Melbourne is probably Australia’s greatest bar city, and its beer garden culture is a major contributing factor. As soon as the first wafts of summer air stir the city, people head outside – often for a drink with friends.
The city is jam packed with unique and fun watering holes, all of which are great places to hang out with friends and colleagues during long summer afternoons and evenings. And there are plenty of indoor gardens too, so winter doesn’t have to be a write-off.
So grab your jacket, because we are heading to some of the best beer gardens in Melbourne.
Location: 333 Lygon Street, Carlton, VIC 3053 Ph: (03) 9347 3985
Despite being wedged between the back of Jimmy Watson’s and the stairs to Wolf’s Lair Treetops, This nature-packed beer garden will make you feel like you have left the city.
With plants and trees all around, it is the perfect spot to grab an end of day drink with friends, and escape the busy Lygon Street just below.
Bask in the sun during the summer months. Or snuggle up to one of the heaters in the winter.
Oh. And there’s also a rooftop bar for those long, warm evenings.
Whilst it doesn’t have a beer garden, it does have a fabulously moody vibe. Read more about Deeds Brewing – Glen Iris here
Location: 89 Albert Street, Windsor, VIC 3181 Ph: (03) 9525 0239
This watering hole might be named after the royal palace in England, but it is anything but a castle. The place has more of a beach-inspired vibe, and looks like a bar that you might find in Hawaii.
Everywhere you look, there are bright and inspiring colours. And plenty of seating means that there is space for lots of people.
For those who like a bit of taxidermy, have a gander, and you might spot one of the stuffed peacocks
Fitzroy Social (reported as closed)
Location: 222 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 Ph: (03) 9825 8950
Fitzroy Social aims to please the masses and has fast become a favourite on Brunswick Street amongst locals and locals at heart. Open Wednesday – Sunday, from 11am, with late night trading until 1am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
Whether you’re out for a big night with friends or grabbing a quick drink whilst shopping, then Fitzroy Social is a good choice.
And if you love your food packed with flavour, generously served and designed for sharing and grazing then you’ve nailed it here.
Fitzroy Social has a very cool indoor beer garden with a stunning mural by Australian artist, David Bromley.
The mural was commissioned to create a one-of-a-kind artwork to compliment the venue and portray the concept that Fitzroy Social is a modern take on the classic Australian beer garden, with a funky and mythical twist.
The use of mythical creatures alongside traditional “pub” imagery gives Fitzroy Social its unique identity, and ensures the customers take away newly discovered features each time they visit.
The Fitzroy Social may have gone, but don’t despair, check out this great pub instead…
Location: 243/245 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 Ph: (03) 9416 2689
This spot is a real social hub and a bit of a party zone for those in the know.
The decor is eclectic and the vibe is lively. Depending on the night of your visit, you’ll find different themed evenings. For example, Mexican Monday has $15 Quesadillas, Parma Wednesday offers $20 Parmas including a drink, and so on. There are also DJ sets and Happy Hour promotions from 5-7pm during the week.
The Fitzroy Beer Garden can get loud, but sometimes that’s exactly what you’re looking for.
However, the real surprise – and a lovely one at that – is the fabulous beer garden out the back. Lush and green it’s an unexpected oasis and a great place to kick back with a craft beer or one of their refreshing Cocktail Jugs. We’re suckers for the Watermelon Marg with its seductive mix of tequila, triple sec, watermelon liqueur, mint & lemonade.
Give it a try, it’s one of the top beer gardens in Melbourne.
Location: 280 Sydney Road, Brunswick, VIC 3056 Ph: (03) 9380 4090
Retreat with some great live music and the perfect garden at The Retreat. The venue is known for hosting top local talent, who keep the music flowing just like the beer.
A paradoxical bar, indoors you have a busy dance floor. But then outside, is the fairy-talesque garden lined with pretty lights and a cherry blossom-like tree.
It is the best of both worlds, and one of the best spots in Melbourne to drink a beer with your best pals.
