Curious as to where the city's inhabitants go on Friday evenings when things really start to pick up? It's possible you'll stumble onto a secret tavern, or you might be a schmuck and go to an obvious one. There are several tiny bars in Melbourne, including one hidden behind such a fridge door, another hidden behind a bookshelf, as well as a bar closet that can only fit about eight people. This is a list of the best hidden pubs in Melbourne; use it as a guide for your next visit.
Without a relatively minor measure of legislation adopted in 1994 that permitted pubs to operate without selling food, Melbourne would be an entirely different place today. For a city that had not yet fully emerged from the shadow of the abolitionist movement, this was a revelation. Even many Melburnians are often in the dark about Melbourne's underground secret pub culture. From elevators that halt at hidden floors to secret bookcases that open into exclusive speakeasies, there are many ways to keep your whereabouts a secret.
Intentionally passed to help the brand new Crown Casino, the law has had the unintended consequence of bringing young, money restaurant owners to Melbourne's seedy laneways. Today, this configuration is commonplace:
- Visit some less well-lit areas.
- By a trash can that smells terrible.
- You'll find a cosy drink den behind a door that isn't clearly labelled.
You can find some of Melbourne's best bars by venturing down an alley, up a stairwell, or through an unmarked door. We've compiled a list of the greatest bars in the city, from the ones hidden away in laneways adorned in street art to the newest additions on top of secret rooftops.
Melbourne's Hidden Bars
Dig down below ground and you'll find the Parisian-style brasserie Bar Margaux, which has locations in both New York and Paris (5 am on Fridays and Saturdays). In this painstakingly realised environment, where light glows suggestively over Georgian wire glass barriers, where lipstick-red booths curl around marble tabletops, and where the only game in town is indulgence, time itself appears to melt away.
State of Grace
The state with Grace combines a restaurant, a rooftop bar, and a hidden subterranean bar all into one spectacular establishment. Aptly named Fall From Grace, this secret bar in Melbourne boasts arguably the city's best hidden entrance. There is a bookshelf on the first floor, and if you take the correct volume out, the shelf slides aside to reveal a set of stairs. If you keep going down, you'll hit Fall From Grace.
Beneath Driver Lane
If the name of the pub has the term "Beneath" in it, you can be sure that it is located in an intriguing place. Driver Lane is accessed via Little Bourke Street, one of the town's deceptively attractive streets, and is reached via a flight of steps leading down to a dark and cavernous tavern. Candles light the dark wood tables and semi-private booths, while black and white framed images line the walls, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a homey living room.
Its extensive cocktail list "inspired in a typical day in the life of the a bluesman and what they drink each day" (or "influenced by a typical day in the life of the a blues musician") is well-known, but the ambience at BDL is equally well-known. You may find boozy variations on the city's popular bubble tea, the "Oolong Slayer," and Nitro Martinis, among other things, on the menu.
Bar appetisers such as toasted sandwiches, cutlets, cheese, prosciutto, and oysters are available every Friday, Saturdays, and Sunday night at 9 p.m., and live blues music is performed throughout the weekend.
This Sydney bar finally opened in Melbourne after seven long years, and we couldn't be happier. Mary's is known for its excellent burgers and extensive bourbon selection, all of which are served with a 'don't give a f**k' attitude. A red light as well as some permanent marker scribbling on the door give away the whereabouts of this charming young lady hidden away in a downtown alley. Mary's is ready for you if you're in the mood to let loose and have a good time.
Bar Americano would be both difficult to identify and enter because of its small capacity (a few seated customers and a few more standing). Authentic European aperitifs and Americano coffee with a bitter edge can be found in a space that's small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It should be easier to get a seat at this restaurant now that they have added outdoor seating on Presgrave Place. Your next night out necessitates a Negroni, so get a table online.
This traditional cocktail bar is standing room only, which fits with Matt Bax's predilection for unconventional or challenging venues. Just around the corner on Presgrave Place is where you'll find it.
FAQs About Bars in Melbourne
Best Hidden Bars in Melbourne
- Pizza Pizza Pizza.
- Eau de Vie.
- State of Grace.
- Bar Margaux.
- Berlin Bar.
- Jungle Boy.
A speakeasy, also called a blind pig or blind tiger, is an illicit establishment that sells alcoholic beverages, or a retro style bar that replicates aspects of historical speakeasies.
