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Shaken and Stirred: Melbourne's Bar Scene

You can find them on rooftops, hidden in laneways and perched by the Yarra. Melbourne’s bars are sometimes fancy, sometimes funky, but always fun.

On any given night of the week, you’ll find Melbournians making merry, and that often involves a bar. Thankfully, there’s something for every personality and occasion.

Miss Pearls has been running the raucous garden party at Madame Brussels [Level 3, 57–59 Bourke Street] for almost a decade. The astroturfed rooftop is decked out with chesterfields, benches and garden chairs. Whether it’s daytime or dark, take a jug of Prussian iced tea or Moscow mule out on to the terrace.

The Supper Club is a Melbourne institution for nightcaps, but the stairs at the back of the room lead to one of its best features, Siglo [Level 2, 161 Spring Street]. This European-style rooftop bar serves cocktails, Old World wines and imported beers to a wide variety of clientele enjoying the beautiful vista of Parliament House across the street.

Want to impress? Head into State of Grace, go to the back of the restaurant and pull a book from a shelf to open the secret staircase leading to Fall From Grace [477 Collins Street]. There are intimate settings of club chairs, a communal table beneath a chandelier and seats at the bar, all surrounded by books, hunting trophies and racks of wine. The list features classic cocktails and a few inventions for those wanting to try something new.

Gin Palace [10 Russell Place] is a long-standing favourite for after-hours martinis; Bar Ampere [16 Russell Place] has an impressive list of absinthe and European aperitifs and digestives. From the outside of either, you’d never know they were linked, but head out the back and along the hallway, where you’ll find the dimly lit Swamp Room, festooned with fairylights and moss.

Tucked into the old vaults beside the Yarra, Riverland Bar [Vaults 1–9, Federation Wharf] is a relaxed spot for a pint of beer or glass of wine at any time of day. Plus, it’s a great place to meet friends if you’re heading to a game at the MCG.