Sip cocktails high above the city with our round-up of the best elevated bars in Melbourne.
The Richmond Club Hotel
Set within Melbourne’s Sports and Entertainment Precinct, this historic pub has seen its fair share of celebration and heartbreak. But draw your eyes away from the screens and you’ll be rewarded with glistening views across Richmond. The rooftop booths are perfect for large groups, as are the cocktails jugs.
100 Swan Street, Richmond
Rooftop at QT Melbourne
QT Melbourne’s 11th-storey bar, Rooftop at QT, offers views of Melbourne’s high-rise dotted skyline, situated as it is in the heart of the CBD. The space is all gussied up with cool Tait furniture in a muted palette of matte red, black and olive green. There’s an extensive wine and beer list, and the cocktail menu is a best described as greatest hits with a unique spin. A QT Rooftop G&T (West Winds Sabre Gin, elderflower quinine syrup, fresh lime, sugar, cucumber sparkling water, and rosemary) is the perfect summer-in-the-city refresher. There’s also a list of inventive bar snacks, such as minced Thai beef on toast, polenta-crumbed onion rings with squid-ink mayo and fried chicken bao with kimchi and American cheese.
133 Russell Street, Melbourne
Naked in the Sky
Ascend the stairs through the Naked for Satan restaurant/bar to this spectacular rooftop terrace. Views extend across the city to the Dandenong Ranges, providing the perfect backdrop for an afternoon drink. Choose from house-infused vodka, craft beer or Spanish rosé to accompany baked camembert and Basque prawn skewers.
285 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Wolf’s Lair & Drinking Haus & Treetops
This tranquil rooftop, tucked away in Carlton, is one of Melbourne’s best-kept secrets. There’s craft beer, classic libations and a delicious line-up of pizzas (think smoked salmon, roast pumpkin or tiger prawns), to be enjoyed beneath a row of umbrellas. Bottoms up!
Jimmy Watson Lane, Carlton
Gracing the rooftop of Curtin House, the main draw here is the cinema, which screens art-house, cult classics and new-release films throughout summer. The venue is fully licensed and there’s also a burger stand and gourmet ice-creams to keep hunger pangs at bay. Chilly? No worries, you can purchase a custom-made blanket for just $5.
Level 7, Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street
Climb the grand staircase of the European to find Siglo, the city’s little slice of Paris. Dine on late-night snacks (caviar anyone?) paired with a substantial wine list and pick of international beers. The outlook over old-world Melbourne, from St. Patrick’s Cathedral to Parliament House, is well worth it.
Level 2, 161 Spring Street
Don your fancy dress and head to this Alice in Wonderland-inspired terrace. Fitted out with garden chaises and faux grass, the place is usually packed with grinning revellers. Staff, wearing their tennis whites, will serve you cheese plates, cupcakes and fruity cocktails, as you take in views over east Melbourne.
Level 3, 59-63 Bourke Street
Partial to vermouth? At this Spanish style worker’s bar there are 12 varieties to choose from, including local drops from the Hunter Valley and Victoria, rounded out by Chambéry, Piedmont and Catalonia. Pair it with delicious tapas such as cheesy manchego croquettes or chorizo sliders. Upstairs, a smart retractable roof compensates for Melbourne’s fickle weather.
103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Perched above Noodle Kingdom in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, this jungle-themed rooftop is perfect for sunny afternoons. There’s a rotating cocktail menu with adventurous flavour combinations, which could include anything from capsicum to strawberry jam. For the traditionalists, there’s also a steady list of craft beer and a killer cheese board.
Level 4, 264 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Transit Rooftop Bar
Located on the brink of the Yarra River, Transit has become a hotspot with both locals and travellers, drawn by its impressive gaze across the twinkling cityscape. Sink into one of its plush lounge chairs while enjoying live jazz and a pick from its vast martini list. Shaken or stirred?
Level 2, Transport Hotel, Federation Square
The Local Taphouse
This revered rooftop in St Kilda specialises in local, limited-run beers. Novices can order a tasting paddle, or choose from 20 brews on tap and an extensive range of bottled ales, stouts, pilsners and ciders. Drop by on a Monday for Melbourne’s longest-running indie comedy night.
184 Carlisle Street, St Kilda East
Top image: Tess Kelly