Location: 134 Lygon Street, East Brunswick, VIC 3057
Combine a coffee-shop style garden with a jungle and you get The Alderman. It kind of looks more like a remote working space than a beer garden, but this just gives it a unique feel.
It is an intimate little spot and, so more of a place to bring your partner or your closest of mates.
Grab one of their well-loved craft beers, and be amazed by all the plants which seem to be flowing out of every corner. In our opinion, it’s definitely one of the best beer gardens in Melbourne.
Never endure warm Bubble again with the Huski Wine Cooler. This premium iceless wine chiller keeps wine chilled for up to 6 hours.
Location: 644 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North, VIC 3054
The Great Northern has been supplying good memories to the people of Melbourne for well over a century, having opened its doors in 1883.
The well-known drinking spot has a huge reputation, not because of its age, but because of the beer garden. And The Great Northern claims it to be the biggest in Melbourne, if not all of Australia.
This is a must visit beer garden in Melbourne. You are sure to meet plenty of new faces and share at least a few swigs to good times.
Location: 520 High Street, Northcote, VIC 3070 Ph: (03) 9020 7940
Welcome to Thornbury has a rich history, a bright future, and is one of most fun spots for evening drinks in Melbourne.
For the majority of the 20th century the bar was a bustling car factory. And nowadays it is Melbourne’s only permanent bar and food truck stop*, as well as the second largest beer garden.
Get ready to stuff yourself with tasty foods as the venue rotates food trucks on a daily basis. And wash it all down with a glass or two and plenty of company, as the garden can hold up to 700 people.
*Incidentally, the same team have since opened Welcome To Brunswick in partnership with Manly NSW’s 4 Pines Brewing Co
If you like your drink with a view, see our review of Rooftop at QT
Location: 100 Gipps St (entrance on Islington St), Collingwood, 3066 Ph: (03) 9415 1944 & Morris Moor, 9 Cochranes Rd, Moorabbin, VIC 3189 Ph: (03) 8560 3116
The Stomping Ground Brewery is a top-notch joint to spend some time enjoying a beer with friends.
The large, open dinking area creates great atmosphere, and they have plenty of crafty beers to wet taste buds with. But if you just can’t decide, then no worries. One of their offerings is the ‘twisted-six’, which allows you try 100ml of any 6 beers on the menu. Not bad at all!
Ohh, and don’t worry about the designated driver. Hang up the keys because this place has bike racks.
If you love punchy, authentic Asian flavours, try Kekou in Richmond
Location: 60 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, 3182 Ph: (03) 83739451
With a name like ‘secret garden’, it would be fair to assume that this spot is a dainty little green space for relaxed chit chat and a sophisticated drink.
Well, you would be wrong. That is not to say that you can’t do this, but on the weekends The Secret Garden goes off! You will likely find yourself still sipping away there until 1am on a Saturday, or even 3am on a Sunday.
Cabins and booths are available for hire, and bottle service can sort your group out with the refreshers.
If you feel like enjoying a view with your drink, here are our Best Rooftop Bars in Melbourne
Location: St Kilda Sea Baths, 10/10-18 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda 3182 Ph: (03) 8534 8999
We’re off to the beach for the next of our best beer gardens in Melbourne.
Give the Captain an “aye aye” and enjoy drinks with a view. Captain Baxter delivers the goods with a stunning rooftop balcony which looks out onto the ocean, over St Kilda Beach.
Never spill a drink again with these stylish Drinking Glasses with Bamboo Lids and Glass Straws. They are perfect for cocktails by the pool or a spritz in the park.
Beer is not the only port of call here. The menu also has daily drinks and food specials, along with a great cocktail list. Seafood eaters will love Fridays thanks to $2 oysters, and brunchers can enjoy yum-cha on weekends.
Location: 322 Little Collins St, Melbourne, 3000
Stay in low gear when walking down Collins Street, because you won’t want to miss this niche bar.
