Best New Bars in Melbourne: Must Visit Venues in 2023
Looking for a cool new drinking spot? This is our edit of the best new bars in Melbourne to try this year.
Melbourne is brimming with fantastic bars, from iconic rooftops synonymous with summer to cosy neighborhood pubs and eclectic breweries, distilleries and cellar doors. With our neighbourhoods welcoming new watering holes almost every week, deciding where to go and which venue suits the occasion requires some guidance. Whether you're after a glamorous ambiance or hard-to-source wines, an intimate date night spot or inventive cocktails, there's bound to be new bar with your name on it.
These are the best new Melbourne bars to visit this weekend.
Image credit: Pete Dillon
Bossley Bar & Restaurant
Drinking and dining in the heart of Melbourne's theatre district just got better with the arrival of Bossley. Located on the ground floor of the newly transformed Rydges Melbourne, it takes inspiration from the hotel's prime location, and is an evocative take on a classic Aussie restaurant meets modern Melbourne bar. A thoughtfully crafted dining menu heroes in on locally sourced ingredients, offering a culinary journey that embraces the vibrant and diverse flavours of Victoria. But for something lighter, Bossley Bar is the perfect setting. Think delicious cocktails, small bites like Gippsland eye fillet tartare with horseradish cream and blue potato chips, and local handmade burrata, and an exquisite glass of wine or two.
We can't wait to book in a post-work sip or pre-theatre bottle and bite here ASAP.
186 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Image credit: Pete Dillon
The Terrace at Cityfields
Chadstone's Euro-inspired brasserie, Cityfields, has a new rooftop bar to its name. Called The Terrace, this beautiful new bar offers a variety of dining and drinking experiences alongside panoramic views of Melbourne's city skyline. It's the perfect spot to sip on your next cocktail, indulge in a range of small share plates such as olive gildas with guindilla pepper and anchovy. and cosy up next to a roaring fire pit on those cooler nights. Grab yourself a martini and settle in. You'll feel whisked direct to Europe under the twinkle of stars and city lights, and vibes reminiscent of an enchanting Parisian rooftop with an alfresco garden.
Whether it's an afternoon drink, a pre-dinner snack, a well-deserved break during your shopping trip, or after-work drinks, The Terrace rooftop bar at Cityfields is ideal for any occasion, and is one of the best new bars in Melbourne in 2023.
1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone
Old plates, new record bar. Made for fun nights out, Old Plates is a Fitzroy drinking gem, and one of the latest listening bars to tune into Melbourne this year. Cosy record store vibes abound, with the focus predominantly on funk, soul and disco tunes. It's a place where you can scrounge through a brilliant array of rare vinyl, a spiced rum cocktail in hand. Trust us, you'll soon be declaring this your new favourite hangout.
You'll also be able to catch guest selectors on the decks here three nights a week, Thursday through Saturday. The lived in loungeroom feel, which extends to a courtyard hidden out the back, is perfect for your next casual catchup. As are the share plates laden with A1 Bakery pastries (although you may not want to share. That haloumi pie is a gift from the gods after all).
384 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Come in, pull up a stool and get to know Bar Bellamy. This oh-so-welcoming Northside cocktail bar and bistro from hospitality duo Oska and Dani Whiteheart oozes classic Melbourne relaxed charm. With its name drawing inspiration from ‘Bel Ami’ - meaning French for ‘dear friend,' the focus here is to have the community - both local and from afar - settle in for a slice of good old fashioned warm hospitality.
Chef Barney Cohen will be offering up nostalgic European snacks and shared plates that showcase some of our best local produce, with seasonal treats like freshly shucked Angasi oysters with hot sauce and miso-roasted pine mushrooms set alongside reimagined classics like devilled eggs, roast quail with Waldorf salad and chicken liver parfait cannoli. We're also keen to sip on some of the many inviting cocktails on the menu, with innovative yet familiar twists at play.
Settle in along one of the two large communal tables, where you can feel like you’re at a banquet with family, friends and strangers alike. Or cosy into a booth for a more intimate night with friends, or a casual spot at the window or bar for a quick drink and snack. There's also an outdoor area out front that captures the afternoon sunlight perfectly.
