Melbourne / Eat & Drink / Best Bars in Melbourne: The Hottest Bar Openings of 2019

Best Bars in Melbourne: The Hottest Bar Openings of 2019

Oh-so cool watering holes that demand your attention, these are the Melbourne bars to know about

Bar Margaux

Even though we're a loyal bunch when it comes to our local watering hole, every Melbournian is still always on the look out for the next best bar to try out. From hidden underground treasures, to European-inspired wine bars and rooftop bars, we spent 2019 sipping our way through the coolest hot spots, to give you our fave picks. If you haven't already, make sure you lock in some time to check out our pick of the best bars in Melbourne before 2020 comes to a close.

DECEMBER

Citizen
Citizen

It’s good beer, good food and good times at Citizen, a Japanese snack bar that’s quickly upped South Wharf’s cred. Neon signage beckons you into a comfortable, modern space that’s halfway between Scandi chic and Muji-like minimalism. To drink there are draught Asahi chilled to -2˚C, plus a snappy selection of easy-drinking brews, antipodean wines and cocktails with Japanese bent – picks include the plum blossom, a spritz made with umeshu, Aperol and soda and a jasmine tea and yuzu sour. Whatever you choose, it all goes down well with drink-friendly snacks like miso eggplant chips and barramundi wings dipped in seaweed mayo.

15 Dukes Walk, South Wharf 

The LuWow
The LuWow

For five raucous years, LuWOW was the place to go for tiki cocktails, kitschy décor and a night you couldn’t remember even if you tried. They shut up shop in 2016 when their Johnson St lease expired, but now they’re back in the CBD and wilder than ever. Expect boozy Mai Tais, Zombies and the Easter Island Iced Tea, which adds coconut tequila and blue curacao to the deadly five-shot original. Shimmy to surf rock, disco and blues amongst the fake plants and rattan ceilings, before sobering up with a plate of Jamaican fried chicken. 

212 Little Collins Street, Melbourne 

Wowee Zowee
Wowee Zowee

On the face of it, you might think that Wowee Zowee is just a typical fried chook and beer-loving dive bar, but there’s serious pedigree backing this new Mornington hotspot. Owned by Something For Kate drummer Clint Hyndman, Garagiste winemaker Cameron Marshall, Paringa Estate head chef Simon Tarlington and bar builder Craig Baum, they’ve created a cruisy go-to that feels immediately lived in with a bar handcrafted from recycled Tasmanian oak and warm fairy lights strung up above. Expect interesting wines, craft beers and breezy cocktails alongside killer fried chicken and thoughtful vegan snacks.

35 Main Street, Mornington

The Essendon Hotel
The Essendon Hotel

The Essendon Hotel, occupying the former Ginger Annie Space, is a bang-on trend contemporary pub with touches like a neon feature wall, gold finishes, and a 26-metre long terrazzo bar. It’s got a menu to match, of course, offering everything from canned shochu highballs and amaro spritzes to bottles of Chablis and 15-year-old single malt. If you’re not fancy, fret not, however, they’ll still do you a chicken parma and a pint of Carlton on tap.

914-918 Mt Alexander Road, Essendon

NOVEMBER

Old Palm Liquor
Old Palm Liquor

The team behind beloved retro-Euro spot Neighbourhood Wine have backed it up with another winner in Old Palm Liquor. This to Lygon Street bar boasts a comfortable, lived-in feel via panelled timber walls and vintage bar stools, while the open fireplace is sure to be competitive real estate next winter. There are 12 taps pouring a host of interesting local brewers, but the wine list is the main star – a powerhouse list covering every region and price point, with plenty of minimal intervention picks among them.

133B Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Byrdi

Byrdi marks the homecoming of drink innovators Luke Whearty and Aki Nishikura, best known for their Singaporean venture Operation Dagger (which was named the 23rd best bar in the world). You’ll feel every inch of that talent in the hyper-seasonal and local drinks at their new zen-filled bar, where ingredients are smoked, fermented and fortified in any number of combinations. At night there’s a menu of small plates, much of it cooked over a hibachi grill, plus cheeses from Maker & Monger, while by day, there’s simple brunch fare and pitch-perfect V60 pour-over coffee.