One thing's for sure: you're never short of places to party in Melbourne. The Victorian capital is famous for its nightlife. From bars and restaurants to clubs that keep going until the sun is up, Melbournites are spoiled for choice every weekend.
Melbourne has everything from the noisiest of nightclubs with some of the world's hottest celeb musicians gracing the DJ decks, to the quiet pubs and bars for after-work drinks and hearty conversations with friends, or even strangers!
A typical nightclub event budget in Melbourne can range from 70-100 per head, depending on your AV, food and beverage requirements.
East of Everything
Camberwell is a quiet Melbourne neighbourhood, yet East of Just about everything is the only pub in the dry zone. They have windows on the third level that can be seen as the train pulls into Camberwell, so it's easy to spot, but don't let that deter you from making the trip. There are twelve different beers available on tap, a Tex-Mex food with a southern flair, and stunning views of the city, and if that weren't enough, there's a secret cocktail bar named BarNone located downstairs.
Loch And Key
Locked away behind a bookcase in Melbourne's oldest bluestone pub, Captain Melville, you'll find the low-key bar Loch and Key, which has an air reminiscent of an exclusive gentlemen's club. Even if you don't think of yourself as a gentleman, you should still stop by and try. The Thistle cocktail (Amaro Podgorica, rye, calvados, PX whiskey, Angostura bitters, lemon juice).
The oldest bar in town is hiding something. In the Captain Ishmael tavern, Loch and Key have taken refuge up a rickety staircase, hidden behind a bookcase. A battered peacock-blue sofa and deep wooden banquettes add to the room's elegant ambience, which also features rich timbers, hanging deer heads, a wide deck with salvaged coffee tables. The seasonal special, possibly a smokey and zesty mix of mezcal, Solerno, and blood orange juice, is written on a blackboard menu. If none of those seem appealing, you can always trust the knowledgeable bartenders to serve you a tasty beverage, whether you're in the mood for an Americano or even a craft brew.
While the late-night crowd that fills Loch and Key's couch-filled maze of rooms is what draws the most attention, the place is just as enjoyable in the evening, when the sun begins to seep onto the terrace and the electronic music gives way to '70s funk.
Arts majors, rejoice: here at last is a venue where your studies of communism with postmodern culture can find concrete expression. A wall dividing the wealthy west from the poor east is just one of the many authentic touches at Berlin Bar. Comfortable booths may be found on the western side, while the eastern side features damaged boxes and dummy grenades. Naturally, all the beverages have a Berlin angle as well. To relax, order the house sangria at The Split States, or to go all out, try the Brandenburg Gate, which combines passionfruit & rhubarb with sweet whisky, citrous fruit, and faint undertones of absinthe and carrot.
Fall From Grace
When you know where to look, locating Fall from Grace is much less difficult than you may imagine. Finding this bar is as easy as locating the sliding bookcase inside the State of Grace, then descending an exquisite spiral staircase.
The Grace state is more than just a pretty face. There is a rooftop bar, in addition to the secret bar beneath. Make your journey from floor to floor for a wonderful atmosphere on every level. Get the night started off right by grabbing a bite to eat at the restaurant on the first floor before heading to the bar.
Then, after exploring the rest of the building, head up to the rooftop to take in the cityscape.
Pizza Pizza Pizza
Pizza lovers from New York City don't have to go far to get a tasty pie, but if they happen to be in Melbourne, they should definitely check out Pizza Pizza Pizza, a pizza parlour and cocktail bar. The American-style restaurant offers both traditional pizzas like the magic mushroom and the triple cheese, as well as unique creations like the dessert pizza topped with white chocolate, chopped almonds, and vanilla ice-cream.
But 16 Meyers Place's attractiveness is only the beginning; behind the velvety black curtain sits an unnamed cocktail bar, illuminated only by a neon sign. Guests can look forwards to cosy booths and chairs, low lighting, a resident DJ, and a fantastic cocktail menu with options ranging from frozen pia coladas to homemade milkshakes. You only need to add bourbon.
House Of Correction
House in Correction is among Melbourne's best hidden bars, and it's located in Chinatown, just below the aforementioned Goldilocks Pub. The bar doesn't stand out in any way, shape, or form, making it another of Melbourne's best kept secrets. Instead, it's good in a no-frills way, like the spare wall markings in a hospital.
