, any similarities end there. Inside it is stated that:

you’ll be presented with Marc Bolan’s bedroom with booths.

Which is somewhat surprising as his bedroom was in the UK, but perhaps like Captain Cooks’ house, they brought it out brick-by-brick!?

We hear that an outdoor garden has been designed by the Dutch born vertical garden artist Joost and that they reckon this will be one of the “in” places for after work drinks. We’ll reserve our judgement until we have visited, but we wish Billy well in getting the Ding Dong Lounge back onto the Melbourne bar scene.

You can find the Ding Dong Lounge by downloading the Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app.

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is an annual event that draws a few tourists into the CBD. And why not, it’s a great day out in Melbourne and something that you could take the kids to. But it is not just about food and wine. This year saw the return of the temporary bar called Broadsheet. As we mentioned in a previous blog, the location of the bar was kept as a virtual secret, probably more due to finding a venue, than anything underhand.

Great days out in Melbourne and things to do

Broadsheet bar in Melbourne

Too late for a quick beer - again!

Troy and I did our research and tracked down this ellusive bar, but realised when we arrived that is was about to close. We had a chat with the bouncer outside, a nice young man who was happy to tell us all we wanted to know.

The bar did not look like something that you would travel across town for and it certainly would not pull you out of the Carlton Hotel, around the corner. But it was different and was often operated by owners of local bars who would add there certain “Je ne sais quoi” to the bar. We thought this was a great concept and sort of regretted imbibing a whole heap of beer down the road (Troy certainly did the next day!).

Too much fun in Melbourne pubs and bars

I should perhaps point out that we were late as we had spent the evening chatting with the owner of the Lustre Bar just down to road. What was planned as a quick “Hello” turned into an amusing night which both Troy and I rather enjoyed. Lustre Bar is a great place to hang out with friends. We like the relaxed atmosphere and opulent décor.

Sitting in large couches our host amused us with interesting stories of his career. Interestingly our host was a bit of an expert at making Vodka, which got us thinking that the selection of Vodka at Lustre Bar is probably quite good. We have no idea as by this time I couldn’t quite focus that far. I am sure our host will email me and put me right on that.

What make Lustre Bar special?

Our host had a simple philosophy regarding the beers that he served in the bar – if they are in Dan Murphy’s they wont be in here! We like that. But that is not to say that Dan Murphy’s sell rubbish beer, quite the contrary. But why go to a bar to drink something you can get it in the bottleshop? It was about this point that our host treated us to a rather nice beer called Prickly Moses. A very nice drop brewed down on the Victorian coast.

But our host did raise an important issue that night, the street art outside Lustre Bar. The artist rocked up last week to change the mural to something new, as the original work had been there for a while. We feel that the new artwork is not a patch on the old artwork. Let us know your vote!

Rate Lustre Bar Street Art

New art at Lustre Bar

The New Street Art

Street Art outside Lustre Bar

The Old Artwork

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make your voice heard at the Lustre Bar Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/LustreBar

 

Melbourne Laneway - hiding great pubs and bars

Travellers and locals to Melbourne may be surprised to know that in Melbourne CBD there are over 200 pubs, clubs and bars. Over 200 pubs and bars and this does not include Docklands or Southbank, both of which are an easy walk or taxi ride from the CBD.

So this presents a problem when visiting Melbourne for just a few days, just where should you go for a night out with your loved one or friends?

 

Over 200 pubs and bars in Melbourne CBD

Best Melbourne Pubs and BarsMelbourne is a great place to visit, but if you are the for a weekend or on business, you don’t have time to plod from bar-to-bar trying to find one with that just right ambience. For business travelers you may want to take your clients out for a pre-meal drink and want to impress them. Yes you can spend hours surfing the net, but then who really wants to waste time trawling through 250 different websites before going out?

The answer lies in a new handy app for the iPhone – Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars. Launched in February 2012 at an introductory price of just $2.99, this app will guide you to around 250 pubs and bars in Melbourne CBD environs. Unlike other apps available, Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars includes all pubs and bars, so no matter what you a looking for, it is all in your pocket. The app includes up to 3 photos of most bars showing the interior, so you can judge for yourself just what atmosphere you can expect. If you are looking for a great bar to watch sport with your mates, a gentlemen’s lounge or a seductive cocktail lounge to impress a first date, the Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars iPhone app has them all.

