Wherever you go if the topic is about Australia or you get talking to a Aussie, Melbourne always seems to get mention. It’s fair to say, Melbourne has been getting rave reviews for sometime now, and that’s epitomised by its standing as the worlds most liveable city voted for the 7th year in a row most recently.
Melbourne has that laid back cosmopolitan vibe where everyone and anyone can get along no matter what background or what they look like. It’s a free world in Melbs, and we just wish more of the world were like it. Added to its incredible shopping, great sporting events, fantastic cuisines, some of the best coffee and cultural windy laneways – Melbourne is undoubtedly a great place to be. And that hasn’t included the general living factors such as quality education, job availability and high healthcare standards.
Yet, one thing Melbourne is known for are its secret bars.
Now they wouldn’t be much of a secret if we were to list all of them, and although I’ve lived in Melbourne for at least 2 years, even if I wanted to, I couldn’t tell you them all anyway! But, if you are visiting for the first time, and want the secret bar experience that you’re owed and some just plain cool ones too, then take a look at which ones make my list focusing around the CBD and city area.
Eu Du Vie
One of Melbourne’s famous secret bars due to its location and interior, if you can find it you won’t regret it. Walk down a derelict looking alley to big back doors. Once you enter, it’s like a bar from the 50’s. The bar staff serve all kinds of visually impressive cocktails here, and that’s not the best part. There’s a secret lounge only open somedays. It’s door is made to look like a bookcase, just like the movies.
Monday – Saturday until 1am
Sundays until 11pm
Despite being one on the list and classed as secret, Gin Palace has been watering patrons mouths for two decades. With predominately an array of Gin on offer, this late night cocktail bar is a firm favourite among the local Melbournians. The theme is almost like a library, with spaced out seats and a firm sharper corner set of furniture and decor.
Everyday 4pm – 3am
The theme is unique, a cross between the old East and West Berlin, typified with bunkers and grenade crates. Two rooms to match both sides of Old Germany’s city, this is one Melbourne’s most unique and secret bars. In fact, even adding it to the list may get some hisses from the locals, because this isn’t a bar you’d normally find on your first time in Melbourne from Trip Advisor or your typical listicles.
Monday – Tuesday 5pm – 12am
Wednesday – Thursday 5pm – 1am
Friday 4pm – 2am
Saturday 5pm – 2am
Sunday 6pm – 12am
A unique name and situated down Russell Street, 1806 in recent years has become less secret but still worth a few drinks. 1806 was the first year a cocktail was ever created hence the name, and that’s what is on order here. Old fashioned interior with leather seats and an old cabaret style – 1806 is small but worthwhile. Prices will be steep though, $20 a mojito for example! This is a typical bar you’d go to experience Melbourne’s secret bars scene.
Monday – Thursday 5am – 1pm
Friday 4pm – 1am
Saturday 5pm – 2am
Sunday 6pm – 1am
Old kegs, thousands of liquor on show and music that sounds like an old creek tavern, Boilermaker is a cool joint. Sign-less as you walk down Lonsdale Street, this attracts a cool bunch of patrons. Food is on offer too including cheeses and meats. Boilermaker has a cosy atmosphere that is fitting to unwind after a long day.
Monday – Wednesday 4pm – 3am
Thursday – Saturday 12pm – 3am
Sunday 3pm – 3am
Whiskey and Alement
This bar is typically for locals so because of that it’s on our secret bars list. Plus it does exactly what it says on the tin. Predominately serving whiskey all imported from Scotland and Ireland, this bar stands out with its circular yellow sign. Small and compact, squeeze in if you can and is particular best in the winter for cosy nights.
Tuesday – Friday 4pm – 1am
Sunday – Monday 4pm – 11pm
Saturday 7pm – 1am
Niew Amsterdam (CLOSED)
Hardware Street is the location for Niew Amsterdam, and it’s the basement bar downstairs you want to check out. They serve delicious chicken wings, pale ale and even have retro console games for you to play!
*CURRENTLY CLOSED DUE TO MAINTENANCE*
Situated down Swanston Street amidst all the Asian holiday stores and restaurants, Toff Bar is one of two. As you head to the top floor, you’ll walk through a dimmed light venue with a dance floor on one side and a cute booth-lit areas on the other, called ‘The Carriage’. This is perfect if you want some privacy and have a good chat. Buy your drinks and close the shutters.
Monday – Wednesday 5pm – 3am
Thursday – Saturday 5pm – 5am
Sunday 4pm – 3am
One of the most elusive bars, Manchuria is a bit of an effort to find, but it wouldn’t be a secret bar if it was easy. With spectacular cocktails in a Asian-fusion styled dimmed setting, coupled with couches and swishy yet funky blinds this one is one of the coolest on the list.
Friday – Saturday 530pm – 3am
Tuesday Wednesday Thursday 530pm – 1am
Sunday – Monday Closed
One of my favourites, Siglo is on Spring Street next to the theatre. There are no signs for Siglo, but you’ll come across a brown wooden door. Head to the top floor where you’ll have a mid-height rooftop bar overlooking Parliament, serving great ales, wines and some delightful tapas styled food including polenta chips and duck parfait!
One of the known cocktail bars in the city, Campari has been going for years and is t slowing down. Situated down the cool and quirky Hardware Lane, Campari house really comes to light on the rooftop bar. Most people typically come here for predrinks and visiting on happy hour wouldn’t be a bad choice (4pm onwards but varies).
Sunday – Wednesday 11:30am – 10pm
Thursday – Friday 11:30am – 12am
Saturday 11:30am – 1am
Another Chinatown gem, this one takes a couple of windy street art tanked up streets to find. Yet, it’s distinctive appearance inside will confirm you’re at the right place. With the base of an underground science lab, this is comes under the bizarre secret bars in Melbs. A bit underground yet does decent cocktails, schools definitely out.
Monday – Thursday 5pm – 1am
Friday – Saturday until 3am