Head on down on a Sundays for their “Sunday’s Set”, which involves set-lists which will be released weekly, comprised of rotating DJs, guest chefs and bartenders, as well as a set lunch menu. It'll be guaranteed Sunday relaxation and fun.
164 Rathdowne Street, Carlton
Meet Me At Mary's
Headed to Geelong for an easy weekend away and eager to navigate the bayside city's impressive bar scene? Meet Me At Mary's might be new, but it's cream of the crop, where Sunday afternoons are soundtracked by local musicians jamming away as part of the live music sessions taking place within it's chic confines. It's the perfect way to the see the weekend off in style, and one last chance for a tasty tipple. Sister to popular restaurant The Arborist Geelong, this contemporary wine bar and restaurant is industrial but warm, with polished concrete floors, high ceilings, brick walls, and a blue-tiled bar that's undoubtedly the focal point. Go for classic cocktails or a riff on a classic, or if wine is more your drink of choice, the line-up is extensive. We're partial to the Lady Marmalade, consisting of marmalade gin, cointreau, cumquat marmalade, lemon, egg white and sugar syrup. Food wise, enjoy share plates that are modern Australian in essence, yet draw inspiration from both Korean and Mediterranean cuisine. The hardest part will be choosing what to have first!
66 Pakington Street, Geelong West
Black Kite Commune. Image credit: Dean Schmideg
Black Kite Commune
Given nod to Melbourne's early 1900's supper clubs, Black Kite Commune is a striking and dramatic new bar in the city to set your sights on this winter. From the team behind Melbourne icons Gin Palace and Bar Ampere, the latest addition to the Russell Place Hospitality assemblage offers a full table service cocktail and wine bar that champions Australian products alongside international staples.
The cocktail list was curated by venue manager Jess Clayfield (ex Gin Palace) who has moved beyond the trend of seasonality in favour of a cocktail symphony via synesthesia. A concise wine list follows, offering palate profiles from light and bright to rich and lush to skinsy and lo-fi.
While drinks are the star of the show here, the bar food provides perfect accompaniment, a showcase of creative, Australian-produce forward dishes like saltbush crocodile and wild boar croquettes to confit bush tomato tarts, and a notable selection of Australian cheeses.
A moody and sexy siren call for those that enjoy the nightlife, prepare to have your night swept quickly into dawn
30 Russell Place, Melbourne
Next time you're St Kilda bound, slip inside newly minted multi-venue precinct Saint Hotel and follow the cool sounds upstairs into Stellas, a glamorous new bar drawing inspiration from kissatens, Japanese listening lounges. It's a sensory experience unlike any other, with loudspeakers by Hobart-based audio company Pitt & Giblin doubling as works of art and a specialty cocktail menu to match. These signature cocktails are the main drawcard, with a focus on seasonality and a no-waste approach, alongside the usual suspects of wines, beers and spirits. A snacks menu will also be available from the Saint Hotel kitchen, with house-pickled crudites, natural oysters and Mayura wagyu tartare on oyster crisps expertly curated for sharing amongst friends. Gracing the decks each week, a rotating lineup of local and visiting DJs will be playing on Friday and Saturday nights when Stellas will stay open till late.
54 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Housed in 170-year-old bluestone surrounds, Coburg has a chic and moody new wine bar in Olivine, perfect for your next date night with a difference. Pentridge’s former heritage cells have been transformed into this elegant and refined space with a walk-in cellar door, intimate booths, grazing menu and stellar wine list.
Speaking of the wine list, it's a doozy, and features more than 500 labels from local and international producers that has been carefully curated by one of Australia’s most exciting sommeliers, Wine Curator, Liinaa Berry. Liinaa and her team of sommeliers will happily guide you in selecting the perfect drop of wine, but if you're craving a cocktail, we highly recommend the impeccable gin martini on offer.
