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  • Melbourne
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  • The Best Cocktail Bars in Melbourne to Try This Weekend

The Best Cocktail Bars in Melbourne to Try This Weekend

These charismatic cocktail bars in Melbourne are serving drinks worth their weight in gold.

Pearl Diver

Whether you like yours shaken, stirred, short, long, fruity, bitter or sour – nothing beats kicking off a night out with a precisely made cocktail. Melbourne is spoiled with a bounty of world-class drinking spots and cocktail bars, from opulent Golden Era-inspired dens to thrilling modern bars reinventing the category. Expert bartenders, immaculate ambience and delicious snacks make these places the perfect spot to nurse your next negroni.

Best Cocktail Bars Melbourne CBD:

Apollo Inn

Apollo Inn

From the wizards behind acclaimed Gimlet comes neighbouring Apollo Inn, an evocative cocktail bar in Melbourne that's one to add to your must-visit list. 

A little backstory: In 1844 one of Melbourne's first public houses, the Apollo Inn, opened on the corner of Flinders Lane and Russell Street, where Gimlet now sits. Now, today's ode is to the ageless art of the cocktail, the bar, the bartender and the drinker. 

Settle in to the intimate, moody, supper club-like space, and sip on one of the best martinis in the city (there are four styles to try). Whether you're joining for a pre or post dinner or show drink, or for the main event, you're guaranteed a sophisticated night of classic cocktails and a menu of snacks and share plates designed with drinking in mind. Ever-evolving, it spans of shellfish on ice to classic beef carpaccio, chips and cheese, and even dessert. 

Try: Make like Gwyneth Paltrow with a Gibson martini. Tres chic!

165 Flinders Lane, Melbourne


Confident, sexy and unique, Jayda seduces passers-by with a cheeky red neon glow. She's serving on all fronts too - with a strong snack game (it is Shane Delia we're talking about here) and show-stopping, exclusive cocktails (Strawberry & Cream Negroni, anyone?), as well as beautiful art deco vibes that ooze sophistication. Walk-ins welcome. 

Try: Their signature Strawberry Cream Negroni. 

19 Bond Street, Melbourne 

Pearl Diver Cocktails & Oysters

Oysters and bubbly are a tried and true combination, but what about oysters and cocktails? Pearl Diver is a swanky bar entering the waters with a refreshing concept: a choose-your-own oyster adventure matched with tiki-inspired cocktails and classic drinks remixed with Victorian spirits. Take your pick of rock and pacific oysters sourced from the glittering Sapphire Coast to Tassie’s Coffin Bay served natural, dressed in crème fraîche and caviar, or grilled kilpatrick. Expect lots of sours, punches and fruit-forward tipples to match. 

Try: the quenching Watermelon Fruit Salad with rum, Fassionola fruit salad cordial, lime, watermelon and tiki bitters.

56 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne



Byrdi is the brainchild of industry innovators Luke Whearty and Aki Nishikura, who are known for their hyper-seasonal drinks using native ingredients. The sleek CBD bar plays with ingredients that are smoked, fermented and fortified in any number of combinations, resulting in cocktails that are as eccentric as they are delicious. The space itself is a designer’s dream, infusing minimalism with warm textures and materials. Stop by for a drink that surprises.

Try: the Fallen Fruit, which stars poached pear, verjuice caramel, wine, curry leaf and nitro sorbet.

Corner of La Trobe and Swanston Streets, Melbourne

Nick & Nora’s

The Golden Age aesthetic continues to inspire today’s bars, but few are doing it as well as Nick & Nora’s. They’re going full throttle on Gatsby-esque opulence with a glamorous fitout and theatrical cocktails worthy of celebration. The extensive cocktail menu is sophisticated as you’d expect from a Speakeasy venue (Eau de Vie, Mjølner), divided into sours, spritzes, punches, stiff drinks and more. Expect your drinks to be made and presented with dramatic flair (think liquid nitrogen) accompanied with your choice of oysters, cheese and charcuterie for nibbling.

Try: their signature Nick & Nora’s spritz made with gin, Aperol, Suze, watermelon champagne cordial and bubbles of your choice.

80 Collins Street, Melbourne



One of Melbourne’s most intriguing cocktail bars, Bouvardia serves just 10 cocktails... and you’ll want to try them all. Each one has its own page on the menu listing not only its flavours but also its volume, ABV and even acidity, highlighting the bar’s precision. The bar plays with lacto-fermentation, native ingredients and uncommon ingredients, resulting in fascinating drinks like their All Parts of the Pumpkin, which incorporates pumpkin flesh, pumpkin seeds and even pumpkin skin alongside cream and rye whiskey. The dark, moody space is an exercise in elegant minimalism, accented with pink banquettes and an emerald-green marble bar.

Try: the Major Tom, which features a double punch of fermentation with lacto-fermented passionfruit, Marionette Blue Curacao and amazake cream, which is made from a Japanese fermented rice drink.

Level 2/169 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Lily Blacks

Lily Blacks

This comfy laneway spot exudes warmth and know-how. It’s where discerning drinkers go to see a familiar face behind the bar and get an outstanding drink late at night – all the way until 3am, in fact. A short, snappy list eliminates decision anxiety, while tapas-style snacks like Spanish morcilla and beef empanadas keep peckishness at bay.

Try: the Passionista, a bold blend of scotch whisky, passionfruit, white chocolate, star anise and absinthe.

