As much as we love our hometown of Sydney, Melbourne simply offers a ridiculous number of fantastic watering holes. While compiling our list of the greatest gin bars in Melbourne, we began to really question whether or not every other structure in the city also had a bar. Naturally, the top gin bars in Melbourne will answer the request for a traditional martini, Gimlet, or other potent botanical drink.
Similarly, we are confident that the true enthusiasts among you will be pleased to uncover some rare gin to enjoy neat, the one which you simply never thought to come through in the flesh — introducing the Gin Library Bars in Melbourne. As with a superb spirits menu or a thriving juniper plant, this list appears to expand every year.
FAQs Gin Bars In Melbourne
Gin joints first started in Melbourne during the gold rush era of the 1800s, but their modern equivalents are far more refined. Speakeasy bars, rooftops and urban distilleries are now all home to some of Australia’s best gin. Pull up a seat at one of these Melbourne gin bars.
With Australian botanicals thrown in for good measure, this is truly a modern gin made for Melburnians. Brunswick mates Matt and Dave travelled the world to bring back the very best techniques to their ‘Premium Dry Gin’. A simple yet premium handmade offering, it’s the perfect supplement in a negroni for a change of pace.
Most gins are made by steeping botanicals in neutral grain spirit and then distilling them. Alternatively, botanicals can be put in a botanical basket in a still, so the alcohol vapours permeate them before condensing and becoming a liquid.
Gin is usually made from a base of grain, such as wheat or barley, which is first fermented and then distilled.
Gin as we know it today, is a distilled alcohol that by definition must include the characteristic aroma and flavour of the juniper berry. Even the name itself is derived from the Dutch word for juniper 'genever', or the French 'genièvre'.
Top Gin Bars In Melbourne
Gin, gin, gin, the best! Since the question of locating this enchanted fluid in our fine metropolis has been begging to be discussed, we felt it was time to do so. All the gin you can swill, whether you prefer it muddled with tonic, mixed with fruit, or sipped neat is right here need at the seven best Melbourne bars for gin-lovers. Sip sip!
Widely regarded as the best bar in Port Melbourne,
At Clooney Kitchen & Bar, you can get a terrific meal, a few drinks, and a fantastic time. They were voted 2019's best new bar by Time Out and are the perfect location to unwind after work or meet up with pals.
This Melbourne gin bar is proud of its dedication to using only the highest quality ingredients, which are reflected in its refined but uncomplicated drink menu. Featuring Nosferatu Venous Orange Gin, Citrus Cane, Lemon, Tonic Water, and Yuzu Foam, the Gin & Yuzu Spiderman is a must-try.
We decided to go with the most logical option first. Gin Palace, tucked away on Russell Place, is a haven for gin enthusiasts. Low lighting and velvety couches make this the ideal setting for either a fast gin stop-in or a night of enjoyment. Gins from all over the world are available, and the bartenders are, of course, gin experts, so you'll never be bored. Throughout the year, there are a number of excellent gin-related events that you may attend.
This sleazy, basement-level cocktail lounge is a grand dame of Melbourne's bar scene, where patrons have been getting loose and sloshed for almost 20 years. Its timeless allure and unflinching snark make it the undeniable winner of the Legend Award. As the evening progresses, Vernon Chalker's mysterious speakeasy becomes the prefered drinking destination for the city's bartenders, as well as tie-loosened clerks and clusters of visitors. After a few cocktails, the lavish use of velvet, tapestry, and leopard print takes on a bordello-chic air, and the steep costs seem more bearable.
Snug, couch-lined alcoves invite Martini-fueled shenanigans, and clusters of chaises longues suggest lounging around is encouraged. The bartenders here can make you a delicious drink at any hour of the day or night and in any frame of mind. Naturally, gin is at the centre of the Palace's repertory for getting the party started, and there's a book's worth of juniper juices from all over the world to choose from.
Gin comes in a wide variety of styles and origins, from the traditional London Dry to the original Dutch genevers to the Australian boutique versions created with native botanicals, not to mention the craft American gins and the fruity sweet and sticky gins from the Netherlands. You can fool yourself into thinking you're gaining an education while getting sloshed because to the included taste notes and historical context that accompany each entry.