Olivine’s grazing menu is equally as impressive and emphasises creativity, local produce, and seasonal influence. Enjoy Japanese scallop tarts with a Yuzu emulsion and dried tomato powder, and house-made chicken liver parfait enhanced with muscat and a brown butter tuile.
Sink deep into the moodily-lit Olivine and have a sophisticated night to remember. It has truly set the bar high when it comes to best new bars in Melbourne in 2023.
1 Pentridge Boulevard, Coburg
St Kilda's neighbourhood bar slinging craft beer, wine & cocktails, Chronicles Bar is a low-key, friendly and light-filled spot for sundowner drinks. Bearing the name of the much-loved bookshop that once lay claim to the space on Fitzroy Street, local pride is the focus here, where more St Kilda history is ready to be made and cheersed. There's also a fantastic focus on independent and Australian products. Be sure to pop in for a drink one night after work, or on a easy-breezy weekend afternoon.
91-93 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
The team behind Carlton favourite Heartattack and Vine are bringing a new brand of all-day dining to this inner-city suburb, with golden-hued Sunhands. Cosy, light-filled and sitting pretty on the corner of Elgin Street and Drummond Street, this charming spot defies characterisation - it's equal parts cafe, wine bar, deli and grocer. Particular emphasis is paid to seasonal and hyper-local produce. Pop in for a lazy afternoon to soak up the last rays of sun alongside the array of unique wines by the glass. Snack on a delicious menu of shared plates, like pickled octopus, heaving antipasto, charcuterie and cheese, baked ricotta with agrodolce, oysters and more. Dishes change frequently, depending on what's available each week, and they also have a few classic cocktails for you to enjoy.
169 Elgin Street, Carlton
A winning new destination to drink, dine, groove, explore and play in the heart of Windsor, Young Hearts will have you running free. It's an inclusive drinking and casual dining space set to explore an intersection of music, art, food, events and culture, led by Nic Coulter from next-door's Neptune Food & Wine. The wine list is a strong drawcard here, with a focus on natural wines, while cocktails champion quality ingredients and a less-is-more philosophy. As for food, the kitchen will showcase an ever-changing array of culinary styles with rotating six-month kitchen residencies. First up, the team behind Windsor's much-loved Freddy's.
Throughout the week and on weekends, a rotating lineup of DJs and live music will provide a vibing ambience. On the art front, the venue’s expansive wall space will showcase Australian artists through regular exhibitions. Ever-changing and ever-evolving, see where the night takes you at Young Hearts.
216 High Street, Windsor
Photo Credit: Sarah Anderson.
Collingwood's coolest brewery is bigger, better and more beautiful in 2023, having taken over not one but two neighbouring buildings. Molly Rose still has exceptional, laid-back hospitality as its heart, with an ambitious chef's table menu, a private dining room, and the holy grail — the suburb's biggest beer garden — elevating the much-loved local spot to elegant new heights. Expect a mostly Australian wine list, a cocktail menu from Ryan Noreiks of Caretaker’s Cottage (one of our favourite new openings from 2022), and of course a range of Molly Rose's best craft beers.
279/285 Wellington Street, Collingwood
Hotel South Melbourne
Hotel South Melbourne is set to bring the sparkle back to this historic 1854 build, that once hosted the likes of AC/DC and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Sailing into a new era of eating, it features a swanky beer garden, elevated dining, plentiful craft beers and a huge calendar of events. Chef Lewis Bryce (ex-Supernormal) has created a confident menu that includes a balanced mix of fan favourites and modern Australian cuisine like slow-cooked lamb shoulder, spanner crab and clam linguini, Porterhouse steak and their delicious vegan cheeseburger with lettuce, pickles and chippies.
160 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne
By The Glass
Come for the vibes, stay for the wine, food and fancy cocktails at the rebranded, utterly beautiful By The Glass (formerly Bouzy Armadale). Dishing up oysters and burnt butter brioche topped with mackerel, kingfish aguachile and charred leeks with romesco and hazelnuts, and endless plates of cheese and charcuterie alongside hard-to-find, adventurous pours, you might find yourself resistant to leave once you pull up a stool at the round bar.
