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What Are The Best Cocktail Bar In Melbourne?

Australia is home to more than a few spectacular drinking spots as a nation of drinking enthusiasts, which makes naming the best in watering holes no easy feat. But it's one that Bartender Magazine takes seriously, taking into account service, atmosphere, concept, and execution. The publication recently naming the finalists for the 2017 Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards have just been released, with the top 10 as follows.

Big Poppa's, Sydney

96 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, NSW www.bigpoppa.com.au If listening to hip hop, drinking and eating cheese sounds like your ultimate night out. Then Big Poppa's is for you. Sit upstairs in the cosy, classic restaurant to devour Italian dishes, or venture downstairs to the larger, moodier cocktail bar, where you can order cheese and snacks to accompany your drink. There's no need to rush, either – this sacred Sydney spot is open until 3 am, including the kitchen.

The Everleigh 

Melbourne's unofficial home of olde-worlde drinking charm. No list of Melbourne's best cocktail bars would be complete without the city's Grand Dame: The Everleigh. This place started in 2011 when Melbourne's cocktail scene was percolating, perched high above Gertrude Street, and watched over by owners Michael and Zara Madrusan. Ten years later, having won Australian Bartender Cocktail Bar of the Year (2018) and Best Victorian Bar of the Year (2019), after two renovations and forays into bottling, books and even hand-cut ice, it's still arguably the city's finest cocktail bar. 

The Gresham, Brisbane

308 Queen Street, Brisbane, QLD www.thegresham.com.au Rich in both history and whisky, The Gresham boasts the only Heritage Bar License in Queensland. While it offers some of the best whisky, rum and wine in the country, the bar refuses to define itself, allowing people to use the space however they want. Regardless, there's no better way to appreciate the opulent architecture that defines an era than with an expertly crafted, creative cocktail in hand.

Black Pearl 

This place arguably kick-started Melbourne's entire modern-day drinking culture. It won the world's Best International Cocktail Bar in 2017, and it's churned out more famous bartenders than any other institution in Australia, all nurtured under the eye of the owner, Tash Conte. There's no point giving you drink recommendations because the Pearl changes seasonally. Bartenders here are encouraged to experiment. One night you'll find a frozen cosmopolitan. The next it'll be bourbon and bananas. Just sit up at that gorgeous old bar and drink whatever they put in front of you. 

Kittyhawk, Sydney

16 Phillip Lane, Sydney, NSW www.thekittyhawk.com.au Whether you choose to sit before the wall of windows that frame a city view or sink into the secluded leather booths, you won't be able to escape the Parisian aura offered here. Everything from the décor to the drinks is designed to transport you to the city's liberation in 1944, topped off with an offering of contemporary French food. The right destination if you're after exceptional cocktails, a lengthy wine list, or to feed your inner Francophile.

Bar Americano 

​​If you want to know which Way the winds of change are blowing, consider Matt Bax your weathercock. He's the mind behind Der Raum, Bar Economico, Bar Exuberante and meta-gallery-cum-drinking-den, Grau Projekt, and of course, Bar Americano—the jewel in the crown and one of the best cocktail bars in Melbourne. Americano is arguably Matt's greatest contribution to Melbourne drinking culture. It's an uber-exclusive, standing-room-only, Italian-style cocktail bar tucked into Presgrave Place, where the drinks are classic, and space is very limited. So you come here for a good time, not a long time: drink your impeccable Aperitivo, chat to the suave barmen, then get out. It's been a surprisingly resilient business model. Sure the cocktail list now changes weekly, and there's a bottled range if you want a takeaway Negroni, but Americano's spirit (and Matt's vision) hasn't been watered down. Not a single drop.

The Baxter Inn, Sydney

Basement 152-156 Clarence Street, Sydney, NSW www.thebaxterinn.com With a list of almost 800 whiskies, The Baxter Inn is a haven for whisky lovers – if you can find it. Hidden in an unmarked alleyway in the CBD, the basement's dark interiors house a 10-metre bar that serves their hero liquor alongside the usual range of spirits and cocktails. For the true enthusiast, the Whisky Room stocks some more exclusive varieties that can be enjoyed in the intimate ambience of the cellar.

Mechanics Institute, Perth

Rear 222 William Street, Northbridge, WA www.mechanicsinstitutebar.com.au Take refuge from the everyday and settle among the heritage rooftops of Northbridge, Perth. Formed in the spirit of the Mechanics' Institutes of the 1800s, which served as an educational establishment for the working class, this split-level bar offers craft beer and artisan wines from around Australia, an ever-changing array of cocktails, and burgers from Flipside Burgers, which lies directly below.

