Notorious for its bar culture, Melbourne casts a conglomerate of establishments for potent cocktails and graze-worthy canapés that will take you from one side of the Yarra to the other in an evening.
From tiny enclaves destined for date night, to the electric throng of renowned institutions in the city’s most notorious dining districts, we’re overwhelmed by choice.
To combat the indecision one faces when dealt the task of booking after work drinks, we’ve curated a Harrolds shortlist of impeccable watering holes, as well as some dressing inspiration for the occasion.
Melbourne casts a conglomerate of establishments for potent cocktails
53 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
One look at the sprawling pillow of burrata (sloshed in yellow nectarine, shiso and smoked chilli) and Marion will have you enamoured. Sit street-side à Europe and sip a tipple (or five) at this Northside icon. Loved for their locally-sourced wines and flexible dining ethos, Marion spins a Melbourne twist on the traditional wine bar to make for never-fail knockoffs.
9-11 Cremorne St, Cremorne
In the heart of Richmond’s creative neighbouring burb, Cremorne, Frdédéric sits neatly tucked away from the bustle of Swan Street. This bona fide French bar-meets-restaurant hybrid splits a laissez-faire drinking space (on the left) from a fine-dining arena (on the right). Imbibe a few spritzes and take a punt at the vin list on the bar stools at Fréd’s before sitting down next door for an impeccable steak frites.
976 High St, Armadale
Armadale’s ritzy wine room is a stalwart of good fun and great food. A jovial take on the archaic French bistro, Bouzy slings copious drinks specials, fresh oysters and more substantial plates for those in the market to stay a while. Expect a très French wine list with bottles racked along the wall for pre-pour perusal, and the infamous béarnaise sauce from sibling venue Entrecôte.
134 Ormond Rd, Elwood
This beachside, brick-laden bar comes replete with old-world charm and new-world tapas. Pair warm olives and a smorgasbord of cheeses with worldwide wine varietals and technicolour cocktails. Ideal for date night, The Milton combines cosy appeal with indisputable coolness, somewhere refreshingly a little left-of-field.
172-174 Faraday St, Carlton
Five levels and too many wines to count, Carlton’s favourite corner dining mecca is a must-visit for Melburnians new and old. Load up charming small plates, followed by a whole-fish main and expertly-plated desserts, while keeping a close eye on the table for wine top-up duties. Relentlessly acclaimed for ‘finessed but not finicky food’, CWR is a hideaway of laid-back merriment, seasonal bites and one of the most diverse wine lists going.