ELLA (Melbourne Central), Corner La Trobe and Swanston Streets, Melbourne 

Dessous
Dessous

A moody counterpart to refined restaurant Hazel upstairs, the 70-seater Dessous features dark green leather banquettes and a matching marble bar with brushed concrete softened by candlelight. It’s pitching itself as a place to linger in, with a 120-strong international wine list and ritzy four-ingredient cocktails that highlight flavour and technique over bells and whistles. Meanwhile, a continent hopping bar menu offers everything from spicy larb salad and pork belly sandos to saltbush lamb and seasonal fruit clafoutis.

Basement, 164 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Moondog
Moon Dog World

Where do we begin with Moon Dog World? The namesake craft brewery’s new 8000 square metres, 700 person capacity playground of drinking and eating. There’s the indoor tropical lagoon and waterfall, the hidden tiki bar, the shipping container full of pinball machines, the elevated sun decks… with endless nooks and crannies to explore, they’re guaranteeing a new experience every time you visit. But in case you forgot what you were here to do, there are 72 taps pouring everything from pine-lime IPAs and ‘barley champagne’ to Aperol spritzes and espresso martinis, while a wide-ranging menu offers tuna sashimi, corn dogs and vegan buffalo cauliflower in the same breath.

32-46 Chifley Drive, Preston

Rascal

Brunswick’s Rascal is a playful venue headed by Elliott Pinn, who’s spent time in the kitchens at fine diners Doot Doot Doot, Sepia and Flying Fish. As such, you can expect snacks that are both finely honed and experimental in nature, with plates like kingfish with blueberry dashi and carrots roasted in mead and bee pollen. The spacious, red-bricked space boasts a wine rack hidden under the stairs and plenty of booths to cosy up in as you make your way through their wide-ranging list of old and new world wines, spritzes, highballs and craft beers.

341 Sydney Road, Brunswick 

OCTOBER

Essie Wine Bar
Essie Wine Bar

A former music school has transformed into Malvern’s coolest neighbourhood wine bar, a warm and inviting space with American oak tables, exposed brick walls and a generous courtyard outback. The floor-to-ceiling wine racks and fridges are stacked with minimal-intervention and small-batch producers from around Australia, plus a few special drops from old world wine regions. Open from daytime til late, it’s intended to be the kind of place you’d swing by for a casual tipple (and a sneaky jaffle).

35 Station Street, Malvern

Land of Plenty

It’s 100 per cent ‘strayan at Land of Plenty, a rooftop bar serving only local wines, beers and even spirits in on-theme cocktails like the Flamin’ Galah made with GGG Gin, rosella infusion and lemon myrtle syrup. The bar features a retractable roof for all-weather good times, while a cheeky wombat-themed mural by Australian artist LeGrizz stretches over the back wall.

2/188 Carlisle Street, St Kilda

Colour

Carlton’s getting in on the late-night revival with a 24-hour nightclub opening inside a building that’s got its own colourful history. Starting life in the 1800s as a church before housing a rotation of clubs in recent years. The 300-capacity venue will operate as a bar and bandroom from Tuesday to Thursday before amping up for the weekend all-nighters as their top of the line Funktion-One sound system supports a diverse lineup of artists.

229 Queensberry Street, Carlton

Frédéric and Fred’s Bar
Frédéric and Fred’s Bar

Cremorne’s hotspot for spritzes and modern European is actually two venues in one. First, there’s Fred’s, a relaxed all-day wine bar that starts the day with croque monsieurs and ends it with oysters and eye fillets. Then, right next door, is Frédéric, a sleek 70-seat bistro characterised by plush booths and marble bars that are serving experimental dishes like manchego mousse mille feuille and caramelised pork terrine. Whichever route you choose, rest assured they’ll be pouring an extensive selection of old and new world wines alongside craft beers, spritzes on tap and summery house cocktails like chamomile and strawberry sours.

9-11 Cremorne Street, Cremorne

Pepe’s Italian & Liquor
Pepe’s Italian & Liquor

The heritage red brick building that was until recently home to office knockoff favourite, Trunk Bar has transformed into Pepe’s Italian & Liquor, a stylish venue inspired by the late-night bars and Italian diners of New York. Owner Nick Kutcher has taken a gamble with this refresh, but it’s paid off in a moody space you’ll want to linger in. Checkered floors and cosy burgundy banquettes your surroundings for classic cocktails and house specialties like apple ‘pie-tini’s and burnt popcorn Manhattans. To eat, it’s comforting Italian-American all the way with dishes like a four-cheese baked gnocchi and share-size veal parmigianas.