12 Meyers Place, Melbourne

Bar Margaux

Bar Margaux

This hidden gem is a transportative basement bar inspired by the French brasseries of New York, serving luxurious cocktails and playful bistro fare ‘til late. Brought to you by the experienced crew behind Heartbreaker and The Everleigh, Margaux’s vintage-inspired red leather banquettes, black and white subway tiles and dim lighting snatch away all sense of time as you keep the drinks rolling. Start with a tiny, three-sip Martini before choosing your way through ‘light’, ‘fresh’, ‘stiff’ and ‘late’ cocktails shaken expertly by their team.

Try: the Irish Coffee for a late night jolt of energy – it tops Irish whiskey and fresh coffee with a layer of cream.

111 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Best Cocktail Bars Melbourne:

The Everleigh

The Everleigh

Tucked away on Gertrude Street, The Everleigh evokes faded memories of the speakeasy bars of old. It’s only fitting then that they serve up ‘classic cocktails from the golden era’, complete with chandeliers and suave bartenders in vintage waistcoats. If you’re looking to charm, this is the place, all old-world and plenty of elegance, oodles of ambience and a touch of romance. 

Perfect for a solo after work drink or larger groups, this quaint gem is at the top of its game when it comes to high-end service and stunning libation creations, making it one of the best cocktail bars in Melbourne.

Try: Leave it up to the bartender! They want to make sure you’re drinking exactly what you want to drink, so much like a game of ‘Guess Who?’, Bartender’s Choice is a process of elimination that you'll go through together in order to find the ultimate drink for you. 

150-156 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Above Board

Above Board

A seat at Hayden Lambert’s tiny 16-seat cocktail bar is one of the most coveted in Melbourne. The exclusivity allows his team to give each visitor deeply personalised service, and the resulting experience is reminiscent of what you’d find in the upscale bars of Tokyo or London. Expect a regularly rotating list of cocktails that take inspiration from Lambert’s years working all over the world, alongside classic drinks made to exacting standards.

Try: the HSL Special, a mainstay of the Above Board menu, that’s a simple yet complex-flavoured concoction of Amaro Montenegro, blackberry liqueur, lime and absinthe.

306 Smith Street, Collingwood

Ends and Means

Ends and Means

There’s always something new to try at this friendly neighbourhood bar shaking up some of Fitzroy’s best cocktails. Aside from the classics there’s always a handful of featured cocktails plus a special G&T, highball of the week and cocktail slushies on tap. There’s a focus on sustainability here too, with local producers favoured and syrups made in house. Four legged friends are welcomed in the courtyard out back too, making it a great spot of casual afternoon drinks.

Try: the savoury, boozy and complex Churchill Martini with Applewood Karkala gin, local distillery Brogan’s Way Royal Blood gin and a grapefruit twist.

79 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Amelia Shaw

Amelia Shaw 

Named after the The Retreat Hotel’s first licensee in 1842, Amelia Shaw continues in this spirited tradition with its boutique cocktails and late night party vibes. It does however take its design cues from a little later in history, namely American West Coast Deco with some constructivist and contemporary twists.

Settle into Brunswick's secret cocktail bar and indulge in some of its finest tipples, ranging from the house Paloma to a dry martini with lemon twist, with lots of fantastic wine and spirits in between. 

Try: The house Paloma - as refreshing as it gets!  

Retreat Hotel, Level 1/280 Sydney Road, Brunswick 



Cool but unpretentious, laid back Eydie's is a northern suburbs gem, layered with a personalised approach to cocktails and a menu that dances through in house concoctions to classics with a twist to some regular faves thrown in for good measure. The welcoming and fun-loving team of bartenders are more than happy to chat with you through their selection of spirits, to then create something for you that they think you’ll really love. If you need a quick pick me up Espresso Martini or a low-key Negroni night-cap, Eydie's has got you covered.

Try: The Passion Possum, a wily blend of tequila, Italicus botanical liqueur, passionfruit, pineapple & lime. Perfect for afternoon and/or nocturnal activities!

86 Lygon Street, Brunswick East 

Joey Smalls

Joey Smalls

You need to check out the extensive cocktail list at Brunswick's vibey Joey Smalls, best paired with tasty burgers, fried chicken and sets from local and international DJs. From seasonal tipples to well worn classics like Pornstar Martinis, Mai Tais and Amaretto Sours, it's hard to go wrong with your selection here. Plus, the fit-out is seriously gorgeous. 

Try: If it's on the menu, try the Negroni Bianca, a blend of Four Pillars Rare Dry, Suze, and Dolin Dry. 

284 Sydney Road, Brunswick 

Lay Low

Lay Low

Enter through the hidden door to find Seddon’s favourite minimal waste cocktail bar, a vision of polished concrete and ambient light. The drinks at Lay Low are spirited in more ways than one, always striving for creativity without throwing out the rulebook. Sip on house cocktails infused with native ingredients like the Umami Mary, a take on the Bloody Mary spiced with pepperberry, or the Macadamia Edna Beverage, which blends brandy with wattleseed and macadamia liqueur, Australian Amaro and fig bitters. They also do fantastic zero alcohol cocktails that put the mocktails you know to shame.

Try: Like sangria? You’ll love A Currant Affair, which has redcurrant liqueur, apricot brandy, Lillet Blanc, prosecco and peach bitters. Get a carafe, trust us.

93 Buckley Street, Seddon

Where to next? After settling in at one of these excellent cocktail bars in Melbourne, it's time to then find a venue to suit any vibe, by checking out our favourite rooftop bars, cool pubs and underground hangouts.

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