This is a bar for cocktail nerds like me. As soon as you walk in you’ll see a cabinet containing what they claim is one of the largest classic cocktail book selections in the world (which I believe after seeing it) and great cocktails to match – for example, their buttered rum hot toddy was the best I ever had.
Then again, you’d expect no less considering this is the little sister of New York’s Milk and Honey, considered one of the best bars in the world. The décor is straight from the 1920s, with chesterfield sofas, wood panelling, a gramophone, and … well, you get the gist, and the service is friendly. If you go on a Sunday night, you might also catch a small jazz band playing in the corner.
Upstairs, 150-156 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne. See The Everleigh website
Open 7 days, 5.30pm – 1am.
This is actually a fine dining restaurant, but they also serve some of the best cocktails in Melbourne at the small bar near the entrance (I recommend having a cocktail both before and after dinner). I tried the cocktail named after the bar (The Brooks), which was made with Rittenhouse rye whiskey, Cherry Heering brandy, lemon and egg white – and it was the best cocktail I’ve had in a while.
115/117 Collins Street, Melbourne. See The Brooks website.
Open Monday to Saturday.
This is exactly the type of bar you’d expect (and want) to find in the Melbourne CBD – small, genuinely quirky without trying, friendly, with an olde worlde charm (such as by having all the alcohol on the backbar decanted into crystal), and with a classic cocktail menu for those who like the taste of liquor.
1A Crossley Street, Melbourne. See the Romeo Lane website
Open Monday to Saturday until late.
I’ve been to Lilly Blacks several times before, and every time I go I become even more impressed. Their bar staff are knowledgeable, their selection of bitters ridiculous (their back bar is filled with over 250 different kinds – I’d never even heard of vanilla and frankincense bitters before this place) and the atmosphere is just … spot on. Hell, they even have an entire menu page devoted to pickle backs. What’s not to love?
12 Meyers Place, Melbourne. See the Lilly Blacks website
Open every day.