Drinks News

Melbourne's new (and new-ish) bars to visit in the summer

Don't think Melburnians can "do" summer? These drinking spots will make you think again.

By Audrey Bourget
Arbory Afloat on the Yarra River
Melburnians pretend to embrace the city's rain, hail and wind. But months of inclement weather take their toll on the city's denizens, and as summer approaches they look forward to nothing more than to bask in the sun with a drink in hand.
The newly opened (or recently reopened) bars of Melbourne know the drill: easy-to-drink beers, low-intervention wines, and cocktails, be they tropical, gin-focused or non-alcoholic. From a Miami-themed floating bar to a secret rooftop garden here's where to drink in during Melbourne's summer.

Arbory Afloat

The Yarra River pontoon bar returns for another summer of cabana-lounging and tropical cocktails – have your blood orange Margarita shaken to order, or opt for your choice of Spritz dispensed from taps and served by the glass or carafe. Executive chef Nick Bennett's Miami-inspired menu pulls from the city's Cuban community and seafood spoils – and last season's remarkable fish and chips remain. Add Aperol and mojito-flavoured paletas (Mexican iceblocks) for cool relief.
What we're drinking: The frozen Piña Colada, Miami Pink Gin Spritz with grapefruit.
2 Flinders Walk, Melbourne, Vic
Open daily 11am-1am
Arbory Afloat. Photo: Simon Shiff

Tetto di Carolina

For a rooftop bar with swagger, just head to this South Yarra spot above daytime café Cantina Carolina. There's a short, sharp roster of cocktails, an ever-changing selection of wines by the glass and a hefty by-the-bottle list. They're easy matches with Matteo Tine's Italian-leaning inventive food menu which includes fried duck-liver parfait cannoli and skewers of Jurassic quail spiedini. With live jazz on Sunday afternoons, this is summer sipping made easy.
What we're drinking: The Wall Street, a sandalwood-infused Bourbon cocktail, or the booze-free Rhubarb Fizz.
Level 1/48 Toorak Rd, South Yarra, Vic
Open Wed 4pm-11 pm, Thu 4pm-1am, Fri-Sat 2pm-1 am, Sun 2pm-11pm

Moon Dog World

Preston's craft beer playground opened in October with its own lagoon, waterfall, a retractable roof and room for 700-plus drinkers. And then there's the 72 beer taps where you'll find the Moon Dog core range – two lagers, two ales – alongside more experimental brews like a Pine-Lime Icecream IPA.
What we're drinking: The David Boysenbowie, a boysenberry sour ale.
32 Chifley Dr, Preston, Vic
Open Mon–Wed 11am-10 pm, Thu 11am-11 pm, Fri-Sat 11am-1 am, Sun 11am-11pm


Behind their streetfront venue, the Bar Liberty team has opened a courtyard drinking spot where the vibe is casual and fun, the menu brief, but the quality of the food and drink uncompromised. There are beers available by tap or tinnie, interesting wines by the glass or pouch (pouch!), though if it's choice you crave the full Bar Liberty wine list is available on request. A handful of bar snacks including oysters with golden-kiwi vinegar and sourdough flatbread with mussel dip mean make this a summer-ready hang out.
What we're drinking: A glass of Kind Folk's wild-fermented sauvignon blanc.
234 Johnston St, Fitzroy, Vic
Open Thu-Sat 5pm-10 pm

QT’s Secret Garden Bar

Thanks to a partnership with Healesville gin distillery Four Pillars, QT Melbourne's herb garden has transformed into an intimate rooftop bar with city views. Enter via the laneway next to the hotel, ride the elevator to the upper-level kitchen, and walk through the doors to this leafy urban oasis. The cocktails, as you can expect, are big on gin.
What we're drinking: The Wild Strawberries cocktail made with strawberries and coriander from the garden.
133 Russell St, Melbourne. Entry via Portland Ln.
Open Thu-Fri 5pm-late