9 Insane Melbourne CBD Bars That Only Locals Know

Melbourne In 48 Hours: A 20-Something's Travel Guide

I had some doubts about whether I should write this post: should I give away the secret drinking spots that Melbournains have compiled over the years? Then I figured- duh, of course. So, in this blog, I’m going to share all of my favourite drinking spots with you guys, that I’ve found throughout my time living in the city centre.

Melbourne is the best place to be young, largely because of its extensive choice of bars. From hidden bars to specialist and rooftop ones, there’s no end of places to get drunk in the city. However, like all of the best things in Melbourne, finding the good spots is all based on word of mouth. Here are a few of my favourites

1. Bar Americano

A cocktail bar, barely the size of a cupboard, that pays homage to the golden age of drinking? Only in Melbourne, I assure you does such a place exist. Complete with chequerboard floors, a complete lack of seats, a ‘we’ll mix you up what you fancy menu’ and a no photo policy, Bar Americano has to be one of the quirkiest drinking places around.

2.NGV Friday Nights

Because when else can you get dressed up, peruse art and simultaneously get drunk to a live DJ? Hosted at Melbourne’s National Gallery Of Victoria, on Friday nights from 6pm onwards, the downstairs of this venue transforms into a bar. Attracting a crowd of arty types and young professionals, NGV lates are the perfect networking opportunity and the ideal place spend a couple of hours enjoying the exhibition, tucking into dumplings and letting your hair down.

3.Gin Palace

Tucked in a quirky basement lounge, dimly lit with jazz music playing in the background is Gin Palace. As its name suggests, Gin Palace pays homage to everyone’s favourite drink, sporting a book-sized menu with a selection of gin and tonics from pretty much any country you could name.

4.Darts Bar

When you want to get drunk with your friends but also do something a little bit more creative, Darts Bar is a good bet. This small venue is set up into sections centring around dart boards so you and your friends can grab some beers, split into teams and see who’s aim gets progressively worse as they drink.

5.Whitehart Bar

Date? Post-work drinks? Friday night? Whitehart Bar is always a good bet. Tucked down the end of an alley off of Lonsdale street, this classy rooftop has a bustling atmosphere and is a little bit chicer than some of Melbourne’s other drinking establishments.


When you think ‘friday night drinks’, ‘lets go to the shopping centre might not be the first thing that comes to mind. That would be the case at least if you were in any other city than Melbourne.  However, located upstairs in Melbourne Central shopping centre is ABC, the go-to place when it comes to cheap drinks out. ($6 Spirits and $9 beer jugs- need I say more?)

7.Garden State Hotel

There was a time where I religiously went to the Garden State Hotel every Friday evening but you can see why- because everyone in Melbourne is doing the same. As soon as 6 pm hits, everyone flocks to this large, sophisticated bar for post-work drinks and they stay there until the early hours of the morning. Offering an extensive drinks selection,  light bites to eat and a large open plan seating/dance area, it’s the only place to get drunk and make a fool of yourself in front of your friends.

8.Campari Bar at Brunetti

Walk into Brunetti on Flinders Lane and the cabinets packed full of cream puffs, profiteroles, cheesecake and gelato is enough to stop you in your tracks. However, venture through to the very back of this Melbourne institution and you will find a secret Campari Bar. Serving a range of Cocktails and spitzes, it’s the perfect place to go for aperitvo hour: I dare you to try and make it out the door without picking up dessert.

9. Rooftop Bar at Curtin House 

A rooftop bar in the CBD that serves Aperol Spritzes all day, every day for just $12? The rooftop bar at Curtin House is hard to beat. Located on the 7th floor of this non-descript building, getting to this bar is a bit of a trek up the many flights of stairs, past an eclectic mix of salons and shops. However once you make it to the top, you’ll find one of Melbourne’s best-hidden secrets: a fantastic rooftop bar and open-air cinema with unbeatable views if the CBD.

Are you interested in checking any of these places out? And more importantly, do you have any other favourite bars in the CBD? Share your thoughts in the comments below or feel free to get in touch. More Melbourne related suggestions for the CBD and beyond coming soon. 



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