Six luxuriously decadent cocktail bars to perk up your time in Melbourne

By Chris Williams, updated 1 year ago in Travel and party / In Australia

Eau de Vie bar in Melbourne

Who doesn’t love a good cocktail? If you happen to be in Melbourne, what better way to soak up the city than to marinate gently in the finest booze based concoctions money can buy? Release your inner lush and indulge yourself… responsibly, of course.

Whether you feel like you’re living in a hairdryer, or you’ve been locked inside an esky, Melbourne is well rehearsed at nurturing enticing indoor environments away from its climatic extremes. So, it stands to reason that some of the city’s most decadent experiences occur within delightfully decorated interiors… oh, and with artfully mixed up booze to make staying indoors all the more palatable.

If you’re from the city, or have lived there long enough, perhaps you’re familiar with just how fastidious purveyors of fine products tend to be — coffee isn’t coffee unless it’s brewed in scientific laboratory equipment by a man with a handlebar moustache. You say hipster, we say devotee. Either way, it’s consistently good shit, even if you are paying six bucks for a grab and go on the way to top up your Myki.

When it comes to bartenders, mixologists, or whatever the preferred moniker for a curator of scrumptiously intoxicating beverages, there’s an unrivalled level of perfectionism across the board. Let’s face it… Melbourne’s cocktail makers are hardcore nerds. And bless them for it! A dash of passion for presentation, a splash of consideration for creativity, and a flash of flair for flavour are key ingredients for serving up uncompromising quality in a glass… or a jam jar, a copper cup, an antique vase, maybe a shoe…

Here’s a rundown of some of the best cocktail bars in Melbourne to visit.

1. The Everleigh

Despite being named after a turn of the 20th century brothel in Chicago, you don’t get much classier than The Everleigh. You’ll find it roosting seductively above Belle’s Hot Chicken on Gertrude Street, just a stone’s throw from the edge of Melbourne’s CBD. And you know it’s sophisticated when it’s seating room only, your drinks are whisked away to the freezer while you go for a wee, and the crystal clear ice is custom made over three days using purified water in a state of the art filtration system. This is the pinnacle of a classic cocktail experience. Demurely dripping in well-deserved awards, you’re in for a treat. Dress to impress. And impressed, you will be.

the main bar at the everleigh melbourne
Image credit: The Everleigh

2. Eau De Vie

Down an alleyway, behind an unmarked door lies a hidden gem whose name means booze in French. Literally translating to “water of life”, Eau De Vie is infamous for its flamboyant, and occasionally flammable cocktails served with theatrical finesse. Dry ice, drama and props are plentiful. Plus, if whisky’s your thing, there’s a special showcase with cheeses to match every Tuesday. Apparently Sydney has one too, though you’re probably better off at the beach!

bartender stirs a cocktail at eau de vie melbourne
Image credit: Eau De Vie

3. Bar Americano

So tiny, so cute and so classic… but no sitting, no cash and no espresso martinis! With a capacity for around only 10 patrons at a time, Bar Americano may be compact, but the drinks pack a remarkably good punch. In fact, it recently made it in to Phaidon’s experts’ guide to the best bars in the world, Where Bartenders Drink. If it’s a little too cosy, fear not – its house Americano cocktail recipe might just be the finest ever created, and you can buy it bottled online to enjoy anywhere at your convenience.

Bar Americano cocktail bar Melbourne
Image credit: Bar Americano

4. The Attic at Black Pearl Bar

Look, it’s a bit fancy, and the doorbell entry system just reeks of hipster. But for all of the atmospheric quirks, The Attic at Black Pearl Bar, accessed via the narrow stairway at the back, is a true delight nestled away in Fitzroy. It’s a secret bar inside another bar that won a place on The World’s 50 Best Bars in 2016. Table service helps make the experience all the more relaxed, but if they’re still serving the duck nachos, buy it and buckle up! Your night’s about to escalate.

bartender stirs a cocktail at the attic in the black pearl melbourne
Image credit: The Black Pearl

5. Naked For Satan

“Let’s get naked for Satan” was secret code for Fitzroy locals during The Great Depression. Intense heat from Russian migrant Leon Satanovich’s copper boilers in a disused warehouse warranted stripping down to your undies. If you were after cheap vodka, it was well worth getting your kit off and lending a hand to the secret distillery. Still decked out with copper pipes and vintage pornography today, Naked For Satan specialises in custom infused, flavoured vodkas. The pintxos (yummy little finger foods on a cocktail stick) are perfectly suited for when you’ve had a few. Don’t miss the spectacular city vistas upstairs in the Naked in the Sky rooftop bar.

Naked for Satan bar Melbourne drinks glasses on tray
Image credit: Naked for Satan

6. Double Happiness

Not only is Double Happiness the name of an innovative sexual health promotion campaign for PrEP and undetectable viral load, it’s also the name of a well established bar on the edge of Melbourne’s CBD. It’s allegedly churned out 181,000 espresso martinis during its years of service. Hip-hop vibes and any cocktail with house-made lychee vodka make a perfect way to start or end the night.

cocktail at double happiness bar melbourne
Image credit: Double Happiness

For those occasional times Melbournians do choose to leave their beloved city, finding a coffee they won’t bitch about is nigh on impossible. But take them to a decent bar and let them explain just how Melbourne it’s trying to be, and they’ll be as happy as Larry! This works especially well if you’re trying to get them into bed… or maybe that’s just us?