Melbourne Bar Secrets

Melbourne’s favourite bar guide is back with 52 great new bars in the CBD and inner-city. The unrivalled role model for other Australian capitals, the bar scene here continues to evolve and mature.   Cocktail venues are still going strong but more and more specialists are starting to emerge; bars devoted to rum, whiskey, sake, craft beer, bourbon and aperitifs are just for starters.  And of course there are the laneway, rooftop and basement bars that made Melbourne a drinking destination.

The worlds of the bartender and barista collide as more and more slashies appear on the scene – usually of the bar/cafe/restaurant variety. You can’t be all things to all people but with all-day Bloody Marys it hardly matters. Some multi-task so successfully we struggled to decide which guide to put them in!

That said, specialisation is another key trend. Cocktail bars continue to be popular but many venues are focussing on particular sections of the liquor cabinet. The last few years have seen bars devoted to whiskey, bourbon, rum, aperitifs and digestifs spring up around town, some almost as educational as they are enjoyable. Meanwhile, craft beer has been an explosive category and infiltrating tap lists everywhere.

The Prohibition era also still proves to be a rich seam of inspiration for operators but history shows us that the only constant is change. Will the past continue to dominate the future? All in good time.