 

Act before the price rise!

The extensive research which is on-going is not something you can expect in a free app. With Google navigation, offline maps for those with no data connection, “Like” options and the ability to bookmark places you have been, this app has a lot of quality content. At $2.99 as an introductory price, Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars is excellent value for money.

 

 

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Down a street heading to Southern Cross, you are unlikely to just walk past Bar Biero.  This is a great little bar tucked away down Little Lonsdale Street to the west side of the CBD. If you are looking for things to do in Melbourne, a visit to Bar Biero is a must for beer lovers.

 

Bar Biero Melbourne's best pubs and bars

Great Beer and Character

Bar Biero – or Deja-vu?

 

Last time we visited the manager told us that they may be changing their name to Deja-vu, but not sure if they have done this yet.  But if it has changed that explains why you feel you have been here before!!  When we visited there was a great selection of beer with pale ales even from as far as Scotland!  It’s cute inside and decorated in a trendy way, but not over the top.

 

Find them in the Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app

 

Bar Biero interior Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars

250 Bottled Beers and 12 pumps Mmmmmnnnnn

The bar feels like a turn of the century school hall, with exposed brick and whitewashed wood ceiling. It has an historic feel to it, but we don’t know the history of the building.  Friendly staff and cool urban vibes. We really hope that the 250 bottles of beer and 12 pumps with a choice of 50 kegs are still there –  this is beer heaven.

Address: 525 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

Phone: (03) 9600 0940

Web: www.bierobar.com.au

 

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!

I have always laughed at the notion of the “Paris”-end of Melbourne as so often these local names are applied by people who have never been to Paris! Strolling through the east end, there is little to be compared to Paris in terms of architecture and ambience. I did spot a couple of dog turds, but I am sure that is not what is meant by the Paris-end of Melbourne. But then I stumbled upon the Collins Quarter, a rather seductive bar with a bit of a European feel. Still I could not say I felt like I was in Paris.

Eifel tower - the Paris Landmark

Sacre Bleu - This is not Paris!

Collins Quarter is a lovely eloquent bar with a certain allusive feeling. Walking through the door in trainers you realise that this is just not on. The bar ambience tells you that you are under dressed and you will feel more comfortable in a nice shirt. Although having walked in in trainers, the staff did not look down upon me, nor did they refuse to serve. It is this exclusive feeling that makes this bar really something quite special and well worth slipping into.

Melbourne has its own personality, a vibrant street scene with amazing coffee shops and bars.

After a brief chat with the owner about our Best Melbourne Pubs & Bars iPhone app it was back to the streets for more “research”. Around the corner I did stumble upon a great Melbourne bar called Society. With a bright yellow awning covering the street and wicker style chairs I accepted that this did indeed reflect an impression of Paris that is portrayed in American movies.

But Melbourne is never going to be Paris and it shouldn’t even try. Melbourne has its own personality, a vibrant street scene with amazing coffee shops and bars. It’s time to lose the romantic associations with other cities and realise that Melbourne has come of age and is a city sitting on the edge of the worlds stage. Troy and I predict that Melbourne will become Australia’s most populous city with an international attraction that is likely to be greater than the population of some states over the next 20 years (much to the disgust of the NSW Premier no doubt).

In the Paris end of Melbourne

OK! It looks a bit like Paris

It is difficult to point a finger and say that one person has created the stimuli for Melbourne to have grown into what it is. But certainly the number of bars and pubs in the CBD (there are over 200 in the CBD included in the Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app) has given the city a positive edge. With cities like Perth wanting to emulate the Melbourne bar scene, albeit hindered by restrictive liquor licensing laws, Melbourne can hold her head high as a shining example of an emerging living, breathing city.

So next time you are looking for a nice weekend away, surf the net and grab a cheap flight to Melbourne, download Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars to your iPhone and set off on a voyage of discovery of perhaps the best bars on the continent.