Melbourne Cup and a great night out

On October 28, 2013, in CBD, by Jonno

Horses at the Melbourne CupIt’s that time of year again, the race that stops a nation is on. Melbourne Cup is Australia’s premier horse racing carnival and attracts a high gathering both on and off track. Unlike many horse racing tracks around the world, Flemington is very easy to reach from the CBD of Melbourne and so makes a fabulous day out for any visitor. If you are in Melbourne during the cup, then you will experience an erie calm over the CBD whilst that race is being run. Indeed you might find the same in every Australia capital city (except Canberra, which has that erie silence at most times).

Melbourne cup mayhem

Everything you want to know about Melbourne Cup

Once all the racing is over, then you’ll probably fancy having a few nice drinks and Melbourne CBD has some great options. Here is our pick for post Melbourne Cup drinks.

Siglo.

Located a short stroll from Parliament is the lovely rooftop bar of Siglo. This can be a little hard to find as its entry is a doorway and often you can walk straight past! (Our app will show you exactly where it is). Siglo has an airs of exclusivity about it and with table service it is not for those on a budget. This is an excellent location to grab a nice bottle of wine (their list is very good) sit back and enjoy the ambience.

79 Madame Brussels  (3)Madame Brussels

also a short stroll from Parliamemt is another rather hard rooftop bar to find. Madame Brussellscould be considered as a Melbourne institution as whilst it may be hard to find! it is rarely empty! There is an eclectic mix of style here which we can only describe as French provincial meets Wimbledon. They provide a nice range of drinks, including some nice boutique bottled beers. This is. To the sort of place you’ll want to rock in scruffy jeans to!

Carlton Hotel.

One of the more popular pubs in Melbourne located to the east of the CBD. the Carlton extends over a few floors and has a plush bar with smoking terrace over the street. Up a few flights and you will reach the rooftop bar, great on a warm balmy evening. This is a great all-round pub with a casual vibe.

Gorgeous rooftop bat in the heart of Melbourne's CBD

Campari.

Located in hardware lane,Campari is three floors of dining and imbibing. Head straight to the rooftop bar for a great vibe and a few rooftop views. with a nice choice of beer on tap this is a more casual bar and is a great all-rounder.

You can all of these bars, plus a few hundred more in our Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app on the iPhone.

 

 

 

Your personal bar guide, essential for any stay in Melbourne’s CBD.

 

 

 

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.

 

 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.

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.

 

Explore Melbourne’s Historic Lanes and Bars

Melbourne is a very historic city as far as history goes for cities in Australia. Thankfully it’s history is actually celebrated and much of the fabulous architecture that made Melbourne a capital city has been retained. A walk around Melbourne can be a great day out for people who love cities and old buildings.  Because of this old architectural way of creating space and dealing with what was required, Melbourne has some elegantly planted wide streets and fantastic lane ways shadowed by marvellous warehouses. It is in these great hidden lanes that Melbournians and visitors alike can explore and find some great cafes and bars.

Hardware Lane

Starting at the bottom of Hardware Lane, by McDonalds and the car park you will find the excellent Campari. This is a great venue with a nice cafe style restaurant on the ground level, a venue-cum-function room in the middle and a superb rooftop bar nestled in between the high rise offices of the CBD. This is one of the bars I head to when heading into Melbourne CBD as it offers so much variety and I must confess to have a a liking for roof top bars!

 

A little further up the lane over Little Bourke Street, you’ll be immersed in restaurants and spruickers plying for trade. Technically this “spruicking” is illegal under the Melbourne by-laws, but this makes it less intense and a more friendly approach to tempt you to one of their tables. It is what makes Melbourne a great city in which to eat. Generations of migrant families have worked these streets and this is how they have always worked. Think of it more as a tradition (and one that is fiercely protected up in Lygon Sreet). For those looking for a quieter, more intimate drinking experience, there are two bars located in the restaurants.  Amigos downstairs is very intimate and has that club feel to it. Next door you will find Charleys, a first floor level bar and again a nice intimate bar. Both these places are great for a romantic date or a quieter evening.

 

For those looking for something that little more noisy, at the end of Hardware Lane is the  Golden Monkey. A subterranean bar with some great sounds to help you party the night away.

 

 

Further along, once you cross over Lonsdale Street, you’ll come across Pug Mohones, a great Irish pub hidden from passer by on the busy Melbourne Streets. This is a nice place to hang with a pint of the famous black stuff. Located in an old warehouse, this pub gives you a bit of a feel for old Melbourne.

 

As always, the best way to find all these great bars is to download Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars.

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

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!

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.