Choose the Wet and Dirty Vermouth if you want your Martinis dry, as it contains no vermouth and instead features a sour splash of brine and three tiny green olives on a skewer. If the selection of sixty-odd bottles overwhelms you, have the skilled staff whip together a special drink for you, such a hefty Gimlet prepared with FIve Palms Navy Strength Gin.
Actually, when former Gin Palace head waiter Shaun Byrne asked for something harsher for his clientele, owner of Four Pillars Stuart Gregor credited Gin Palace with the creation of this potent distillation. This is, indeed, the kind of legend that inspires other legends; may it continue to do so for as long as possible.
Healesville, only an hour's drive outside of Melbourne, is the quaint setting for Four Pillars Distillery, the world's most beloved brand of gin. Sit at the bar and enjoy the view of the copper stills while you wait for your tasting paddle of the world-class cuisine that awaits you. Remember to appoint a sober driver.
G&Tea Gin Garden
Located on the crossroads of Kerr Street and Elizabeth Street, Fitzroy's G&Tea Gin Garden is a veritable treasure trove of gin. The unassuming location has a wide variety of speciality gins and is now hosting a Jamaican food outlets pop-up restaurant run by Yarraville's Bax Food Co. under the name Boss Man Food. Stumped for a drink of choice? Inquire about a custom drink!
Any bar that chooses as its name the year in which the word "cocktail" was first documented in usage is obviously serious about its drinks. 1806 is not only a gin company, but they know their stuff when it comes to this lovely botanical. This is one of the few bars in the city where you can get the mother among all gin drinks, the Corpse Reviver #2. Not for the faint of heart, as it contains gin, aromatic bitters, Lillet Blanc, and Absinthe.
The well-trained bartenders here are more than willing to serve up any drink you can think of, and they also welcome custom orders depending on customer preferences. If you're in the mood for a singular spirit, 1806 has an amazing back bar, and if you can't decide, they offer a variety of whisky flights.
Premium ingredients and indeed the freshest flowers and mixers are used to create drinks of the greatest quality. A textbook Gimlet, with its ideal balance - sweet and sour, piquant and invigorating, is as simple for a bartender to prepare as any of their own unique cocktails. They place a high value on the craft of crafting cocktails, but that doesn't mean having a drink isn't a social event. Sandy on My Mind, a caramel butter hot drink made in-house, tastes like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup but with booze instead.
The staff here pays as much care to the Pina Colada as they do the Negroni, and you can expect them to be served to you in ideal proportions. There are plush leather chesterfields plus red velvet bar stools to complete the atmosphere of old-world elegance.
The use of deep reds, blacks, and dark wood creates the atmosphere of a dazzling, bygone cabaret. No matter what kind of mood you're in, the bartenders and front desk workers are always pleasant and quick to serve your needs. You can see what's going on in the main bar from wherever you sit, thanks to the balcony on the mezzanine level.
Visit the Understudy, a subterranean establishment that is essentially the "1806" of the upside down. 1806 is as traditional as it gets, while Understudy is avant-garde and unpredictable. Irish poitin (basically Irish moonshine) and Sri Lankan arrack are only two of the rare and underserved spirits that you may find at this pub. Talented bartenders at The Understudy use these spirits in unexpected ways to create new takes on old favourites or completely original concoctions.
Like a secret passage, the menu at this bar is organised by nation of origin, with drinks from all around the world represented. There is a maximum of eight beverages available at any given moment, but the only thing that is consistent is the regular introduction of new drinks. Guests may expect the same high standard of service and meticulous attention to detail at The Understudy as they would at the more upscale venue above, but the beverages menu is an entirely new and delightful animal.
Bijou Bottle Store
Nestled in the heart of the CBD, this gin bar in Melbourne also doubles as a bottle shop. Located in a building that has welcomed guests since 1901, this is the perfect setting to spend a lazy weekend afternoon. Bijou Bottle Shop has an extensive, ever-changing assortment of gin-based drinks and spirits.
