Melbourne ain’t short of watering holes and this year we revelled in quality and quirky craft beers – not just from microbreweries but also wineries and cider-makers. And it’s not just what’s in the glass that counts but the surrounds, too. Here are our favourites from the past 12 months…
The Local Taphouse – St Kilda
20 craft beers on tap? Check. Outdoor drinking/dining area? Check. Friendly bar staff willing to share recommendations? Check. Decent food? Check. Bottle shop to take home your new favourite brewski? Check. It also just happens to be five minutes from my front door and does the best trivia night this side of the Yarra. As I explain to everyone who has yet to visit it – you can go and have a pot of every single beer on tap and you can pretty much rest assured that the next time you visit you can start again on a different 20. Just check out their site to see all the events taking place – you will never be bored.
Bar Ampere – CBD
A secret bar hidden up a street that you would not normally detour down – this is what makes Melbourne what it is. People travel from other states to just criss-cross their way across Melbourne’s lane ways, and all in the hope of stumbling upon a bar such as this. You would never know that it is linked to the Gin Palace empire housed next door as this place has a casual elegance and bar staff to match. The food coming out of the small kitchen is to a very high standard and the drinks take you on a journey through the night – from aperitif to digestif – meaning there is always a good time to swing by. This is one for the summertime so get down there now pre- or post-New Years and impress your friends with your hot tip.
Alderman – East Brunswick
Having trekked to the top end of Lygon Street – in up-and-coming East Brunswick – chances are you’ll be feeling a bit parched. Luckily, you’re spoilt for choice round these parts with Atticus Finch, Mr Wilkinson and The Resurrection all a hop, skip and a jump away from each other. There’s also tequila bar Mi Corazon just bit further north. But really, there is only one place we want to spend our lazy Sunday afternoons in – whether we set up camp in the leafy courtyard or perch on a bar stool in the wood-panelled pub. Then there’s the retro sofas in the lounge room – a real home away from home. Great selection of beers (including Knappstein – heavenly offering from the Clare Valley winemakers) and affordable wines, down-to-earth staff and bar snacks. If the journey has left you hungry too, order Turkish pizza from Rumi and settle in for the evening.
Meyers Place – CBD
Where can you get a glass of decent local sparkling wine for $7 in the CBD? Meyers Place, that’s where. Ok, as one of the city’s first lane way bars this place might look a little unloved and dingy on the outside, but it’s got soul. With some fab Aussie drops chalked up on the board at bargain prices and beers in bottles and on tap, this hole-in-the-wall bar has people spilling out onto the streets most nights and offers a down-to-earth respite from some of the more pretentious hot spots nearby. A good crowd, funky fit-out and super staff who always serve a generous pour.
Where have you been drinking? And what places left you with a sore head (and empty wallet). Share your boozy bests and drunken dives here…
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Melbourne’s Best Bars 2011
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