Whisky & Alement
Whisky & Alement employs some of the town's most skilled bartenders on staff to help you navigate the menu of more than a thousand whiskies. Tucked up on the upper level of a Russell Street building in the CBD, the bar is staffed by friendly, down-to-earth people who are happy to offer suggestions from the nearly encyclopaedic list of antique and valuable whiskies. You can get it straight up, mix it with a cocktail, or match it to one of their speciality beers. Try a dram straight from a barrel you and The Scotch Grain Whiskey Society worked on together for a really one-of-a-kind alcoholic beverage.
In spite of its central location, this East African Safari–themed cocktail bar is small and difficult to access, earning it a spot on the list of Melbourne's best-hidden bars. However, the cocktails are top-notch, so don't let the safari tent setting fool you.
Eau De Vie
Once upon a time, Eau de Vie was also one of those secret bars that required considerable effort to locate. Presently, it ranks among Melbourne's worst hidden secrets. It's no secret that the trend of the 1920s in the United States has long since passed, but the concept of the era hasn't altered. Since it is so successful at making its customers feel like they've stepped back in time, EDV remains one of the city's busiest cocktail bars.
The jazz music, the intimate booths, and the well-dressed waiters are all nice touches, but they aren't the only ones. As proof, EDV serves up some potent beverages with style. There is method to their apparent madness when it comes to serving drinks at table temperature using liquid nitrogen, lighting spirits on fire, or smoking at the table. With the addition of wood smoke, which is sealed under a glass dome when you order a Rob Roy, the already complex blend of whisky, rum, and vermouth takes on an even more enticing dimension. Noble Experiments are the adult equivalent of a pick-and-mix, with several vodkas, gins, bitters, rinses, and garnishes available for a traditional cocktail that may be made just how you like it
If you're in the mood for a dram of whisky, head over to the whisky lounge. As a tour guide and a compendium of all-time greats, this list is comprehensive and diverse in terms of the styles it covers. If you really like a certain whisky and want to have it at home, you can buy a bottle to take with you.
Ponyfish Island is a floating pub on the Yarra River, whereas the majority of Melbourne's speakeasies are only accessible by climbing flights of steps or navigating narrow alleyways. With only one stairway entrance in the midst of the Foot Bridge Southbank, Ponyfish Island is indeed the CBD's sanctuary for a sunset drink or beer.
Attractions include the riverfront, afternoon sun, & seasonal bar snacks including jaffles (toasted sandwich), cheese platters, tacos, and nachos, while the bar itself is pleasantly laid-back and basic. Customers at the bar can relax in the open air on repurposed shipping containers.
Dive Bar - The Newest Bar In Town
Learn about Dive Bar, Melbourne's hottest new speakeasy. Step inside and you'll find yourself surrounded by neon signs, bright street art, vintage details, and a "oh-so-chic" environment. Come on in and play a game of billiards for two on the flashy pink table. Try the Breakfast of Champions, a crazy concoction of froot loop, blueberries, banana, coconut milk, and vodka, while perched on a soft velvet stool at the bar. There is a wide variety of delicious munchies available, in addition to the wine, beer, cider, and high-end spirits. Take in the rich purple and blue furnishings against the rich hardwood floors and colourful accents. Pick some tunes off the old jukebox that you really dig. Rest easy at Melbourne's newest hotspot.
The only way to reach the rum cocktail lounge in the rear of a little sandwich store is to rip open the refrigerator door, which may appear impolite to the unfamiliar. Similarly, entering Jungle Boy (behind Boston Sub) for the a drink is like entering a portal that transports you from the hustle and bustle of Windsor to a quaint corner of the tropics.
A Tiger Spritz, the lengthy, chilly offspring of grapefruit & maraschino Daiquiri, and Italy's favourite afternoon refresher, can be enjoyed here from a bar stool. To perk yourself up and cool off, try the B Bizzle Swizzle, which combines rum, lime, falernum, and nutmeg with a tonne of ice. Snacks like sandwiches and poutine don't really fit into the theme, but chips, gravy, and cheese are always a good idea. In this country, everyone is just out for a good time.
The Attic At Black Pearl
The Attic, located above the famed Black Pearl pub in Melbourne, is known for its sophisticated atmosphere (think leather chairs & candlelight), expert bartenders, and the fact that it provides a sultry refuge from the throngs of patrons at the famous Fitzroy bar below on busy nights.