Kings Arcade, 976 High Street Armadale
The Keys Leisure Centre
Ready, set, bowl. Eat, drink and bowl at The Keys Leisure Centre, a sprawling, all-in-one venue that includes a re-imagined vintage bowling alley, beer garden, bar, bistro and arcade. Located in an historic Preston warehouse. Don't fret, the food and drink on offer here is absolute quality too, because that's how they roll. Enjoy premium bar snacks, NYC-style pizzas and pub classics from one of the chef's behind Melbourne hotspots Nico's Sandwich Deli, Takeaway Pizza, Dexter and Dom's Social Club. We're drooling over their burgers too!
Be prepared to make this your new big group go-to hotspot.
1/188 Plenty Road, Preston
Brought to you by the team over at popular local haunt Carwyn Cellars, Zaubertrank is a wine bar with a unique point of difference, serving up yummy bites and all the German wines. Zaubertrank means 'magic potion' or 'magic drink', and you'll find plenty of them on the shelves here, alongside a snack menu that's perfect for pre-drinks and sharing with friends. With selected wines by the glass, cans of beer and non-alcoholic drinks on the menu, they also have a brilliant array of German digestifs, tonics, vermouths and elixirs available; so let curiosity be your guide and get sipping here ASAP.
881 High Street, Thornbury
Flying Duck Hotel
Get in quick to enjoy this gorgeous new pub, from the owner of Rustica and Hobson’s Bay Hotel. More than just a local watering hole, Prahran’s Flying Duck Hotel has stretched its wings when it comes to atmosphere, global cuisine accents and friendly vibes. Not far from High Street, you’ll find this stunner on a quiet corner surrounded by towering palms. There’s also an open glass marquee and leafy beer garden, but who’s counting positives?
67 Bendigo Street, Prahran
Is Don, is good. Those words ring even more true within the beating foodie, wine-loving hearts of Melbournians everywhere now that Don’s Prahran has leapt onto the city’s dynamic bar scene. Something fresh for the area in which it lies, Don’s is all about natural wine sips and tiny, snacky plates, with a secretive menu on which the only clues you’ll receive is from scrutinising their oh-so-aesthetic Instagram page.
Recent specials have included a duck, pumpkin, and nori croquette with saffron aioli, regular (and super fun) pasta on a spoon plates, white anchovies with fennel and green salsa, tuna tartare with wasabi butter and pearl barley, Bloody Mary prawns, and fries, of course. The staple dish is a completely lascivious fried chicken sandwich; and set alongside the regularly rotating list of pet nat, skin contact and orange vin,
Prahran’s got itself a gorgeously low-key, weeknight date spot setting the bar sky high for wine bars everywhere. The friendly service doesn’t hurt either.
Walk ins only.
202 Commercial Road, Prahran
Bud of Love
Having recently transformed from online wine store into this intimate little wine bar and bottle shop on Barkly Street, Bud of Love is a place that feels like an extension of your living room. It's a charming spot, a Footscray bar to take a seat, and enjoy a bottle to share with friends over a game of UNO, while enjoying some delicious food from amazing local businesses down the road, including Slice Shop Pizza.
Simple, delicious, exciting wine in a welcoming space... what more can you ask for in a neighbourhood wine bar?
251 Barkly Street, Footscray
Housed in a charming old building located on the border of Footscray and Seddon, this cosy little corner wine and beer baaa, from the minds behind Waxflower Bar and Common Galaxia, is a relaxed new space that's also set to expand even further this year.
Mrs Mutton's Bottle Shop will soon have 10 rotating craft beers on tap and a new back bar, as well as pergolas and fireplaces in the beer garden to look forward to, but for now the space is still abundant in delightful tipples ranging from natty wines and one-off bottles, through to yuzu spritzes and local brews.
Did we mention they do wine tastings?!
65 Victoria Street, Footscray
This vibey, light-filled modern bistro and wine bar has lit the match in celebration of plates of food cooked solely over fire, and for the love of the natural vinous world. A real-deal vin de cav, embodying the evocative wine bars dotted around France, Clover’s got a whole lot going for it, not least it’s exceptional French-inspired small plate menu and impeccable wine list, but even its beautiful courtyard that lingers out back, dreamily imbued with sunshine and shade.
