Tips for eating and drinking in Melbourne.
If you live in Melbourne or you’ve been here before you’ll know that the best bars and restaurants aren’t necessarily the ones that you can find easily in a prominent location. Often you have to go through a closed door, up some narrow stairs or past a rubbish skip to get to the best places.
When you’re visiting for the tennis, and only here for a short time, it can be tempting just to go to the places that are easy to find or closest to your hotel.
If you’d like to be a little more adventurous, to help you have the best possible Melbourne experience, here are some tips on how to find the good places to eat and drink.
Get the Melbourne Bar Secrets
Ideally grab a copy of the Melbourne Bar Secrets, which describe 52 different bars and include a map of how to find them. It comes as a deck of cards or as an iPhone App. I’m pretty sure that you can buy the cards at the Melbourne Visitor Centre in Federation Square.
Get The Age Good Food Guide
For eating out, if you want to find the best restaurants, get a copy of The Age Good Food Guide, either the book or iPhone App.
Some local favourites to get you started
If you’d rather not invest in the guides above, you can always ask around or do some Googling.
Or here are some of my favourite places that you might like to try. Generally they have great atmosphere, are unique in some way and are nice, but not so nice that you feel uncomfortable.
Most of them have been around for a while now, with a few newer places included too.
Riverland is the bar that’s located on the edge of the Yarra River down below Federation Square. If you walk back to the city from Melbourne Park along the path at the edge of the river you’ll see it when you’re level with Fed Square.
It’s a lovely place to sit by the river and enjoy a drink on a nice day.
The main bar at Federation Square is Transport. If you enter Transport and take the lift or the stairs you’ll find the Transit Cocktail Lounge at the top. They do fabulous cocktail and there is an amazing view of the city, especially at night.
There is more info on the Transport website.
Madame Brussels is at Level 3, 59-63 Bourke Street. They serve a great range of cocktails and it’s all decked out like a garden party. There is an outside terrace that is surrounded by Melbourne’s CBD buildings and is a great option for a hot summer night.
The Toff in Town
The Toff in Town is found on Level 2, 252 Swanston Street. If you’re lucky enough to get one of the funky little rooms you can press a buzzer when you’re ready to be served.
It’s in the same building as Cookie, which is also worth checking out if you love Thai food. And they do great Bellinis.
The Melbourne Supper Club
The Melbourne Supper Club can be a little hard to find the first time you go there. Look for the door next to the European at 161 Spring Street. The entry has a subtle thin vertical sign near the top of the door that says Melbourne Supper Club. Open the big door and climb the stairs where lovely couches and a massive wine list awaits. I also recommend the ham and cheese sandwiches which are incredible and really hit the spot if it’s late and you’re getting snack-ish.
La La Land
La La Land at Level 1, corner Hardware Lane and Little Lonsdale Street is proud that only the “comfiest couches have made it through the door”. Once again it’s up some stairs, and they are pretty narrow so take care with your footing while you’re leaving!
Check out La La Land and click on the link to the City.
The Croft Institute
The Croft Institute, at 21 Croft Alley in Chinatown is probably the hardest place to find on the list. But it’s worth a visit – the bunsen burners and test tubes will take you back to your Science prac days at school. Don’t be deterred as you walk past the rubbish skips at the back of some restaurants, that means you’re going the right way.
There are detailed instructions for how to find it on their website.
The Left Bank
The Left Bank in Southbank is the newest place on this list. If you walk past the main group of shops and restaurants at Southgate and keep walking toward Crown, the Left Bank is on the last place on the left, before you come to the traffic lights at Queensbridge Street. If the outside area looks busy, go inside and walk to the right past the bar because there are some tables with funky comfy seats in the back area too.
World Restaurant and Bar
You can pick it out because generally it’s the place that’s busy next to the places that aren’t so busy!
And if you’re looking for somewhere to eat that is on the edge of the river, has a good range of food, isn’t overly expensive, has plenty of tables and where you’ll be served relatively quickly, try Blue Train at Southgate or Automatic at Crown.
These are just a few of the hundreds of places to eat and drink in the Melbourne CBD. It’s also worth checking out the inner suburbs like Brunswick, St Kilda, South Melbourne and Toorak.
Wherever you go, I hope you enjoy it.
Would love your feedback
If you try any of the places on this and find that the info here needs updating, please come back and leave a comment to let me know your feedback.
And if you’re from Melbourne, I’m sure you know of lots of other great places, please add your recommendations in the comments.
For now, my greatest wish is that the rain stops soon so outside play can start again.
Grand Slam Gal
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