New Gold Mountain
A secret entrance on New Gold Mountain must be found before anyone can enter. Keep an eye for the red and green if you do not even know where to look. This former alterations shop is quite protective of its anonymity.
Once you reach the upper level, you'll be transported to a hidden Victorian era. Imagine a dark, smoke-filled saloon from the 19th century where illegal betting took place. This allure survives to this day, albeit without the gambling and smoking.
Immerse yourself in some ancient culture while sipping on cocktails deserving of their illustrious moniker. A genuine rarity that visitors simply must see.
Goldilocks is a cabin in the centre of Melbourne's Chinatown that serves as a secret bar, albeit you'll need to know the area in order to find it. Get out on the roof terrace for the whole experience, especially after sunset, and then head up to the little cottage of a bar on the fourth story.
Despite the city's reputation for making its patrons jump through hoops, Melbourne does have some stunning watering holes. With a plethora of establishments celebrating the underground speakeasy culture, the term "underground" surely reverberates around the neighbourhoods when discussing the hippest spots to visit. Furthermore, many of these establishments are subterranean, alluding to the second sense in which the term is used.
There are countless speakeasies and dives tucked away in the alleys, basements, and lofts of Melbourne's central business district. However, we've done the sleuthing for you, so you don't have to be Holmes Holmes too figure things out. We have investigated every nook and cranny of Melbourne to bring you a list of the finest speakeasies you will find hidden away.
Everyone is welcome in Melbourne's eclectic café scene. Many people have fallen in love with Easey's, a burger joint built out of repurposed trams and trains from the 1990s. There is a hidden gem in town called One Plus Piece Cafe, and its decor is all about Japanese manga and anime. The Alice Nivens Cafe is the Most Famous Fantasy Restaurant in the World. Flipboard Cafe, which many Melbourne residents have frequented after becoming lost in a rabbit hole, has nearly exclusively wooden furnishings and decor. The cafe's eponymous boat inspired the design of the cafe's seating and tables, which are hinged.
We consider the 29th Apartment the ultimate hangout and visit it as much as possible. The original coffee smuggler is honoured by the moniker of Brother Baba Budan. Some of the more unusual items in the 29th Apartment include a Kelvinator refrigerator from the 1970s and a lava lamp from the 1960s. When you visit Operator 25, it's like being transported to a similar era's telephone switching office. The Marche Board Game Cafe is not simply a great place to have a bite to eat, but also a relaxing hangout spot.
Some of the most photogenic cafes in Melbourne include the Austen Tea Room, Matcha Mylkbar, and Shane's Cafe. Posters from the 1996 BBC rendition of Pride and Prejudice decorate the cafe, which is a nice escape from the rest of the world.
- The eclectic café scene in Melbourne caters to a wide range of clientele, including those with a penchant for the bizarre.
- Melbourne is home to a number of unique cafes, with decor ranging from vintage elegance to a fantastical paradise.
- Cafes in Melbourne with a Unique Theme
- The city of Melbourne is becoming known as a centre for offbeat restaurants, thanks to the proliferation of themed cafés.
- Melbourne's flair for the unusual is reflected in its many themed eateries.
- This article lists our favourite speciality coffee shops in Melbourne, Australia.
- For its part, Easey's Easey has won over many fans with its throwback burger restaurant, which is housed in repurposed trams and trains from the 1990s.
- The One Plus Piece Cafe, located in Balwyn, is a hidden gem with a decor based on Japanese comics and anime.
- Take a journey down the rabbit hole and into Alice Niven's imagination.
- This cafe has an endearing appeal thanks to its black and white tile floors, outdoor tables, and wonderful picture showing Alice in Wonderland.
- The Alice Nivens Cafe is the Most Famous Fantasy Restaurant in the World. Flinders Street Station in Melbourne is a frequent destination after a visit to the rabbit hole.
- In other words, Alice in Wonderland fans have arrived.
- The surrounding office building may be chaotic, but this cafe is an oasis and haven.
- We were really pleased with the breakfast and lunch options, as well as the desserts.
- Cafe Flipboard A cafe at the very end of La Trobe Street, decorated almost entirely in wood, makes great use of the limited space provided.
- With a friend or loved one, you may unwind here over a cup of excellent coffee.