275 Exhibition Street, Melbourne 

SEPTEMBER

Mister Sandrino
Mister Sandrino

Combining a kitchen, wine store and deli, Mister Sandrino is the type of bar every neighbourhood wishes it had. Lightwoods and exposed brick give the place an effortlessly cosy feel as locals tuck into Euro-leaning snacks, such as grilled sobrasada laced with pepper and honey or tarama dip tricked up with pearls of finger lime and roe. Accordingly, the wine list mixes fine local drops with big hitters from the old world – French chablis, Tuscan sangiovese and Spanish tempranillo among them. Best of all, if you fall in love with anything you try, you can pick up a bottle to take home.

219 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn

Bodriggy Brewing Co
Bodriggy Brewing Co

Craft makers Bodriggy Brewing Co have opened their own brewpub, a generous 400-person warehouse space that still feels cosy, is dog-friendly and sports a Latin American menu that’s worth the trip alone. Indoor greenery comes by way of a centrepiece tree reaching up to the rafters, under which punters sidle up in banquettes, booths and tables to sink session-able and experimental brews alongside cocktails like rum-spiked horchatas. To eat, you’ll find crispy empanadas, zingy ceviches and smoky asado made for group feasting.

245 Johnston Street, Abbotsford

Bourke Street Green
Bourke Street Green

Melbourne’s newest bar nestled in the heart of the city, Bourke Street Green is an oasis in the concrete jungle where you can explore and taste your way through everything local.  Bourke Street Green stays regional with menus featuring drinks and bites from across Victoria, introducing unexpected twists to modern classics. From gin-infused watermelon to arancini flights paired with locally brewed beers, Bourke Street Green delivers new pairings that hero the very best of Melbourne and Victoria. The venue includes what is perhaps Bourke Street Green’s most distinctly Melbournian feature: a retractable roof for the outdoor courtyard bar, creating a year-round, modern, light-filled gathering place.

501 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD

Tetto Di Carolina

South Yarra gets a classy cocktail bar in Tetto Di Carolina, located above its much-loved sister restaurant Bar Carolina. It’s a little world of luxury with table service and soft jazz on the speakers. Over the wide walnut bar, they’re passing primo wines and sophisticated cocktails like The American Beauty with Select aperitivo, vermouth, strawberry-jasmine syrup and prosecco. Bar snacks lean Italian but aren’t afraid of a riff, with pine-smoked mussels and scallop carpaccio with honey fermented yuzu making an appearance.

48 Toorak Road, South Yarra 

Handsome Bar
Handsome Bar

Handsome, a moody subterranean spot tucked away at the end of Bligh Place, boasts lush, dark green walls, mirror tables and velvet chairs. At this completely vegan bar you’ll see aquafaba in place of egg white foam on cocktails, while otherwise common bar snacks like sausage rolls and french onion dip get transformed into completely plant-based creations. They aren’t afraid to push the boundaries with drinks either, shaking up cocktails like a PB&J whiskey number and mixing beetroot brine with gin, ginger and lemon juice.

13 Bligh Place, Melbourne

Attria
Attria

Buzzy Swan St is home to Attria, an intimate wine bar that lends itself perfectly to date nights and catch-ups with close friends. An extensive wine list skips around the Antipodes and reaches far into the fine drops of Europe and the Americas, while a dedicated menu of champagne cocktails keep things fun. Similarly impressive is the kitchen offering, a combination of elegant slick Euro share plates and more casual late-night supper snacks.

107-109 Swan Street, Richmond

AUGUST

Casa Nom Bar
Casa N.O.M

Mezcal, that other drink distilled from the agave plant, is getting its well overdue time in the sun with a Prahran bar devoted to championing it. Casa N.O.M offers a dedicated menu of mezcals that will open your eyes to smoky spirit’s endless potential, along with South American wines and punchy house cocktails like the Scorpion Reef, which blends mezcal with rum, fresh pineapple, lemon, orgeat, mole chocolate and bitters. The bar menu is similarly Latin-leaning, featuring dishes like blue corn chilaquiles, plantain croquettes and quesadillas that will go a long way to soaking up all that mezcal.