The Beaufort, Melbourne

415-421 Rathdowne Street, Carlton, VIC www.thebeaufort.com.au Nautical features and an American theme combine in this Carlton dive bar offering great music, food, and an extensive range of craft beers and cocktails. An experienced crew mixes the drinks, and the range of burgers on offer (as well as the weekly Tuesday' Burgerpalooza', where you can pick up a burger and Young Henry's tinnie for $12) means The Beaufort can be counted on to deliver a special night out.

Eau De Vie 

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One of Melbourne's former best-kept secrets, Eau De Vie, has handfuls of swank. With its difficult to find and strong speakeasy aesthetic, the semi prohibition-style bar has cemented it as one of Melbourne's best cocktail bars. The trick with Eau de Vie is getting there early and carving out your space: maybe a comfy chair in the whisky lounge or some prize stools up near the bar. Alongside a big selection of classic cocktails, there's also a sizeable food menu with duck rillettes, charcuterie boards and more, helping you keep your wits about you. Eau de Vie might not be a secret anymore, but its secret sauce remains intact. 

The Perfect Cocktail Bar and Restaurant

You will always find Melbournians at bars when it comes to making merry. But not just any bar! It's next to impossible to separate food and drinks in the Melbourne food scene. Melbourne is regarded as Australia's Foodie capital due to its rich diversity, openness to try out new flavours from other parts of the world, and innovative approach to food and dining. The city is teeming with exciting restaurants that showcase wonderful foreign flavours that locals are wholeheartedly receiving. But, of course, drinking is meant to accompany food, and at Yassas- The Greek Way, you are sure to experience the best of both worlds.

The Best of All Booze at Yassas- The Greek Way at Ringwood

The best bars in Ringwood aren't limited to those found on rooftops or posh restaurants. If you're looking for a relaxed space where you can leave your worries at the door, you can find the best cocktail bar conveniently located at the ground level of Eastland Shopping Centre at Ringwood. Yassa's- The Greek Way is where you need to be if you're looking for a deliciously cheap beer on tap or exciting cocktails with a Hellenic twist. If you've got a never-ending thirst for exquisite libations, this Greek restaurant will serve you an extensive option unheard of in many parts of Melbourne. And the best part of it all all-you-can always enjoy them with equally amazing Greek food- all prepared fresh and served piping hot by our friendly staff.

At Yassas- The Greek Way, you'll find the perfect balance of comfort and class. Best-sellers such as Greek Mojito, Greek Martini, and Mimosa Yassas Style come in beautiful glassware. If you're not the type to sit pretty on the usual masterpieces, the list is always on the move, keeping up with the diverse palate of its guests. You can request the staff whip you something out of the ordinary or make your staple mix instead.

The impeccable drinks list also includes traditional Greek drinks, including Ouzo- an anise-flavoured aperitif, Tsipuro- a quintessential Greek drink made from the grape residue, and Raki- a clear brandy extracted from distilled grapes and flavoured with anise. If you aren't too keen on hard liquor and spirits, Yassas-The Greek Way also serves an extensive wine list showcasing local Australian wines and those thoughtfully made in Greece and other famous Old World and New World wine countries.

Fun and Exciting Fine Dining at Yassas- The Greek Way, Ringwood

Whether it's wine, cider, lager, cocktails, whiskey, or even housemade mocktails, every item on the Yassas- The Greek Way menu is carefully curated, with impressive incredible quality and variety. You should dine here, too!

If you're looking for fine dining in Ringwood, Yassas- The Greek Way is a no brainer. Fresh meat and seafood are wonderfully seasoned with spices from here and abroad. The chefs know what they're doing as every chicken, lamb, and pork are char-grilled to perfection. Don't forget to take a dip of its Mezes or small plates of appetisers, including tzatziki, hummus, taramosalata, spicy feta. It has an impressive salad line-up if you're looking to start your dinner with something filling and healthy. Fresh from the grill, you can choose from generous portions of chicken, lamb, or pork skewers served with fresh pita. And don't forget to try out its signature dishes like the moussaka in its traditional meaty and vegetarian forms.

Everything is served family-style at Yassas- because, after all, that's the Greek Way of enjoying food in the Motherland. The food is reasonably priced, and the ambience is close to what you'd normally experience in Greek Islands. However, Yassa's- The Greek Way gets busy, especially during lunch and dinner. So it's always best to contact them to reserve a table or two or the entire venue if you're looking to host a party or corporate function.

Other Cocktail Bars In Melbourne

Shady Pines Saloon, Sydney

Shop 4, 256 Crown Street, Darlinghurst, NSW www.shadypinessaloon.com A Darlinghurst favourite, expect music with a country twang, some taxidermy decorations, and bartenders who could double as mind readers. Cocktails, spirits, and boutique beers alike, the expert knowledge of this bar's staff will effortlessly match you with the perfect drink.