You will find it squeezed between Klepner’s on the left and Pandora on the right, and there is just enough space for a few tables and plenty of plants.
Quench your thirst, or fill your belly, as the menu has both food and drinks. The pulled pork rolls are renowned, and go nicely with a ‘Henry’s Paloma’. You’ll just have to go there to discover what that is.
The Chuckle Park is a truly picturesque hole in the wall, and perfect for those Instagram snaps.
And did we mention that it is pet-friendly?
Fancy a cocktail somewhere flash? These are the Best Cocktail Bars in Melbourne
Location: 101 Flinders Ln, Melbourne, 3000 Ph: (03) 8396 5777
Huge glass windows, hanging lanterns, as well as a winding tree give The Garden State Hotel an otherworldly feel.
The four-level bar is more of a drinking ‘greenhouse’ than garden, but with light pouring in from all angles, you will feel like you are outdoors.
There is plenty of bee on offer, with favourites like
McCracken, Peroni, and Fat Yak. But their wine list is also worth a pop.
Location: 25 Easey Street, Collingwood, VIC 3066 Ph: (03) 9029 8484
Welcome to paradise. Nestled in an alley way on Easey Street, Paradise Alley is easily one of Melbourne’s coolest places to grab a cold pone.
It has a real community vibe, as the bar and a fellow business team to serve up tasty grub and drinks to guests.
The walls are clad with beautiful murals, and the artiness adds to the relaxed atmosphere.
Paradise Alley is a one of a kind venue, and you will want to go back time and time again.
Location: 274 Johnston Street, Abbotsford, VIC 3067 Ph: (03) 9416 1005
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, in this case you will want to see the doctor anyway, because Dr Morse Bar is one of the finest boozing and eating joints in the city.
Consistently ranked as one the best beer gardens in Melbourne, the Doctor prescribes quality ales, and these are customer favourites.
A thorn in the side of lots of Melbourne beer gardens is the unpredictable weather. But trust the Doctor to find a solution. The venue has roofed a sizable area of the garden, meaning punters can get a roof over their head if the rain starts to fall.
Fancy a cool drink overlooking the waters of Port Phillip Bay? See our review of Jack Rabbit Winery on the Bellarine Peninsula
Location: 23 S Wharf Promenade, South Wharf, VIC 3006 Ph: (03) 9686 5088
You will not be building any boats here, but you will at least have a view of them as you knock back a few bevvies with your friends.
The long terrace-style beer garden is impressive, and whilst sitting there you get great views out onto the water.
Fancy taking a walk after some drinks? Then stroll over to the harbour at South Wharf Promenade and you will set sights on the amazing bridge, which can only be described as an engineering masterpiece.
Location: 1 Flinders Walk, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9614 0023
We’re completing our look at the best beer gardens in Melbourne with a real summer favourite.
The Arbory Bar and Eatery has jumped on the shipping container building-style scene, and sits on the Yarra river.
Finding the place can be a little difficult, but we got you covered. From Flinders Street, take the pedestrian walkway underneath the train tracks. This will lead you to the Yarra River, and you will see the entrance to The Arbory.
Renowned for its food as well as beer, the burgers are what draw in customers, and there are options for meat eaters and veggies alike.
The venue holds something special in store for the summer months as well. They set up a floating bar on the water, rightly naming it the Arbory Afloat.
Last year Arbory Afloat adopted the whites and azure blues of the Turkish Riviera as inspiration. For the 2022/23 season, the team are planning a give patrons a Balearic Beach Club vibe.
What does this mean?
Well, the Balearic Islands include such iconic holiday/party destinations as Ibiza, Mallorca and Minorca. With this in mind, expect Spanish dishes like tapas and cocktails like Pina Coladas. Personally, I’m hoping this will be the summer that Melbourne finally embraces the joy of a decent jug of Sangria.
Arbory Afloat opens late September. Get booking and don’t forget to try the Sangria!