110 Greville Street, Prahran 

The Wood Samaritan
The Wood Samaritan

The Wood Samaritan, a Canadian log cabin-inspired bar, is warming up Brunswick East. You’ll feel like you’ve just stepped into a cosy ski chalet, with their wood-panelled ceilings and décor filled with kitschy trinkets like paintings of fish, a pair of ice skates and wall-mounted antlers. The North American theme extends to the drinks list too, with tipples including a PB&J bourbon Negroni, pumpkin spice old fashioned and the classic bloody caesar.

140 Lygon Street, Brunswick East 

Bar Margaux

Bar Margaux has all the makings of an instant classic. Dreamt up by the crew behind The Everleigh and Heartbreaker, it’s a basement bar inspired by the French brasseries of New York, serving classic cocktails and bistro fare until 5am. Vintage-inspired red leather banquettes, black and white subway tiles and dim lighting snatch away all sense of time as you keep the orders rolling, from oysters and Champagne to lobster Croque monsieurs and Manhattans.

111 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Mono-XO

A “charcoal and rock’n’roll bar” by a co-owner of CBD darling Romeo Lane and a former Momofuku Seiobo chef – to say the anticipation for Mono-XO’s opening has been high would be an understatement. Expect plenty of skewered dishes that are small in size but high on smoky, spicy, salty and punchy flavours, with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. They promise a small, dark space heaving with loud music and good times that’ll be whiled away drinking refreshing highballs, sake and natural wine.

191A Smith Street, Fitzroy

Radar
Radar

Put this on your radar – the former site of legendary CBD club Lounge has landed in good hands. Those hands belong to the team behind Melbourne institutions Section 8, The B.East and Ferdydurke, who’ve upgraded the lights and sound systems, reclad the bar and reopened it as Radar, promising a wide program of music featuring everything from electronic and dance to funk and hip-hop. Unlike most clubs, they’ll be staying away from big corporate contracts, instead, serving local craft brews, organic wines and proper cocktails. 

243 Swanston Street, Melbourne

JULY

Bimbo
Bimbo

Bimbo’s back, baby. When fire ripped through the beloved Fitzroy disco-pub our hearts broke into a million pizza-shaped pieces, but luckily, Bimbo 2.0 is better than ever. The space has been modernised with the funk dialled up even further, with pink fibreglass booths, some seriously wild wall art, rainbow disco lights and even a DJ booth fitted into an old plane. Rest easy though. What hasn’t changed are the $4 pizza specials, infused vodkas and guaranteed good times. Long live Bimbo.

Corner Rose Street and Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 

Lord Lygon
Lord Lygon

This elegant wine shop and bar is actually an addendum to boutique hotel Zagame’s House, but with an 280-strong list, food by an ex-Vue de Monde chef and an airy-luxe lounge, it’s becoming a destination all its own. You’ll find a strong preference for the local and sustainable here, with lots of organic wines from Victorian producers, pre-batched cocktails from The Everleigh and craft beers from local breweries. To eat, you can build your own cheese and charcuterie board, or opt for the kitchen’s refined take on bar food – think beef burgundy puffs, chermoula John Dory and the unmissable garlic- and thyme-infused baked camembert.

66 Lygon Street, Carlton 

Jule's Karaoke Bar
Juke’s Karaoke Bar

Bigger is better at Juke’s, a ’70s and disco-themed karaoke bar from the people behind grown-up playgrounds Holey Moley and Archie Brothers. There are cocktails served in mirror balls, onion ring towers and giant pretzels to be enjoyed as you belt out all your favourite hits inside private karaoke rooms for up to 25 people. The decor’s straight out of an Austin Powers movie, full of kitschy patterns and rainbow glass.

Level 1, Metropol Precinct, Crown Melbourne, 1/8 Whiteman Street, Southbank

Bad Decisions
Bad Decisions

Make a smart choice and visit Bad Decisions, a neighbourhood bar from the folks behind hip-hop club Laundry Bar next door. The two-storey space has a dark, intimate feel replete with glowing neon signs, leather furniture and gold fixtures, while to drink there’s an eclectic mix of local craft beers alongside house cocktails categorised by “No Booze”, “Lil' Boozy” and “Boozy AF”. There’s everything from lemonade to punchy drinks like the Witching Hour, made with lychee liqueur, yellow Chartreuse, black Sambuca and anise.