Bar Margaux 

Paris meets New York in this underground bar on Lonsdale Street. Think classic French cuisine, then add some art deco tiles and mirrors, leather couches, a timber bar and super sophisticated cocktails, and you get Bar Margaux. Anything on the menu is sure to be a winner, but if you're a bit on the indecisive side, then the bartenders are there to help you decide—they'll even make you a custom off-menu drink to suit your cravings.

FAQs About The Best Cocktail Bar In Melbourne

  • Drink menu design is an essential tool for running a profitable beverage program.
  • Think about your clientele.
  • Have a separate drink menu.
  • Put thought into the number of options you include.
  • Keep your menu updated.
  • Include drink descriptions.
  • Use creative cocktail names.
  • Strategically format drink prices.
  • Don't list calories.
  • Marketing tips to attract customers to your bar!
  • Know your audience. First of all, you need to establish the kind of bar you would like to run.
  • Promotions and themed parties.
  • Food and drinks.
  • Ambience through good music and entertainment
  • Advertising yourself with flyers!
  • Use social media and blogs to your advantage.

Best (and Cheap) Bar Promotion Idea in 2021

  • Partner with a Charity. Charities have a database of constituents willing to help out their chosen cause.
  • Break a Record.
  • Celebrity.
  • Local Celebrity.
  • Food Truck Event.
  • Social Media Contests.
  • Exclusive Yelp Invite
  • Local Artists.

How Much Does a Bar Owner Make? A bar owner yearly salary will be drawn from or be the bar's net profit margin. The average bar revenue is $27,500 per month, which translates to an average of $330,000 annual revenue. The average monthly bar expenses are $24,200.

Ramblin' Rascal Tavern, Sydney

199 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, NSW www.ramblinrascaltavern.com Set on the corner of Elizabeth and Park Street and marked only by a black sign with three skulls, this small bar is worth the search. Casting pretentiousness aside, the dimly lit space is relaxed and authentic, the drinks list keeping things local by sourcing craft beers and wine from only Australia.


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Siglo beams with class. The rooftop bar on Spring Street looks out onto Victoria's Parliament House and is housed in one of the most culturally rich pockets of the CBD with the Supper Club and The European below. Heading to Siglo is a Melbourne right of passage—sampling some of the best cocktails in Melbourne amongst the varied crowds, which often includes celebrities, Melbourne icons, and hospitality veterans of the CBD. Designed as an open-air cigar bar, you'll find an extensive list of cocktails, whiskeys, wine as well as cigars straight from the humidor. 


One of the biggest openings of 2020, Poodle Bar & Bistro, has become one of the hottest spots in Melbourne. The two-level diner on Gertrude Street is bolstered by its fanciful upstairs cocktail bar—a tidy yet intimate space with a chic art-deco design. With a dark green marble bar and painted brick walls, and open fireplace, it's a perfect spot for knocking back a few. The varied and extensive list of cocktails on the drinks front ranges from wildcards like the 'White Ferrari', with Cocchi Americano (a sweet and spiced wine), Tanqueray gin, and Lilet Blanc. To our personal favourite, the 'Pineapple Gimmiez' with gin pineapple and lime— a classic in its own right. 


Bar 1806 (named after the year 'cocktails' first appeared) sits alongside Gin Palace and Black Pearl as one of Melbourne's OG renaissance bars. It opened back in 2007 when most Victorians considered a dirty martini pretty avant-garde. It was exciting and different and even a little decadent. The cocktail list was a decade-by-decade tour through the history of alcohol. The bartenders were allowed to experiment and push the envelope. And the mood was just right: low lighting, soft music, and plenty of space for conversation. To this day, not much has changed. If you want something more private, check out The Understudy—a private drinking room with its menu.


Simple. Refined. Elegant. In just three words, you know all you need to know about Byrd. The CBD bar has a unique approach to its menu, integrating local and native ingredients. Drinks-wise, you'll find experimental cocktails and highballs with dynamic blends, including the fermented, fortified, smoked Yarra Valley Pear, with Strangelove pear soda. As well as the drinks, Byrd also has a spanking food menu which has helped cement it as one of the best cocktail bars in Melbourne. The food menu features several tasty dishes that pair perfectly with whatever is in your glass. Check out the prawn toast with pepper berry mayo or the stracciatella with Baker Bleu sourdough. 


When the clock hits a cocktail hour, you don't want to be messing around with watery martinis or a heavy-handed Negroni. But, thanks to Melbourne's stellar culinary and bar scene, there are some seriously good spots around the city to get a glass in hand. There are several spots worth pulling up a stool from hidden watering holes to some serious first-class swagger.

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