The ultimate concrete jungle where dreams are made, well nightmares since we’re still trying to figure out its endless laneways and confusing grid system, but one that is filled with restaurants to satisfy the ‘hangry’ beast in all of us and enough bars to keep drinking in until April next year…
An assault on the senses the minute you step off the tram or walk out of the car park you spent way too much money on, the CBD has everything you didn’t even realise you wanted to do. Whether that’s having a picnic in the Royal Botanical Gardens, enjoying a glass of wine by the Yarra or attacking the nearest dumpling house, Melbourne city has it all!
Come explore the playground that’s filled with so much more than corporate skyscrapers, and enjoy our list of bars perfect for a mid-week-wine-lunch or a messy don’t-remember-that-night-much evening.
You can thank us later.
Garden State Hotel
101 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD
A popular favourite for after-work drinks, the Garden State Hotel boasts not one, not two but four levels of bars featuring an underground bar called the Rose garden as well as a beer garden and public bar, where the international wine list is exceptional.
With exposed brick walls, cascading seating zones surrounded in greenery, and an impressive large-sided gas-log fireplace, this is the perfect place to go if you want to kick back and watch the footy or catch up with friends on a night out.
The extensive cocktail menu curated by professionals offers a dynamic combination of both classic and signature cocktails, ensuring that by the end of the night you’ll have had so much fun you’ll still be ordering Garden State spritzes in your dreams.
Magic Mountain Saloon
62 Little Collins Street, Melbourne CBD
The Magic Mountain Saloon is exactly what it sounds like, full of fantastical cocktails and contemporary Thai cuisine set against a three level backdrop towering over Little Collins street.
Set out in a warehouse style venue, the vibrant red neon signs and accompanying mood lighting seem to follow you around as you sip on the extensive cocktail menu, all leading to an atmospheric experience like no other.
This place is even perfect to get the dance vibes flowing with DJs playing seven nights a week, whilst also providing multiple seating options for that time between 1-2am where not even the many delicious alcoholic beverages you’ve consumed during the night can stop your feet from hurting.
212 Little Collins Street, Melbourne CBD
Melbourne’s newest cocktail and cuisine hot spot gets its name from Maui’s Hana highway in Hawaii, offering a complete tropical oasis right in the middle of the CBD, allowing for the allusive weekend getaway that you deserve.
Focusing on tiki cocktails with names like ‘Twin Falls Junglebird’ and ‘Honolua Bay Sharknado’, Hana strikes the right combination of tropical and trendy with bamboo and gold detailing set against the pink hue of a neon sign that reads ‘I just fell in love with a prawnstar’.
But be careful, spend too much time in this place and you might just find yourself booking a flight to Hawaii and telling your friends you know how to surf.
Cabinet Bar & Balcony
11 Rainbow Alley, Melbourne CBD
Hovering just high enough to make you feel superior but not too high that you can be mistaken for an unidentified flying object, Cabinet Bar & Balcony overlooks Swanston Street where you can people watch to your heart’s content.
With European accents reminiscent of Parisian street cafes, this place is perfect for a catch up with friends or a relaxed Sunday session, enjoying cocktails and delicious wines in either the main bar area or the balcony.
Accompany your choice of drink with a wide selection of tapas available to suit your every mood and watch the world go by one tram at a time.
Rooftop at QT
11/133 Russell Street, Melbourne CBD
Set against a dazzling city skyline, the Rooftop at QT is the place to see and be seen. From its incredible views to its sophisticated décor, this bar will have you feeling like a million dollars and will almost definitely help you play out your Bond movie fantasy.
Sip champagne from the extensive wine and cocktail list, listen to the music being played and let your worries slip away amidst the soft chaise like seating and under the cool blue florescent lights hiding pops of green and wooden accents.
A perfect place to take that special someone or to celebrate an occasion, the Rooftop at QT will far from disappoint but be warned, once here you might not want to leave.
The Mill House
277-279 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD
Built in 1851, The Mill House’s charm comes from its rich history and the even richer colours and atmosphere that bombard the senses once you make your way underground.
This late night venue boasts eclectic taste, with a mix of neon lighting, soft candlelight, exposed brick and both bar-like and booth seating to bring you a unique experience you’ll be in no hurry to forget.
The possibility of late night mischief and electrifying adventure go hand in hand with this lively drinking spot, and explains the reason why it’s remained so popular, even after 166 years.
2/267 Little Collins Street, Melbourne CBD
Think funky patterned textiles, wooden and woven accents, colourful glass pendant lights and an all-round feeling of being in a secluded yet bustling part of Africa, and that my friends, is Glamp.
Located in the heart of the CBD, this watering hole remains one of the city’s best hidden treasures with its life-size rhino greeting you at the door, just make sure you don’t have too much fun that you accidentally try to take him home with you, and its beautifully draped canvas tent interior.
Enjoy classic cocktails such as the Espresso Martini, or try something a little different with a Jungle Juice or a Glamping Aviation. If cocktails aren’t your thing there is also an extensive spirit and wine menu. Can’t decide? Best to have a bit of everything.
By Kate Gazzard