46 Johnston Street, Fitzroy

The Oxford Scholar
The Oxford Scholar

In its previous life The Oxford Scholar was best known as a somewhat rough-around-the-edges (but always reliable) watering hole for CBD locals and RMIT students, but these days it’s a much more sleek affair. The historic pub has been given a sweeping makeover, reopening under new management after turning off its taps in 2017. You’ll now find a modern interior, new dining spaces and even a plant-filled courtyard for sunny days. It’s still a casual, budget-friendly affair, but with an added sheen on pub grub fare, with options like poke bowls, seafood souvlaki and Korean beef ribs sitting alongside your classic parmas and burgers. 

427 Swanston Street, Melbourne 

JUNE

Photo Credit - Agostino

Agostino

It’s been a long wait – over three years – for Agostino, the refined wine bar that’s sister to King & Godfree next door and Johnny’s Green Room upstairs. You’ll quickly see it’s been well worth it. They’ve kitted out the place like an upmarket version of the classic Italian enoteca, with wood and marble tabletops, a concrete terrazzo floor and neutral leather banquettes. And just like in Italy it’s an all-day affair, open from noon to late for cheffy, Northern-influenced dishes like maccheroni in vodka tomato cream and seafood brodetto followed by dainty semifreddos and millefoglie. To drink, you can pick up a bottle from the shop next door and bring it in for corkage, or take a punt on their 200-strong list of continent-hopping drops.

297 Lygon St, Carlton

High Bar
High Bar

Faithfully recreating the jazz bars of 1930s Manhattan, Windsor’s High Bar channels strong Great Gatsby  vibes, from the art deco wallpapers and sparkling chandeliers to the plush velvet chairs and chrome detailing. With winter now upon us High Bar makes a strong play for Melbourne’s cosying needs, offering classic cocktails by candlelight and live cabaret and jazz on the weekends. They have a strong wine and spirits list too, accompanied by a bar menu of cheese, snacks and woodfired pizza.

67 Green St, Windsor 

Photo Credit - Edwin Wine Bar
Edwin Wine Bar and Cellar

A distinct Victorian flavour characterises both the menu and drinks list at Southbank wine bar Edwin, where drops are sourced from the Yarra to Macedon, the Mornington Peninsula to Rutherglen and everywhere in between. Signature cocktails continue the local theme, incorporating native ingredients in tipples like pepperberry spritzes and their strawberry ‘gumlet’, while the menu comprises pared-back modern Australian shareplates that showcase produce, whether that’s in Port Phillip sardines on dark rye or lush, slow-cooked Gippsland lamb served with smoked labne and saltbush.

308-320 City Rd, Southbank 

Photo Credit - Budgie Bar
Budgie Bar

The eastern suburbs have scored themselves a neighbourhood cocktail bar in Budgie, where they’re mixing up next-level concoctions like espresso martinis topped with gingerbread cream, white chocolate piña coladas and tom kha margaritas. The warehouse conversion, which overlooks a classic car showroom, translates to a relaxed, spacious place to catch up with friends over pizza and antipasto, with regular live music and DJ sets on the cards.

1/166 Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood

MAY

Photo Credit - East End Wine Bar
East End Wine Bar, Hawthorn East

The front half of the historic Young’s Auction House has been reincarnated into an inviting, modern wine bar and shop. The heritage building’s exposed brickwork remains, imbuing the place with a rustic edge, but now you’ll find new timber finishings, peppy graphic art on the walls and a courtyard with a retractable roof. They’re pouring wines from across the globe to share over charcuterie boards and stone fired pizzas. Best of all, if you like what you try, you can easily buy a bottle to take home.

225 Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn East

Photo Credit - Future Mountain Brewing and Blending
Future Mountain Brewing and Blending

Those with an interest in more adventurous beer drinking should put Future Mountain high on their list. For drinks with a twist, they experiment with barrel ageing and mixed fermentation to create rousing American-style sours and yeasty farmhouse-inspired ales. At their sprawling warehouse brewery and taproom you can see the open fermentation room in action and sit among the barrels as you work your way through the taps. To eat, there’s a short but snappy selection of pies, sausage rolls and flatbreads from A1 bakery.