This upscale cocktail lounge was created by Michael Madrusan, who is known worldwide for his work at the bar Milk & Honey. Once all 30 customers are seated, the bartenders can focus on serving up the excellent cocktails that have made this place famous. Their gin drinks are excellent, but everything else, notably the service, is spot on and devoid of wank.
Bad Frankie, the only bar in the world to focus solely on Australian-made spirits, is like the Australian history professor you never had but always wanted. Bad Frankie, named after the cretin who enacted the ban on the small-pot really in Australia, which stifled any chance of a humanistic craft liquor industry for 150 years, stocks a wide variety of the outstanding white and brown supernatural beings now being created in the land, and its helpful staff is well-versed in all of them. Experiment with something out of the ordinary and feel good about yourself for helping a neighbourhood business.
Bad Frankie, one of Melbourne's trendiest gin bars, is strictly a "insiders only" establishment. This trendy Fitzroy bar is making waves with its extensive regional drinks list, which includes more than eighty gins made in Australia. Cocktails like the "Pepper Berry and Quandong Fizz" have native ingredients sourced from all over Australia, from Collingwood to Kyneton. This is irrefutable evidence that everything you require is already at your fingertips.
When out-of-town friends, in Melbourne for just one night,
If you're wondering where to grab a drink, Romeo Street is the place to be. Why is that? A laneway setting, obscure signage, civilised hours, and educated service from tattoos and/or bearded barfolk are all standard fare for a Melbourne watering hole, but this one goes above and beyond the norm to reach truly high heights by virtue of its near-obsessive attention to detail.
The space now known as Romeo Lane was previously the front parlour of a home built in the 19th century. The space is small, has a community table in the middle, an open fireplace, and is lighted by a flash of red led from the Pellegrini's sign across the way, creating an intense and flattering closeness. Beautiful cut crystal glasses and decanters, as well as the subtle shine of dark wood, reflect the flickering candlelight.
When your Martini arrives at your table, it will be served at the ideal temperature and dilution, and it will be accompanied by a little (cut) glass dish in which to store the pits from your olives. It has an undeniably retro atmosphere, yet drinking here is more like drinking in an other historical period. That's where the alcoholic beverages, such as cocktails, come in handy.
Both owners have a refined taste for moderate libations. Correct glassware, excellent ice, minimal garnishes, and only two or three ingredients are used as a tribute to classic cocktail tradition. These ingredients were picked not for their brand name, price, or prestige, but rather because they were the best for making the cocktail.
On the other hand, Ambroz and Jones aren't the type to follow convention. They might make a sweet and smokey marvel by combining Mezcal to Amaro Montenegro or passionfruit, or they might modify a Mai Tai by changing it into a mist so when weather turns hot. They make their beverages with the same meticulous care as their Martinis, and they serve them with the same unflappable grace.
Romeo Lane's food list reflects the same sobriety. This is a small, sharable platter of charcuterie, such as saucisson paired with mustard and coriander, and a well-respected cheese, typically French, served with mandarin oranges or pears. Succinct and to the point. Corresponding perfectly with one another.
A great bar has positive effects on your mood beyond only the alcoholic ones. Whether you've had a fantastic day or a disastrous one, they're the ones you should go home to. Everything you want in a hero, Romeo Lane. The people there know how to run a bar like it was meant to be run, while keeping the effort behind the scenes to avoid attracting attention.
Four Pillars Gin Distillery
Healesville, in Melbourne's Yarra Valley, is home to the craft distillery Four Pillars Gin. They have been in the gin-making business since 2013, so they have some experience with botanicals. They have always based their gins on the four components of great gin, from the original, multi-award-winning Rare Dry Gin to the single gin in the world designed especially for a Negroni.
All of the traditional, exotic, and native botanicals, the purest water from the Yarra Valley, the copper stills, and the enormous amount of attention and affection to detail that goes into making each bottle. Since this is mostly a gin distillery, getting into mischief will get you nowhere, but it is a lovely site to sample some excellent gins.
Though Berlin Bar doesn't stock a wide variety of gins, they do serve a great Luftwaffe Sour that uses gin in place of whisky and features a generous helping of Tanqueray. There's also the fact that, regardless of what side you enter, you'll have a very different gin experience based on whether the bar is decorated like East or West Germany.
