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  • Melbourne
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  • Subterranean Chic: The Best Underground Bars in Melbourne

Subterranean Chic: The Best Underground Bars in Melbourne

Some of Melbourne's best bars lie hidden beneath the hustle and bustle of the CBD. These are the underground bars in Melbourne you need to know about.

Curious Bar

What is it about being below surface that makes a bar so alluring? Away from the bustle of the outside world, moods shift, mystery elevates, and all kinds of late-night mischief ensues.

From plush speakeasies and candlelit cocktail lounges to underground arcade halls, we’ve whittled down the best subterranean drinking spots in the city, guaranteed to take you way past midnight. These are the underground bars Melbourne insists you discover on your next nighttime venture into the city. 

Castlerose (Image Credit: Alex Squadrito)


Step into the allure of Castlerose, the city's latest underground unveiling beneath a residential street in South Melbourne. It's crystal clear this intimate and brooding supper club is what this southside 'burb has long been missing; an underground oasis beckoning patrons to journey down a spiral staircase into an elegant, moodily-lit haven. 

Here, sophistication meets intimacy, with leather banquettes and bar stools amidst a grandiose den-like ambiance reminiscent of a 20th-century dining experience. Like the space itself the menu is a marriage of comfort and sophistication; a celebration of the seasons and rich with modern flair. Those in search of a casual post-dinner vibe can pull up a stool, settle in, sip champagne and cocktails and snack on a duck confit cigar, served with chestnut aioli. 

But the ultimate night here requires a dalliance with their magnificently curated cheese trolley. Trust us. 

From the moment you descend, Castlerose captivates with its alluring charm, promising an unforgettable experience for those seeking the epitome of subterranean chic. It's one of our absolute favourite underground bars in Melbourne right now.

67 Palmerston Crescent, South Melbourne 

Studio Amaro

Studio Amaro 

After having a delicious Italian dinner at the ground-level restaurtant, head downstairs to Studio Amaro's basement for some post-dinner drinks. The dim lighting, retro vibes and Italo disco tunes make it the perfect date night spot with a unique edge. You can also order food down at walk-in bar, so if you start feeling peckish, we recommend ordering the whipped ricotta in lemon oil and heirloom tomatoes. Bellissimo! 

168 Chapel Street, Windsor

Da Bruno Richmond

Da Bruno 

Da Bruno is a whole world in itself. With five levels and not one, but two, rooftops, this establishment is perfect for just about any occasion. And while we love all levels of Da Bruno, we can't get enough on their basement bar. Lit with neon signs and walls lined with the comfiest red velvet booths, this is the perfect place to cosy up on a date night and get to know each other on a deeper level. While you do so, enjoy fresh oysters and sip on the wide range of cocktails on offer (this place is a martini-lover's dream).

221 Swan Street, Richmond

Yugen Dining


You know the tea bar, now meet subterranean sister venue Yugen – an opulent two-level restaurant that marvels from the moment you descend down the elevator. Elemental materials pair with plush seating and warm, glowy lighting to create a space that feels rich, grand and utterly romantic. On the à la carte menu, expect show-stopping modern Asian dishes including a smoked eel chawanmushi finished with brown butter and crispy chicken skin, prawn toast, a sashimi platter and a shio-koji-marinated Wagyu Shio Koji dressed in tarragon, ponzu and lime. Want to take your dining experience to new heights? Book the Golden Orb, which is suspended high in the air above the restaurant. It truly is one of the grandest underground bars in Melbourne.

605 Chapel Street, South Yarra

Bar Margaux

Bar Margaux

Date night goes on and on and on at Bar Margaux, a transportative basement bar inspired by the French brasseries of New York. Lose all sense of time as you cosy up in their vintage red leather banquettes and order rounds of oysters and martinis. On Friday and Saturday nights they’re open all the way until 3am, so you won’t have to worry about interrupting the flow of your date to find your next venue. It's one of the chicest underground bars Melbourne has to offer. 