- There's a cafe run by Larry David. To the fans of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm (production on the ninth season has begun!)
- Eternal Brother Baba Budan There's a line of people in suits that stretches out into the street, and the smell of freshly brewed coffee is enough to make anyone want to join them.
- Named after the first coffee smuggler in history, this modest gem of a café is quickly becoming famous.
- Once known as Katie, the notorious St. Kilda street performer-turned-aspiring artist once resided in the apartment now known as the 29th Apartment.
- After Jack Kerouac and Sid Vicious moved into the Chelsea Hotel, Katie made Apartment 29 her own.
- They just don't make 'em like they used to, but the Kelvinator refrigerator in the 29th Apartment is a popular tourist attraction.
- Cafe Cats Without a doubt, one of Melbourne's finest restaurants is the Cat Cafe.
- Delight in the companionship of many cats, all of which are occupied on the cat-shelf walkways.
- Due to rules set forth by the Council, a cat cafe must stick to a strict menu.
- The feline's happiness and well-being come first.
- Position 25 Operator Operator 25 is located in an old building, so going there is like visiting a telephone exchange from the early 20th century.
- Cafe du Jeu de Paume de Marche No matter how many people you have over for a party, you can always find something to keep them occupied with the wide selection of board games available.
- In addition to a collection of board games, guests have access to a private karaoke area packed with today's most popular songs in English, Chinese, Korean, and even that language.
- The Marche Board Game Cafe is a terrific spot for any kind of get-together because it's not simply a restaurant but also a relaxing location to spend time with good company.
- Shane's cuisine is an infusion of his Middle Eastern background and American cooking techniques.
- A Tea Party in Jane Austen's Tea Parlor The inspiration for the Austen Tea Room came from three of Jane Austen's books: Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice.
- The decor of this vegetarian eatery is reminiscent of a modern Zen garden, making diners feel at ease.
- Matcha Mylkbar's simple industrial chic interior makes it a standout among other potential Instagrammable spots (very hipster).
- These Are Melbourne's Most Instagrammable Cafes It's well-known that Melbourne is the best place in Australia to get a cup of speciality coffee.
- This trendy new hangout in Albert Park contains artwork and a coffee machine in the trendy millennial pink colour scheme that was popularised by photographer Slim Aarons.
- This café, which was established and is located in the heart of Melbourne, Australia, has a beautiful '80s-influenced aesthetic, complete with pastel colours and an abundance of natural light, which has no doubt inspired countless Instagram photos from you.
- An Empty Pot on the Stove This coffee shop's "instagrammable" quality is demonstrated by the fact that it has 71,300 followers on Instagram.
- Superior Terrain Perfect for snapping images to share on social media, this café features 15-meter ceilings and a spacious mezzanine that looks out over the lively ground floor below.
- Rustica We're grateful that there are five locations in and around Melbourne where you can get the delicious bread this bakery is known for.
- In the Como Stables This rustic cafe and events facility is housed in the old home's stables, and it serves as a perfect jumping off point for a picnic in the property's lovely grounds.
- Laboratory of Sensation The Collins Avenue location is styled like a contemporary American diner, but the remainder of the café maintains a soothing minimalism that goes excellent with the high quality of the coffee they offer.
- The name "Bawa" comes from Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, who was responsible for the idea of plant-based interior design elements that make this beautiful Hawthorn café so incredibly instagrammable.
- The beautiful views of the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne make this a great place for a ladies' lunch.
- Fitzroy's Grub While most of Melbourne's buildings feature gritty brick walls and heated industrial interiors, Grub Fitzroy has a pleasant outside area, ideal for a midday pick-me-up.
- No.19 The white, airy interior of No.19 Café is almost as well-known as the excellent fare served there.
- Biasol, a well-respected firm based in Melbourne, was responsible for the café's design.
- Cafe au lait This Italian restaurant and cafe is a local favourite thanks to its stylish ambience, perfect for anything from a morning croissant and coffee to a festive dinner with the whole family.
- Burns, Kitty Kitty Burns is a combination of Kitty Minogue's and Alma Burns' names, both of whom were influential in the culinary world.
- Commercial Lentils It's not hard to understand why this Fitzroy cafe was named the best-constructed café in the UK at the 2014 International Café Awards; the building has a warehouse-like aesthetic and is situated in a busy, colourful area covered with graffiti.