Union Electric Bar & Rooftop Gin Garden
A hidden Melbourne pub that previously featured exuberant Latin American music and margaritas became a local institution. There's a reason they call themselves "Union Electric Bar & Skyline Gin Garden"; they have a fantastic selection of gin cocktails in Melbourne. The menu centres on fresh fruits and vegetables and includes tempting additions like raspberry malt shrub, elderflower, and micro herbs. It's important to remember that the bar does not provide food, so do not go there intending to eat.
We'll raise a banner for a revolution like Smith Street's meteoric rise beyond Dollar Shop Alley to the avenue of deliciousness.
Saint Crispin has opened in the space formerly occupied by Cavallero, and it is a sleek Mod-Oz restaurant where hunting rifle chefs Jack Grbac and Scott Pickett of the Estelle are starting to make a slight plate coup by serving up two- or three-course meals with confident plating of texturally adventurous dishes. Please join me in extending a warm welcome to the return of dinner's three mainstays: the appetiser, the main course, and the dessert.
They haven't changed the basic layout of the space at all; it's still white and wooden with warm lighting, and the long, gorgeous bar still dominates one side. The other side features a row of bareback tables. They've added slick service, inventive cocktails, and Temptations music to keep things swinging. The emphasis on technique extends to the menu as it does to Estelle. You'll be nibbling on sour hibiscus chocolates and salty black walnut macarons as an amuse-bouche because, why not? Crackling is a delicious appetiser that resembles a blizzard of crunchy, sumac-dusted hog clouds that snaps and fizz like enormous prawn crackers. It's bizarre without getting into full-on molecular whizbangery mode.
The chefs here are pros who can tell the difference between a delightful meal and one that requires too much effort, so you can rest easy. Why don't you try some black mushrooms and some Parmesan jelly? Propped up more by cloud ears mushrooms and covered with creamy mascarpone, an egg that has just finished cooking is nestled in a raggedy shiitake sponge à la microwave. Slight smoke and crunch come from the jelly cubes that are solid and the puffed rice that is sprinkled on top. This method is effective.
They have an excellent feel for different surfaces. Sticky and wonderfully salted miso-braised veal cheek pairs well with sweet jus, hearty macaroni tubes, and paper-thin shavings of washed broccoli topped with a toasted crumble of the fried cabbage buds.
The whole staff, from the chefs to the waiters, has an air of self-assurance that puts us at ease whenever we dine here. The throng is laughing and joking along as sommelier Christian Burge pushes bottles of buttery white wine from northern Spain on them. Two or three courses, or a heated discussion, will set you back $50, $80, or $120, respectively.
It's not exactly where most people want to be on a Wednesday night, especially not if you include in the $18 Nebbiolo a glass they're adept at coaxing you into buying. On the other hand, Smith Street has a relaxed vibe. What's needed are deft culinary preparations, expertly rendered service, and lighthearted pleasure devoid of stuffiness. At Saint Crispin, that's exactly what you'll get. God rest its tasty heart.
Lily Blacks, hidden in a Chinatown alley, is a must-visit. Consider a 1920s speakeasy with a minimalistic aesthetic, complete with hand-chiseled ice cubes and traditional cocktails. That means you'll be sipping the best gin cocktails you've ever tasted. If you add an incredible array of bitters to those delicious drinks, you won't want to leave until you've sampled them all. One sip of this gin cocktail and you'll be hooked.
Clooney Kitchen & Bar
The Clooney Kitchen & Bar in Port Melbourne has solid credentials thanks to the fact that it is handled by a former bartender from the prestigious Gin Palace. Warm gold embellishments and bright, fruity beverages are a nice contrast to the otherwise dark and brooding design. However, traditionalists might take solace in the extensive lists of classics for such occasions when nothing but a G&T would do.
If you're in Federation Wharf, just follow the crowd and you might end up at Pilgrim. This waterfront spot features upscale gastro cuisine and a curated wine and cocktail list. Their alcohol menu is friendly and reasonably priced, but it can't compare to the top gin bars in Melbourne. Still, they have up to five fantastic gin cocktails on the menu, as well as a superb gin-based Holy Mary, so they deserve to be here.