703-707 Plenty Rd, Reservoir 

Photo Credit - Thataboy Wine Bar
Thataboy Wine Bar

Thataboy is pouring over 50 drops from across the new and old worlds, with even a few pocket-friendly bottles sneaking in under the $30 mark. Here, patrons also have the freedom of building their own cheese and charcuterie boards with anywhere from a single wedge to the ‘Thatabigboy’ board packed with salami, bresaola, prosciutto, roquefort, lingot and cheverano.

19 Katherine Pl, Melbourne

Photo Credit - Baia di Vino

Baia di Vino

Bringing a little bit of the Mediterranean to Sandringham is Baia di Vino, who carry their ethos quite literally in their name’s meaning of “wine bay”. Banquette seating and wide front windows offer a sweeping vista of the ocean, while tiled floors and marble tops double up on the European feel. The appropriately seafood-tilting menu offers up fresh bites like fregola stuffed calamari and squid ink ravioli, which sing out to be paired with a crisp white from their globetrotting wine list.

1 Melrose St, Sandringham 

Photo Credit - Nastys
Nasty’s

A quick spin at Nasty’s will quickly reveal that it’s anything but – rather, this laidback dive bar is a prime hangout spot for Thornbury’s locals. The slender, cosy bar is rife with personality thanks to owner Nick Matheson self-styled room of “upcycled” vintage finds, which include a chair made of old Saab seats and a table constructed from skateboards. Settle into one of their cosy rooms or out in the courtyard and make friend with their snappy but eclectic selection of spirits, beers and wine.

806 High St, Thornbury

APRIL

Photo credit- Ryan Noreiks
Fancy Free

Brought to you by a team of award-winning ex-Black Pearl bartenders, this cocktail slinging burger joint is one pop-up bar with serious pedigree. Serving technique-driven cocktails brimming with creativity, these guys aren’t afraid to experiment – say hello to fermentation and clarified milk – while fried chicken and loud music bolsters the bar’s good times cred.

381 Little Collins St, Melbourne

Photo Credit - Magnum + Queens Wine Bar
Magnum+ Queens Wine Bar

Boutique wine store Magnum + Queens is expanding their remit to include an in-house bar. With over a thousand wines to choose from, discover a diverse selection of rich, quality drops, spanning everything from French classics to new and edgy natural wines. With knowledgeable and friendly staff, it’s the perfect place to try before you buy, while enjoying bar snacks like tinned sardines on crostini, French cheese and spiced almonds.

2/274-278 Coventry St, South Melbourne 

Photo credit- FOMO Wine Bar
FOMO Wine Bar

Generous views of the Yarra and a weekly-changing menu makes the name of this uber-classy wine bar a self-fulfilling prophecy. The wine list spotlights antipodean drops ranging from Mudgee shiraz to Macedon Chardonnay, while the Australian-European menu features dishes such as ricotta-filled zucchini flowers and pressed lamb shoulder in soubise and black truffle.

108 River Esplanade, Docklands

 The Carringbush Hotel

At 130 years, the Carringbush proves that an old dog can indeed learn new tricks, relaunching as a fresh pub that’s all about sustainability. With new owners at the helm, they’ve created an entirely vegetarian and vegan menu that will satisfy even the biggest of meat lovers. Dig into the likes of smoked potato and eggplant dumplings, maple teriyaki tofu and spiced sweet-potato steaks. Waste reduction is a focus at the new Carringbush too, with metal straws and wines on tap offered.

226-228 Langridge Street, Abbotsford

MARCH

Globe Alley

Sitting somewhere between a dive bar and a disco diner, Globe Alley serves up craft beers, punchy cocktails and Southern food in a party-starting environment. Choose the heat level on your Bloody Caesar or wake up with The Escape, which blends Jamesons, cold drip, coffee liqueur and coconut. Nights here stretch out over long games of pool punctuated with rounds of buffalo fried chicken and jalapeno poppers.

1 Globe Alley, Melbourne

Denton Wine Bar

Denton is a refined yet relaxed European wine bar that doesn’t fuss about. They’re doing simple food and interesting wines at reasonable prices, with bottles from local makers such as Jamsheed and Mac Forbes. To eat, there are just six dishes created from the day’s market produce – depending on when you time your visit, it could be salmon carpaccio, a black Russian tomato salad or juicy porterhouse steak.