111 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne


There’s just something about a basement bar that oozes romance. Perhaps it’s because it feels like you’re in your own universe, cut off from the outside world, with no sense of time or place. Lock eyes with your lover all evening at Dessous, a sleek subterranean bar in Flinders Lane. Candlelight bounces off the bar’s brush concrete (as well as your date’s features) as you order elegant cocktails and globetrotting food.

164 Flinders Lane, Melbourne



SweatShop may not have the most appealing name or breathtaking interiors, but we promise you a trip to this underground bar is well worth the visit. Situated underneath its sister restaurant and bar, Seamstress, Sweatshop has a small and minimalistic interior, but don't judge a book by its cover. If you can snag a table, you'll be wowed by how the cocktails that the experienced bar tenders can shake up. Everything on the menu is fun, and it's all executed with enthusiasm. Open Friday and Saturday nights, this may just become your new favourite!

113 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Bar Bambi

A glossy underground wine bar, Bar Bambi can be slipped into off of AC/DC Lane, bringing with it an LA-via-Italy vibe that’s just a little debaucherous. There’s Italian wine, cocktails, share plates and a live music lineup that could be party-starting DJ one night and serenading piano singer the next. The uniquely alluring design draws on inspiration from across eras, with plush velvet booths and brassy accents harking back to the golden days of yesteryear. One of the coolest underground bars in Melbourne to enjoy a debauched few hours in with friends. 

AC/DC Lane, Melbourne

The George Lounge 

The George Lounge (affectionately dubbed the Snakepit) resides in the basement of the famous George Hotel in St Kilda. This legendary little Melbourne underground bar has had long and colourful history spanning decades, but has had a major refresh in recent times and is serving up glamorous late-night lounge good looks. The aim is to provide you with a memorable experience in a luxe setting, where fine cocktails and fine spirits are to be sipped, with a particular focus on Australian craft spirits, together with classic cocktails from around the world. Wander down the stairs and let them look after you.

Basement/127 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda 

Curious at W Melbourne


For fine dining and basement imbibing, with a style as impressive as the cocktail list (and the hotel in which it lies) stop by this striking underground Melbourne bar. A unique all-night cocktail bar, Curious blends music programming, creative concoctions and a menu of small bites and share plates, for an experience to remember. The cocktails are designed to celebrate some of the defining cultural pillars of Melbourne; coffee, fashion and art. Pick your poison and then select a few bites to pair perfectly with it - think scallop tostadas with truffle ponzu, beef tartare, and miso baked eggplant tacos. 

408 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Beneath Driver Lane

Tucked behind the grand GPO building, Beneath Driver Lane is doubly hard to find but equally worth the effort. Listen to blues and drink Martinis blasted with liquid nitrogen as you settle into cosy leather booths lit by candlelight. Peckish? The kitchen serves bar snacks including comte and jamon croquettes, three cheese toasties and steak frites all the way till 3am.

It's an underground bar in Melbourne that wants to take you away from the world above and into another place and time. You could be anywhere; a basement in Paris, New Orleans, New York or San Francisco – the blues are always deep and you’ll always be greeted with a smile and true hospitality. 

3 Driver Lane, Melbourne

Bodega Underground

Bodega Underground

Educate yourself in mezcal, tequila’s in-vogue relative, at this underground bar and taqueria smuggled from Mexico to Chinatown. Specialising in the smoky Mexican spirit. Bodega Underground offer seventy varieties to sip straight or in punchy cocktails like the Ancho, which blends jalapeno mezcal with grilled lime, agave and chili salt. Spy an eclectic décor of fairy lights, film posters, prints and other knick-knacks accumulated from travels to Mexico.

55 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Golden Monkey

Golden Monkey

With dark woods soaked in red light, this is a cavernous underground bar Melbourne favours, that's part opium den, part Shanghai 1920's nightspot. Dedicated to fine drinks and fun times, it harks back to the decadence of age-old Shanghai, and is tucked away beneath the vibes of Hardware Lane. There’s plenty of space for groups in the roomy lounges at the rear at Golden Monkey, while on the menu are Asian-inflected cocktails like the China Doll, which features lychee black tea vodka, dragonfruit, goji berry, and lemon.