The menu is reflective of seasonality and freshness, advocating for simple yet refined dishes like grilled tomato, white asparagus and anchovy, leek en papillote, roast flathead with sea leaves and pickled onion, roast duck breast with shiitake and tropea onions, and brown sugar whey cake with rhubarb and coconut ice-cream.
Stay a while and even get a little drunk, not just on wine, but in the joyous, relaxed nature that will envelop you upon arrival.
193 Swan Street, Richmond
Lilac Wine Bar
It’s only February, but Richmond (and now Cremorne) is finally catching up to the rest of the Northside ‘burbs when it comes to Euro-inspired wine bars with a Modern Australian touch, with the newly minted Lilac Wine Bar sitting pretty inside a converted warehouse. Named after the Jeff Buckley classic, it’s offering retro, record playing Brooklyn-esque vibes and vintage-inspired interiors alongside wood-fired, oft-smoky dishes.
Amongst the array of eclectic and extensive, organic and small scale local and international drops that stretch from the Adelaide Hills to Burgenland, Austria, are a list of thoughtful cocktails like the Lamington, with cherry brandy, spiced coconut liqueur and cacao, or the namesake Lilac Martini, with 22 Gin, fermented peach vermouth, smoked bone and a peat rinse.
31 Stephenson Street, Cremorne
Quealy Winemakers' Cellar Door
You heard it on the grapevine here first - a summer road-trip to this family-owned and operated Quealy Winemakers is a must! Set amidst lush rolling greenery in the heart of Balnarring (just an hour out of Melbourne), wine whisperers and novices alike can immerse themselves in an all-encompassing tasting experience at the Quealy Cellar Door. Let the warm coastal air and surrounding views envelop you as you settle in for a seated wine tasting where you'll be introduced to a Quealy Pinot Grigio, their much-lauded single-vineyard, cool-climate Pinot Noir, as well as a vast range of skin contact and sparkling wines. It'll be hard to leave empty-handed - and you won't be leaving hungry either, as you can also pair your wine tasting with a cheese platter.
Tastings can be booked in advance here and walk-ins also welcome.
62 Bittern-Dromana Road, Balnarring
Scottish craft beer connoisseurs BrewDog, known for their unique IPAs, Pilsners and easy-drinking ales, have opened their first Melbourne pub. The site in Coburg's Pentridge Prison has undergone an impressive makeover to house the 500-seater venue which caters to all with indoor and outdoor seating, an epic beer garden, 20 craft beers on tap, a 50% plant-based menu, and plenty of spritzes and salads for those who are that way inclined. For the young at heart, BrewDog Pentridge also serves a 'hoppy meal' which comes with a burger, chips and a beer icy pole.
Pentridge Prison, E Building, T101/1 Champ Street, Coburg
Post Office Club Hotel
St Kilda’s 151-year-old institution, the Post Office Club Hotel, has re-opened its doors with a brand-new restaurant, bar, and all-day deli, the Little Postie. Reminiscent of laid-back Parisian bistros, it's welcoming back Melburnians from sunrise to sunset with a delicious array of seasonal dishes that nod to French cuisine.
The elegantly upholstered burgundy bar will invite guests to prop themselves up and start or finish their meal with a cocktail in hand, or sit back and sip well into the night. Bonus points: As the warm weather begins to roll in, the intimate ivy cladded courtyard is the perfect pit-stop for post-work drinks, or to soak up the weekend sunshine. Adjacent to the restaurant is the Little Postie, an all-day take-away cafe and deli.
306 St KIlda Road, St Kilda
Looking for more of the best new bars in Melbourne? We've got plenty of delicious eateries and drinking haunts (aka the coolest pubs in Melbourne) to fuel your appetite. From gourmet burgers and Italian pizza joints, to romantic date nights and boozy brunches, we've whittled down the coolest things to do in Melbourne to take you from breakfast to dinner with ease.