How did Melbourne’s laneway bar scene start?
It started back in the
Why are laneway bars good?
They are good because they are awesome.
Melbourne’s laneway culture has blossomed since the 90’s, and with it, have come some incredible bars. Here’s our list of the best laneway bars in Melbourne. Get lost and enjoy some delicious cocktails!
When you think of true laneway bars, something like Section 8 is what comes to mind.
Opened in 2008 inside an empty carpark, it was only ever meant to be a pop-up bar, but it was so popular that it's been a local favourite ever since.
Down the charming Tattersalls Lane, Section 8 has wooden pallets for seats and a shipping container for a bar. There's not much to it, but it's nearly always packed.
Next door is their sister venue, Ferdydurke: Equally quirky, but a little more conventional.
You can miss Chuckle Park in a glimpse. Sandwiched between buildings, this tiny laneway bar is covered in faux grass and serves drinks from an adorable caravan.
Chuckle Park is inspired by the American wilderness; glowing lanterns hang next to punnets of flowers.
Along with cocktails, you'll find tinnies from local breweries and natural wines - plus they even manage to squeeze a live DJ in on certain days.
There are several awesome bars down Meyers Place and Lily Blacks is one of them.
This dimly lit bar is serious about cocktails, serving pre-prohibition tonics & modern classics. The interior is part art-deco, but the centrepiece is the bar, backed by a mountain of bottles.
Bar Americano is a teeny-tiny speakeasy hidden down a city laneway.
This bar is standing room only, with a maximum capacity of around 10 people. They don't take bookings and big groups aren't recommended.
Their menu is simple, based on the heights of 'American' cocktail culture - think Negronis, Old Fashioneds and Manhattans.
Bar Americano can be hard to find, but it's well worth the trip. Drop by for an intimate evening in a true Melbourne laneway bar.
While Chinatown is mostly filled with dumpling houses, there are several Western bars to be found. Down Hefferman Lane, Union Electric is a narrow bar spread over two-levels.
The ground floor is their cocktail bar, with a giant portrait of the charming Bill Murray. Upstairs is their rooftop bar, perfect for drinks in the open air.
Every day, city workers walk past Arlechin without knowing it's there. This intimate cocktail bar (with zero signage) can found at the end of Mornane Place.
This space was initially used as wine storage for Grossi Florentino, a long-standing Italian restaurant on Bourke Street, but they decided to turn it into a cocktail bar instead.
Arlechin is open late, so you can extend your romantic evening in the wee hours.
Serving cocktails since 2013, most of the drinks from Eau De Vie come with an element of theatrics.
Down the non-descript Malthouse Lane, Eau de Vie fuses booze with liquid nitrogen, fire and house-made ingredients. Take a seat at the bar and enjoy the show from the talented bartenders.
We recommend booking a table, Eau de Vie is frequently at full capacity.
This tiny bar lives in Melbourne’s old red-light district. Romeo Lane is an intimate laneway bar promising a fun night out without the sexual proclivity.
Specialising in cocktails, Romeo Lane has taken out a spate of awards, including Timeout's 'Bar of the Year' Award.
Serving cocktails since 2002, Double Happiness is a Chinese-inspired bar filled with communist propaganda featuring Chairman Mao.
It's all tongue-in-cheek, and the rowdiness that Double Happiness promotes would not be endorsed by the Chinese government.
The drinks list is fun. The 'Great Leap Forward' is their signature cocktail staring house-made lychee vodka. Or enjoy bubble tea spiked with a shot of booze.
This hole-in-the-wall bar showcases everything good about Melbourne's laneway bar scene.
Just like Section 8, Whitehart took an empty car park and turned it into a laneway oasis.
Drinks are served from an old shipping container, a testament to Melbourne's anything-goes attitude. The steel beams add to the industrial atmosphere, given some life by the staghorn ferns on the wall.
The rooftop bar is upstairs, and while it doesn't give you a view of the city, it's cosy escape is popular in the warmer months.
Loop has been part of the laneway bar scene since 2003, and yet another reason to visit Meyer's Place.
The ground floor is Loop Project Space & Bar, an industrial space with a large projection showcasing rotating media.
Take the stairs and you'll eventually reach their two-tier rooftop oasis, complete with exotic plants and a misting system for hot days.
This quirky bar is the sister venue to Section 8, and parties just as hard. Ferdydurke has a New York loft feel and provides several different spaces to hunker down.
The balcony provides a view of Tattersalls Lane, so you can admire one of Melbourne's best laneways in all its glory.
Regarded as Melbournes first hidden bar, the Croft Insitute takes laneway bars to the next level.
This winding alley in Chinatown is covered in street-art and is home to only one venue, and that's The Croft Institute.
The bar is science-themed, and decorated with bunsen burners and a whole lot of other scientific paraphernalia.
Bar Ampère sits above a decommissioned electrical sub-station - the fit-out reflects this with mechanical elements.
Take a seat at the impressive circular bar, and settle in for a night of electric drinks. Out the back is the 'Swamp Room' - a secret escape covered in swampy greenery with an old-time piano.
Bar Ampère is the sister venue to Gin Palace - it's directly next door should you fancy a gin.
Berlin takes themed bars to the next level. Down a cobblestone alley in Chinatown, this bar is split into two distinct halves.
One half represents East Berlin, under the regime of dictator Joseph Stalin; it's beat-down and wartorn. The other side represents the West and runs under capitalism; it's covered in gems and oozes opulence.
To get a seat, climb the stairs and ring the doorbell, eventually the staff will let you in.
Down Meyer's Place there is a New York pizza joint called Pizza Pizza Pizza. It's small, but it holds a mighty-big secret.
Gather up the courage, and walk past the sign that reads 'staff only' and push through the black curtain. With enough grit, you'll step into their secret cocktail bar.
Technically this bar has no name, and that's fine with us. Their creative cocktail menu provides everything we could need for a great (and late) night.
It started back in the
They are good because they are awesome.