Originally published on Concrete Playground in partnership with Hahn Brewers.
Cosy beer gardens surrounded by greenery and courtyards– perfect for escaping the chaos of the city.
Seeking out sanctuary in the heart of the city is sometimes a challenge. Luckily in Melbourne, there are bars peppered around the CBD that deliver some serenity. Some of them are not exactly easy to find – hidden at the ends of laneways, perched on rooftops with inordinate flights of stairs, and such. We’ll have you know, they are worth the scavenger hunt. In partnership with Hahn Brewers, we’ve wrapped up ten of the best bars to seek sanctuary in, and wind down.
Whimsical and packed with mismatched furniture, Madame Brussels provides visitors with spaces inside and out to unwind. The space lies opposite to Bourke Streets sky piercers, and you can still enjoy the lights during winter as blankets are offered on particularly frosty nights.
GRAND TRAILER PARK TAVERNA
From the vintage caravans to the checkerboard floor tiles, Grand Trailer Park Taverna is all about the old-school vibes. The restaurant and bar’s renowned burgers add huge incentive to pay a visit. You can chomp down on ‘The Jorge’, filled with beef, capsicum, chilli cheese kransky and sriracha mayonnaise, or a stack of waffles during your visit. Enjoy while sipping down a cold beer and looking over Bourke St from up high.
PALMZ ROOFTOP BAR
The Carlton Hotel is home to Palmz Rooftop Bar, which is decked out with tropical greenery. A combination of bougainvillea and full-sized palm trees fights the urbanity of the bar’s concrete surroundings. It stands out from other bars, with tiki-style furniture and bamboo huts, making for a playful environment. Know that The Palmz is only open Friday and Saturday nights.
Warning – getting up the stairs to this rooftop bar is not exactly, easy. But after four (particularly long) flights you can treat yourself to sliders and a beer on tap while surrounded by some luscious greenery. The outdoor rooftop is lush with potted and suspended plants, and decorated with lines of wires holding quirky sulphur-crested balls. Loop Roof has a retractable awning system for those not-so-consistent Melbourne days where a hailstorm decides to make an appearance. And for those scorching heat waves, Loop Roof relieves patrons with its misted air-conditioning system.
If you want casual, head to The Hills. The rooftop bar is part of the Tuxedo Cat complex, welcoming visitors with an eclectic mix of lanterns shaped like fruit, umbrellas, crates as seats, canary yellow furniture and a mural of a border collie, painted on a mattress. Go ahead, we dare you to find a more random, peaceful drinking hole right in the middle of the CBD.
Don’t worry, the Imperial Hotel rooftop isn’t as regal and lordly as it sounds. Rather, it’s a laid-back, open space bar reminiscent of a beach club – with sleek, patterned couches and tall bar stools. Its proximity to Parliament Station makes it one of the most accessible bars in the city, and the view of Parliament glowing at night isn’t too shabby, either. Alongside beers, snacks such as jalapeno poppers and Cuban sandwiches are on offer.
A little more upmarket on Melbourne’s bar scene is Siglo – a refined bar without the pretentiousness. Siglo is just the atmosphere you want when going out with a group of friends for a calm, civilised evening. Cocktails and cigars are on offer, alongside small bites such as polenta chips and jamon ham. Topped off with views of Parliament House and St Patrick’s Cathedral, it shows off the best of Melbourne.
Occupying the ground floor of the Transport Hotel is Transport Bar. The bar — which sits in Federation Square — always has people in it, but is spacious enough to ensure you don’t feel suffocated. Find space outside on the communal tables, or inside in the roomy glass box-like fit-out which offers views of the Yarra River. Transport Bar attracts a diverse range of people — sports lovers, travellers and those who just want a peaceful drink after work.
ARBORY BAR & EATERY
In our opinion, Arbory Bar is one of the craftiest train platform transformations in the world. The old Sandridge platform was converted into a 150-metre bar, lined with bar stools that face the Yarra River and Princess Bridge. Smaller and communal tables also make up the space, making it ideal for a date, or evening drinks with a group of mates. The Arbory provides some stretching space for those who have just hopped off a chock-full train, or have been cramped up in an office cubicle all day.
Common Man sits at the doorway to DFO South Wharf, but dining there is a little more reminiscent of a suburban bar. Greenery is aplenty, in the form of a monstrous plant wall inside, to a fake grass area outside which holds sling chairs and round tables. To combat the heat, there’s a fan outside that sprays cold mist; pair it with a cold beer or frozen margarita to bring that body temperature right down.