Seven new Melbourne bars you really need to know about

Melbourne’s bar scene is perhaps the most influential in the country, and it’s a constant reference point for creativity and culture, always moving forward. That forward movement has resulted in some pretty epic openings in the past few months so from Fitzroy to Cheltenham we bring you seven of our favourite new and new-ish bars that you really need to know about.

Bar Liberty (Fitzroy)


Hook: Brand new bar from ex-Attica and ex-Rockwell & Sons teams. ‘Nuff said.
Address: 234 Johnston St, Melbourne
Social Media: Facebook

The pedigree behind this bar is made up of Rockwell & Sons and Attica (recently named number one in the peer-voted Australia’s Top 100 Restaurants). They couldn’t lower the expectations if they tried. It opened up last month and already has been swarming with hungry, thirsty punters filling up the two rooms that have so far been decked out (plans to expand the space to upstairs and outside will be realised later on). The food is unsurprisingly a hit with the likes of cured buttermilk scallops, raw beef, and pickled cherries on the menu with an imaginative drinks list. Order up a Briny Bay cocktail that’s been built with Vodka, olive brine, and bay oil from Banjo Harris Plane’s drinks list and you’ll be in love in no time.

Heartbreaker (Melbourne CBD)


Hook: Melbourne’s latest ‘it’ bar for good, sweaty times, craft beer, and bottled cocktails
Address: 234A Russell St, Melbourn
Social Media: Facebook

Heartbreakers is a simple, no-nonsense dive bar in the heart of Chinatown with a strong focus on craft beer and pre-mixed cocktails. It’s destined to become the party bar in the area for after-work sessions, complemented by the woody poolroom and vintage, raw rock-and-roll aesthetic. Having been open for a few months now (it opened around August last year), there’s already a huge hospitality following to fills up Heartbreakers in an instant but the decently sized space always has room for more.

Embla (Melbourne CBD)

A photo posted by @embla_melbourne on

Hook: Unpretentious Australian wine bar showcasing the country’s best drops
Address: 122 Russell Street, Melbourne
Social Media: Facebook

This awesome wine bar opened up in December last year, serving up rainbow trout and spiced lamb neck out of a wood oven and grill alongside a healthy list of cheese & charcuterie and one of the best new wine lists you’ll find in the city. The wine bar has a sleek, rustic look about it with a very large stock of classic wines – bottles and by the glass – with a commitment to showcasing the best of the best when it comes to Australian wine. Australia’s wine scene is already incredibly strong, but it’s dedicated wine bars like Embla that keep it on its toes. There are plans to open up a more restaurant-style space upstairs.

Bad Shepard Brewing Co. (Cheltenham)

Hook: Craft beer and low-and-slow BBQ in a surprising location
Address: 386 Reserve Road, Cheltenham
Social Media: Instagram

Bad Shepard Brewing Co. is a micro-brewery a bit out of the CBD, playing with the low-and-slow style of barbecue to complement their huge selection of craft beers with American-style meat eats. Head along and crab some Canadian pig candy then strap yourself in for a session exploring seasonal craft beers like Raspberry Wheat Ale, Hazelnut Brown, Outmeal Stout, and their top-seller, The American Pale Ale. It’s like an oasis in the centre of all that industrial noise, and the area is richer for it. An added bonus is that Wolf of the Willows is on the same premise, so there’s a good reason to make the trek here and stay for awhile, exploring two breweries that are really keen on continually improving Melbourne’s rich craft beer scene.

Marion (Fitzroy)


Hook: One of Melbourne’s cosiest new wine bars with exceptional food
Address: 53 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Social Media: Facebook

Melbourne’s Marion wine bar continues to be one of the most popular new openings in town, having first made it’s mark late last year. It’s but another notch in Andrew McConnell’s (Cutler & Co, Moon Under Water) and he hasn’t taken it lightly, keeping it up to his standard with good food, and even better wine. Cutler’s Allan Eccles takes care of the eats and they are no less interesting than at McConnell’s other venues. Try the mortadella and ox tongue strips or the potato and milk-poached salted cod if you’re feeling adventurous, but there is plenty to choose from, necessary because there are so many wines to mix and match the food with. If you really want to hone your skills with food-and-wine pairing and become to city’s next superstar sommelier then you just need to spend a few days here, there are enough tools for you thanks to Liam O’Brien, Marion’s sommelier who has put together a list full of both bold, adventurous wines and classics.

Pretty Mama (Melbourne CBD)


Hook: Caribbean influenced food and drink with a lively atmosphere
Address: 201t/220 Spencer St, Melbourne
Social Media: Facebook

Venetians shutters and blue accents, Pretty Mama is definitely one of the most attractive new bars to open up in Melbourne’s CBD. They’ve got a large space for 100 guests and a Carribean theme done right with both the food and the drinks sticking to island essentials, so expect coconut cocktails and twice-cooked plantains. Owners Michael Cotter and Shae Silvestro have fashioned it as a tiki resto-bar with a Brazilian-style grill to add a bit of twists, bringing in grape vines and both apple and pepper woods.

Thundercat Supper Club (Windsor)


Hook: Late-bar hidden inside Tokyo Tina
Address: 66A Chapel St, Windsor
Social Media: Facebook

An sort-of extension of Tokyo Tina, Thundercat Supper Club opened up late last year and has been going strong as it storms towards the mid-way point of 2016. It opens late (10pm) and focuses on hip hop, Whisky, and good booze-food. The bar menu is available until 1am so grab some Karaage corn balls and some sticky bulgogi beef before going through the cocktail list. Melbourne loves these venue-within-a-venue digs and Thundercat Supper Club is definitely proving to be amongst to best in that field. Use this chance to drink all the Japanese Whisky you can, or order up our favourite, the Shimo Sour cocktail which has Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum, Cointreau, mandarin, cranberry bitters and fresh lime.

All images credited to their respective venues.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.