Tucked away in city laneways, sprawling over majestic multi-level buildings, Rooftop bars are opening more quickly than visitors can say ‘another Aperol Spritz, please'. Summer visitors are encouraged to reach for the sky and an icy cold tipple at some of these favourites.
A city centre hidden gem with an eagerly awaited rooftop Gin Garden bar that opened in February 2018. The staff here do what they do very well, and don't try to be all things to all people - hence food can brought in from neighbouring restaurants. Stick to the cocktails including the freshly juiced apples served with whatever the choice of preferred gin, vodka, rum etc. Also tiki classics, a curated whisky menu and claiming the best espresso martini in Melbourne. 13 Heffernan Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, (03) 0450 186 466.
Share tapas and artisanal Spanish wines at this contemporary bodega which has recently undergone some renovations. Bomba draws inspiration from the workers' culture of Spain's Catalan region. Sample from the ever-changing menu, sip a sherry or vermouth and stay for a cocktail at the all-weather rooftop bar overlooking leafy Lonsdale Street.
103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, (03) 9662 1558
On Swanston Street there is Goldilocks on a rooftop. It's an upstairs bar with a fairy-tale ambience of wonder and excitement. Pick out a chair that's just right, pick up a basket of tantalising treats, select a classic cocktail from the ever-changing list and let the adventures begin.
Level 4 - 264 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Fancy Hanks' rooftop neighbour is all about hyper-colour drinks and smash-and-grab eats. The rooftop Palm Springs fit-out screams Eighties fun while the free-flowing rum keeps the good times rolling, from noon ‘til night. Easy snacks like fried cauliflower with vegan ranch dressing or nachos with brisket mole and queso will keep energy up.
Level 2 - 79 Bourke St, Melbourne, 1300 274 753
Heroes Rooftop & Karaoke Bar
From the talented team behind Fancy Hank’s BBQ comes four levels of food, drinks and fun. Taking its cue from South-East Asian street food and hawker centres, Heroes whips up a steady stream of charcoal-grilled BBQ dishes to be enjoyed on the sultry rooftop terrace.
188 Bourke St, Melbourne, (03) 8639 0630
Renowned as a sports pub with an enviable Paris-end location, the Imperial reached new heights with the inspired decision to plonk a rooftop bar atop and make use of some commanding views of Parliament House. Cushioned benches and umbrellas create a comfy atmosphere, while the expansive wooden deck cries out for a flamenco-stomp back to the table.
2-8 Bourke St, Melbourne, (03) 9810 0062
Perched three storeys above the corner of Swanston and Little Bourke, Red Piggy celebrates local Victorian produce while offering a fresh angle on South East Asian classics. The food concept is a modern twist on classic South-East Asian flavours. The terrace features festoon lighting and tropical Asian jungle inspired decor including an 11-metre hanging wall garden. Inside, traditional French Indochina tiles cover the floor and handmade Vietnamese and Laotian farming baskets decorate the ceiling. Level 3, Cnr Swanston and Little Bourke, VIC, 3000
Head up the stairs at Loop Project Space & Bar to a rooftop cocktail bar that knows its city, and its public, very, very well. Sip on a decadent signature cocktail or a hard ice tea in an exotic garden setting surrounded by panoramic views of the CBD.
Level 3 - 23 Meyers Place, Melbourne, (03) 9654 0500
A favourite for after-work drinks, Madame Brussels is like Alice in Wonderland meets Alice in Accounts. Decked out with Astroturf and quaint outdoor furniture, it offers a magical view of the city. Sip pastel cocktails and foreign beers while basking in the whimsical ambience of a Gwen Stefani music video.
59 Bourke Street, Melbourne, (03) 9662 2775
Siglo is found through the unmarked door of the Melbourne Supper Club and up the grand staircase. It's something of a Melbourne institution and well worth the climb. At the top of the stairs, beautiful wines, international beers and late-night snacks await – all with table service and views of the floodlit Parliament House and Melbourne's gorgeous Princess Theatre.
Level 2 - 161 Spring Street, Melbourne, (03) 9654 6631
The Emerald Peacock
Preen your plumes for multiple levels of old-world luxe at the Emerald Peacock. Book a booth to relax the opulent Peacock Lounge, savour vintage glamour in the cocktail bar, or fly high and fan your feathers from a coveted perch on the rooftop bar.
233 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, (03) 9654 8680
The Rooftop at QT
Nestled amongst Melbourne's ever-expanding city skyline, The Rooftop at QT is a destination for a decadent soiree, a place to quench a thirst while taking in the heart and soul of Melbourne from above. The split indoor and outdoor space boasts a menu of local spirits, house-made tonic and an array of hand-crafted cocktails to please every palate.
Level 11 - 133 Russell St, Melbourne, (03) 8636 8800
Transit Roof Bar
After the curtain call, between gallery sessions or before the big game, settle into Transit and watch the world go by. Gaze out over the blinking cityscape, heritage buildings and winding Yarra River while sipping on cocktails or a fine wine above the popular Transport at Federation Square.
Level 2, Transport Hotel, Federation Square, (03) 9654 8808
Other classic Melbourne rooftops still going strong include Palmz Rooftop Bar, Campari House, and Rooftop Bar. While Melburnians - always on the lookout for new adventure - are waiting for more news on opening of Cheek restaurant's new Swanston Street rooftop, Peaches, as well as State of Grace's King Street rooftop slated for opening early 2019.
For visitors with a fear of stairs, there’s plenty of other bars to entertain those on the hunt for everything from a colourful cocktail to locally brewed beers and wine.
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