Rear 389 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Eau de Vie

To call Eau de Vie a ‘hidden bar’ would in many ways be a misnomer – it’s one of Melbourne’s most famed cocktail bars, after all. However, first-timers might still be confused by its blink-and-you'll-miss-it unmarked entrance. Inside is a swanky Prohibition-era-themed underground bar shaking up phenomenal drinks with a dash of theatre, plus decadent bistro food to match. If you’re a whisky enthusiast there’s, even more, to discover, with an eye-popping whisky room hidden behind a bookcase that can also be transformed into a private event space.

1 Malthouse Lane, Melbourne



This stylish underground speakeasy, which is the dark and broody sibling of Akaiito, will transport you straight to Japan. Ototo boasts a series of delicious Izakaya-style dishes whipped up by the restaurant's famed Robata chefs. Cocktails take centre stage on the drinks menu, with fresh, inventive takes celebrating traditional Asian ingredients. This is one of those distinctive underground bars Melbourne has become so known for, and we highly recommend escaping the hustle and bustle of the city to spend some time imbibing underneath the  undulating red-ribbon light installation curving across the ceiling. 

349-351 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Bar Clara

Bar Clara 

Bar Clara is a classy basement cocktail bar drawing on fresh produce to create seasonal drinks with precise, vibrant flavour. Their sweet banoffee pie-inspired cocktail combines clarified banana infused whisky, lemon, and banana skin sugar oleo with a caramelised meringue cap to revolutionise the whisky sour! The experience as a whole is deliciously inviting.

87 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne 



This sophisticated little spot under Punch Lane celebrates female winemakers, distillers and even cheesemakers. Follow the pink neon light to enjoy the sleek yet intimate atmosphere of Juliet; she'll quickly become a new favourite, not least in part due to her beautifully warm-toned basement digs. Think Art-Deco wooden panelling, inviting leather lounge chairs, and a contemporary, hand-blown glass chandelier that's serving up artsy steeze. 

37 - 41 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Gin Palace

Gin Palace

Palace is a fitting name for this plush speakeasy that’s low-lit by chandeliers, draped with velvet and adorned with gold-framed portraits - it’s the kind of place where the mood changes as the night goes on. They’ve been plying Melbourne with the largest gin collection this side of the equator for 20 years, and we’d argue they’re getting better with age. It's truly one of the most renowned underground bars Melbourne has to offer. 

10 Russell Place, Melbourne

Trinket Bar


Leaning into Melbourne’s ‘secret entry’ trend, Trinket is a glitzy CBD bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Turn the giant key to enter the main bar, a sleek space filled with vintage knick-knacks and a ski chalet vibe. If you’re lucky, however, they’ll let you into the secret cellar bar via a wardrobe, Narnia-style, where an intimate Art Deco-themed space welcomes you with cocktails and creative snacks.

87 Flinders Lane, Melbourne



Open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, this CBD basement bar is a go-to for late night antics. Creative types sit shoulder-to-shoulder with city workers, drinking beer and eating pizza under fairy lights, hanging plants and wooden walls that make the bar feel like a mate’s place. There’s DJs on most nights of the week, and an art space hosting shows by local artists.

55 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

The Understudy

The Understudy

One of the most unique underground bars in Melbourne, enter this zany cocktail bar through a nondescript wardrobe door below 1806, and emerge to find an old-world theatre-themed room decked out with puppets, stuffed parrots and ornate clocks. The drinks are just as attention-grabbing, like the Blood and Sand - inspired by a 1920s silent movie about a bullfighter, it’s a heady mix of Johnnie Black, vermouth, orange and cherry liqueur. A study in quirk, The Understudy will delight all the senses. 

169 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

If these underground bars Melbourne brims so merrily with aren't enough to tempt you into the city this weekend, we're sure our guide to the 36 best CBD restaurants, and the best CBD cafes will help. 

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