Flinders Lane is synonymous with all things food and drink, and is arguably Melbourne’s best go-to dining destination. Its cobblestone pavement is always busy with people queuing for restaurants and bars – how very Melbourne – or those merely taking a stroll absorbing all the sites and smells of Melbourne’s beautiful CBD.
If you’re after a straight forward, self-organised bar crawl, you need not look any further than Melbourne’s most iconic laneway. This street is a one stop shop for all your drinking (and dining) needs and to help your adventure, we have compiled for you a little map of sorts to follow. Try one or try them all! This list has something for everyone.
1 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD
Start the night off at this awesome hangout on the corner of Flinders Lane and Spring street. Hihou is a little hard to find, so look for the black unmarked door with a doorbell which you need to buzz to get inside.
The Japanese inspired bar offers traditional drinks such as sake and plum wine and their beer also carries many Japanese beers. Even the cocktails have an Asian twist!
Guests can opt for bar seating, table seating, or tatami – the traditional Japanese seating style where you take your shoes off and sit cross legged at a low table.
Drink to Try: For a Japanese spin on a classic drink, try “Negro-Kan” – gin infused with dried Japanese plums, Campari and Mikan – mandarin-infused umsehu (Japanese liquor made from steeping ume fruits in alcohol).
91-93 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD
Fortunately, the next stop is sticking with the ambient theme and is the perfect wine bar where you can enjoy some quiet drinks. Named after one of the greatest female detective writers in the world, Mary Fortune pays homage to the renowned writer with an intimate space where all the cocktails on the menu have been inspired by the titles of her books.
Enjoy a bottle of wine with friends (or by yourself) in this writers den that comes complete with a marble bar and chandeliers. Nibblies are available if you so desire.
Drink to Try: Play the part, slide up to the bar, look mysterious and whisper “Checkmate & Revenge” – vodka, Kahlua, crème de cacao, vanilla, chilli and chocolate bitters.
Garden State Hotel
101 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD
The 4 level pub that was literally the talk of the town and had people lining up for hours has only been open for less than a year and continues to be one of the most buzzing establishments on the famous Flinders Lane strip.
Enter Garden State’s beautiful public bar that feels very upper class with stone bar tops, exposed brick walls and a large double-sided gas log fireplace for those cold winter nights. Take a spot at the bar seats or at one of the many booths around if you’re with a large group.
Out the back is the beer garden complete with vines and greenery giving that proper garden oasis vibe. If you’re feeling a little bit fancy, you can head to “The Rose Garden”, a saloon style cocktail bar with a seasonal cocktail menu and a selection of signature cocktails.
Garden State Hotel is a real gem in amongst the busy CBD.
Drink to Try: Feeling a little bit Rock n Roll? Try “AC/DC Fix” – Rosemary and Thyme infused Olmeca Reposado, Yellow Chartreuse, Lime and Pineapple.
125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD
The newly refurbished Chin Chin’s and its basement bar, GoGo Bar, is the next stop on this bar crawl. Head down the dark stairs and emerge into the mysterious den, complete with red neon lights to set the mood.
Enjoy cocktails with a twist of south East Asian ingredients while you bop along to hip-hop, r&b and 90s jams.
Drink to Try: Have a taste of Asia with “Candied Ginger” – Preserved ginger infused Japanese whisky, lemon, honey, aromatic bitters, egg white and peated whisky.
1/252 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD
Not only is Lustre bar an amazing cocktail bar but they also offer specialty desserts. Cocktails and chocolate? So much “yes!”
Lustre Bar is located upstairs with a cute balcony that opens up and overlooks Flinders Lane so you can watch the world go by whilst sipping on your beverage of choice. The intimate venue offers a laid back, unpretentious atmosphere that’s a great place to sit and chat and enjoy a cocktail or cake… (or both…go one, we won’t judge).
Drink to Try: A classic drink, Long Island Iced Tea, with a twist, “Lustrous Crusher” – Vodka, Gin, Bacardi, Cointreu, Champagne and Cranberry Juice.
A juxtaposition to Lustre Bar, The Mill House will find you in a cave-like space beneath street level, with big booths providing seating around the perimeter. There is a selection of drinks such as wine, beer and cocktails, but the most exciting thing about this place is the Moonshine. Yes, that’s right, have some moonshine in an underground bricked cellar and pretend you’re living through the Prohibition!
This space turns into a dance floor later in the night until the early hours of the morning, with a line-up of awesome DJs every Friday and Saturday night. I guess you’re set, your bar crawl can end here for the night. Everything is coming up Milhouse! (Ugh, I couldn’t resist)
Drink to Try: Moonshine for dayz! “Blueberry Moonshine” is really calling out to me, so is “Apple Pie Moonshine” or “Firecracker Moonshine”… you know what, try them all!
335 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD
If you’re not keen on dancing the night away, keep trucking on to Bartonica. Here you’ll fine beers, video games, cocktails and a garden. That’s all you need to know. You’re set.
Bartronica is a hidden bar filled to the brim with vintage arcade games. There is a choice of free-play or coin operated machines. There is something for everyone here, from really rare games to Nintendo 64 for group gaming, but if that’s not your thing, you can pop out into the beer garden to relax.
The cocktail menu adorns names like “Delorean” or “Diddy Kong” if you need help getting into the gaming spirit. Beers and wines are also served.
Drink to Try: If you love a good pun, try “Arcade-o-lada” – Fresh Pineapple, BeenLeigh Rum, Coconut and Pineapple Juice (can you see what they did there?)
By Indah Da Silva
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