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City Guide

The 12 Best Bars in Melbourne Right Now

From classic cocktails to drinks that come with their own QR code.

The photogenic Red Cadillac Spritz at Boilermaker House.

The photogenic Red Cadillac Spritz at Boilermaker House.

Source: Boilermaker House

After 12 months, Melbourne cocktail enthusiasts have declared victory over one of the world’s longest lockdowns. 

A year on from the last of six citywide closures, evening and weekend crowds—not to mention day drinkers —have roared back to take over barstools and tables around town. Melbourne’s night economy is doing even better business than New York’s, with payments data from Square showing that 32% of transactions occur in the late evening, slightly higher than its larger US rival.

But it’s not all about downtown: As Melburnians embrace a more flexible working culture, busier neighborhoods are full of surprises, from quietly hip Northcote to Port Melbourne in the south. Meanwhile, mainstay haunts Fitzroy and Collingwood are as vibrant as ever. Offices in the central business district may be emptier, but glitzy venues that opened during the grim days of lockdown, such as Gimlet at Cavendish House, are abuzz.  Most of the old favorites survived the pandemic and they’re ready to pour out drinks in the run-up to Christmas.