1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

Bar Clara

This classy basement cocktail bar draws on fresh produce to create seasonal drinks with precise, vibrant flavour. The Fire & Earth’s stunning maroon colour comes from beetroot mixed with tequila, lemon and habanero bitters, while their sweet banoffee pie-inspired cocktail tops clarified banana juice, Starward whisky and demerara syrup with a caramelised meringue cap.

87 Little Bourke St, Melbourne

Meyers Place

Hurrah! Melbourne’s original laneway bar has reopened. Known for kickstarting the city’s love affair with tiny, tucked away venues, they’ve relocated to Crossley Street but retained much of their old look – from the stained-glass windows and concrete bar, right down to the retro shag pile carpet.

7/24 Crossley St Melbourne 3000

FEBRUARY

Peaches

Hot summer days are just peachy atop Peaches, a multi-storey bar that features a spacious rooftop for spritzing and sunsoaking. There are no dark and divey corners here, just lots of pinks, golds and suedes plus cocktails. Get the party started with ‘It’s Brittany Bish’, a blend of sloe gin, dry vermouth, basil and raspberries.

Levels 2 & 3, 301 Swanston Street, Melbourne 

Young’s Wine Rooms

They’ve kept the bare bricks and exposed walls of the long running Young's Auction House that came before, but everything else here is new, starting with the modern Mediterranean menu and imaginative cocktails. Spy dishes like steamed portarlington mussels with barley, onion, dill and lemon, and colourful drinks like the Helena Beat, featuring tequila, beet, dragonfruit, thyme and lime.

227-229 Camberwell Road, Hawthorn East

Angel Music Bar

Late night eatery Butcher’s Diner has a sister bar next door for late-night shenanigans. Angel will serve food from their kitchen alongside classic cocktails and Italian wine. As the name suggests however, the focus here is on music, with an eclectic mix of jazz, soul and techno on soundtrack, DJs appearing after sunset and a mini dance club upstairs.

12 Bourke St, Melbourne

St Giles Wine Bar

Camberwell is home to an inviting neighbourhood bar in St Giles. They boast a wine list that crisscrosses the old and new worlds, championing both local drops and pricey Burgundys, and a protein-rich menu specialising in steak and seafood. Start with delicate entrees like sea bream sashimi with miso and pickled shiitake before more substantial mains like slow cooked lamb and steak frites.

Shop 115A, 793 Burke Road, Camberwell

The Carringbush Hotel

Seven months of renovations has resulted in a reborn Carringbush that sports warm wood finishes, a family friendly vibe and a shiny new kitchen and bar. The revamped menu is completely vegetarian, reimagining pub classics into dishes like sweet potato ‘steak’ with eggplant coconut puree and beer battered cauliflower with tartare and chips.

228 Langridge St, Abbotsford 

JANUARY

Johnny’s Green Room

Carlton’s got a sunsoaked rooftop bar – sitting atop the King and Godfree complex, Johnny’s Green Room offers 360 degree vistas extending to the city and beyond. Tap into a little slice of Italy with imported beers, wine and Aperol spritzes on tap, plus snacks including polpetti, salumi, arancini and even choc tops from Pidapipo down the road. It’s our new favourite spot for Sunday sessions and after work drinks.

Level 2/293-297 Lygon St, Carlton

Harlow

Richmond’s Great Britain Hotel has relaunched as Harlow, a ‘good-times’ venue comprising a spacious, split-level courtyard and basement bar, with live music on weekends to boot. House cocktails include the ‘Boyz-N-The-Hood’, crafted with Jack Daniels, applejack, Fireball and apple juice, while pub classics are remixed in bites such as cheeseburger empanadas, duck and bacon sausage rolls and mini crab doughnuts.

447 Church St, Richmond

Talk to Me Bar

Electropop duo Peking Duk have their own bar, and yes, they’ll be dropping in regularly to DJ there. Their vision is for the venue to transition each night from chilled afternoon vibes to heaving disco party by the early morning, all under that photo-worthy glowing canopy of paper umbrellas. When all that dancing makes you peckish, snack on playful mashups like spam hotdogs with ketchup kimchi, cheeseburger spring rolls and vegan jackfruit bao.

153 Commercial Road, South Yarra


Loving our best bars of 2019? If you are wanting to be 'in the know' with the latest and greatest venues to open in Sydney, check out our monthly round-up of the city's best new barscafés and restaurants.Still looking for more fun things to do in Melbourne? From speed dating to art exhibitions, we've got you covered. 

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