Top Melbourne gin bars can make you a classic martini, Gimlet, or any number of other strong botanical drinks. Time Out readers chose Clooney Kitchen & Bar as the best new bar of 2019. Gin Palace takes pride in its commitment to using only the finest quality ingredients. The Gin Palace has been a mainstay of the Melbourne nightlife for nearly two decades, and its reputation as a place to let free and get sloshed precedes it. Cozy nooks with sofas beg for Martini-fueled hijinks, and groups of chaise lounges imply that sitting is actively welcomed.
The world's most popular gin is made at the Four Pillars Distillery, which is located in Healesville. This pop-up restaurant is located in the G&Tea Gin Garden, which features an extensive collection of rare and exotic gins. The Corpse Reviver #2, the granddaddy of all gin cocktails, is only available at a select few Melbourne watering holes, and 1806 is one of them. Basically, The Understudy is the "1806" of inverted realities. The selection of gin-based beverages and spirits at Bijou Bottle Shop is vast and ever-evolving.
Michael Madrusan, of the renowned New York City bar Milk & Honey, is responsible for developing the Everleigh. If you're looking for a bar that serves only alcohol produced in Australia, look no further than Bad Frankie. The Fitzroy bar has over 80 gins and a large selection of local cocktails. The components for drinks like the "Pepper Berry and Quandong Fizz" come from all throughout Australia. The proprietors of Romeo Lane appreciate quality drinks in moderation.
Just like their Martinis, these cocktails are made with painstaking precision. The menu is similarly sombre, featuring meats and cheeses among citrous fruits and dry fruits. In Melbourne, you may get a gin cocktail at Berlin Bar, Union Electric Bar & Rooftop Gin Garden, or Saint Crispin. The Luftwaffe Sour at Berlin Bar is made with gin instead of whisky and incorporates a healthy shot of Tanqueray. The meal emphasises seasonal produce, with tantalising extras like raspberry malt shrub and elderflower.
Smith Street's cooks are incredibly attuned to the textures of various surfaces. Everyone working here, from the cooks to the servers, exudes confidence. It will cost you $50, $80, or $120 for two or three courses and a lively debate. Featuring hand-chiseled ice cubes and classic cocktails, Lily Blacks is a 1920s-style speakeasy with a spare, modern decor. The bar at Clooney Kitchen & Bar is managed by a veteran of New York's legendary Gin Palace. Pilgrim is a trendy gastropub with an excellent selection of drinks.
- A grand dame of Melbourne's bar scene, this seedy cocktail saloon has been serving up drinks and helping people let free for for two decades.
- It's the clear winner of the Legend Award for its enduring appeal and unabashed wit.
- The G&Tea Gin Garden in Fitzroy is a real gin treasure trove at the intersection of Kerr and Elizabeth streets.
- Stop by the Understudy, a basement bar that serves as the "1806" of the inverse universe.
- Bad Frankie is the Australian history teacher you never had but always wanted because it is the only bar in the world that specialises in Australian-made spirits.
- One of the most hip gin joints in Melbourne, Bad Frankie is an invite-only club.
- In case you have friends visiting Melbourne for the evening who are wondering where to go out for a drink, Romeo Street is the place to go.
- The menu at Romeo Lane is similarly sober.
- The Four Pillars Gin distillery is located in the small town of Healesville in Melbourne's Yarra Valley.
- Every member of the crew, from the cooks to the waiters, exudes an air of confidence that immediately puts us at ease.
- As sommelier Christian Burge pushes bottles of buttery white wine from northern Spain on the crowd, everyone joins in on the jokes and laughter.
- The cost of a two- or three-course meal, or a lively debate, ranges from $50 to $80 to $120.
- Instead, Smith Street is known for its laid-back atmosphere.
- Certainly, it is what you will receive at Saint Crispin.
- Lily Blacks, which can be found down a back alley in Chinatown, is an establishment that you simply must go to.
- Restaurant & Bar Clooney
- Having a bartender who used to work at the renowned Gin Palace in charge lends credibility to Port Melbourne's Clooney Kitchen & Bar.