Top 21 Whisky Bars in Melbourne

Top 21 Whisky Bars in Melbourne

Melbourne is known for its culture. Hand-in-hand with that goes its long list of excellent whisky bars, tucked away behind unmarked doors on busy streets, overlooking public gardens or atop 55 story buildings.

The bars are notoriously not-easy-to-find, which is why we've compiled the guide to Melbourne whisky bars below, complete with resources like hours, reviews, websites, and maps. If you're only in Melbourne a short time, start at the top and explore as time allows. Short-timers won't want to miss classic bars like Whisky + Alement or Hihou. Those with more leisure can dig down into Pinball Paradise, Milk the Cow, or Meatmother, themed whisky bars for the adventurer in all of us.

1. Whisky + Alement

Whisky + Alement bar Melbourne.jpg

The Whisky + Alement bar is one of Melbourne's best finds. For evidence, it won TimeOut's Bar of the Year award, and it gets 4.5 to 5 stars on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google Reviews.

Their world class bartender will guide you on a journey through 1,100+ Scotch, Japanese, and Irish whiskies. These people have a true appreciation for the history, the characteristics, and the style that makes a great whisky. Go there for a drink or a delicious, educational tasting that'll deepen your appreciation for the legendary liquor.

2. Boilermaker House

Boilermaker House is a Melbourne whisky bar that gets everything right. With visual cues borrowed from the American South, this place feels like a whisky bar should. Staff dressed like depression-era woodworkers move amid wood, brick, and concrete in low light. Meanwhile, you as a patron can settle into a booth, table, or stool while you consider the 700+ whiskies on offer.

That's a lot of whisky, but the servers manage to grapple it down with encyclopedic knowledge. The food adds to the atmosphere with robust, traditional (yet somehow adventurous) offerings like venison burger or pork sausage with clams and red pepper sauce. It's on the pricey side, but the experience is well worth the trip.

  • Read a review at TheCityLane.
  • Website: http://boilermakerhouse.com.au/
  • Phone number: +61 424 270 082
  • Hours: Sundays 3pm-3am, Mondays-Wednesdays 4pm-3am, Thursdays-Saturdays 12pm-3am
  • Address: 209/211 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Make a reservation here.

3. Hihou

Hihou whisky bar Melbourne.jpg

Japanese whisky is all about precision and attention to detail. The Hihou bar in Melbourne ("hihou" means "civilized") respects and extends that philosophy. They've pulled out all the stops to create the full experience, with candlelight and shadow playing on a heavy timber-topped bar, recessed concrete ceiling, and a glass wall with views of Fitzroy Gardens.

Of course style is nothing without substance, and they've got that too, with a full list of whisky offerings from Scotland and Japan. If you're hungry, you can order bar snacks like a lobster and caviar temaki roll for $7 or a delicious spicy tuna cigar for $6.

  • Read a review in the Sydney Morning Herald.
  • Website: http://www.hihou.com.au/
  • Phone number: +61 3 9654 5465
  • Hours: Sundays closed, Mondays-Wednesdays 5pm-12am, Thursdays-Fridays 5pm-1am
  • Address: 1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Make a reservation here.

4. The Kilburn

This is a true, no-holds-barred whisky bar at the corner of Melbourne's Burwood and Glenferrie roads. Choose from no less than 600 whiskeys, with staff who know enough to guide you through to the perfect one to suit your mood and palate. Then enjoy it in an environment of stained glass, copper, and leather. If you're hungry, add a ploughman's plate or a selection of blue cheeses. This is whisky, whisky, whisky, with everything else there to accessorize.

  • Read a review on Concrete Playground.
  • Website: http://thekilburn.com.au/
  • Phone number: +61 3 8528 6831
  • Hours: Sundays 4pm-11pm, Mondays closed; Tuesdays-Thursdays 4pm-1am, Fridays-Saturdays 4pm-2am
  • Address: 348 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122, Australia

5. The Elysian Whisky Bar

Melbourne's Elysian whisky bar is tightly focused on doing one thing and doing it well: serving up fantastic whisky. The brainchild of former Whisky + Alement and White Oak aficionados Kelvin Low and Yao Wong, the small, intimate bar is packed with dark wood paneling and a brazen California Redwood bartop (is that ethical? Nevermind, you're too busy savoring the whisky).

Far more important than atmosphere is the wide variety of unique whisky you'll find here. They've got pours from all over the world: Scotland, Japan, Germany, India, Taiwan, Sweden, and America. Many are rare, not to be found elsewhere in Melbourne, like a single-barrel release of a rare Ichiro malt. This is a whisky bar for the adventurous. Table fare consists of cheese boards and other homey pleasures.

6. The Kodiak Club

The Kodiak Club is Melbourne's self-styled "lumberjack bar." It's a haven for whisky lovers who want all the flavor without pretense (read: snobbery). If you want to enjoy your whisky but not get into the technical details, then the Kodiak Club was designed with you in mind.

This is a whisky bar, yes, but it's primarily an American bourbon whisky bar. They stock 100+ American whiskeys (not "whisky!"), but the selection won't overwhelm because the bartenders really know their stuff. That said, they won't bore you with a lot of talk about corn mash and barrel aging. The price range is wide, but whisky purists be warned: they also serve cocktails like their signature smoked bacon and maple old fashioned.

  • Read a review in the Sydney Morning Herald.
  • Website: http://thekodiak.club/
  • Phone number: +61 3 9417 3733
  • Hours: Sundays-Mondays 6pm-1am, Tuesdays closed, Wednesdays-Thursdays 5pm-1am, Fridays-Saturdays 5pm-3am
  • Address: 272 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065

8. Cure Bar & Eatery

Cure Bar and Eatery is a Melbourne whisky destination. What happened here is, a couple of whisky pros from other bars got together and created their dream venue. It's got a long and detailed list of lots of excellent Scotch offerings, not heaped in at random but chosen by connoisseurs who really know their stuff.

The liquor is paired expertly with the food options, down to a deli cabinet set right into the bar, so you can ogle your cheese and charcuterie while you sip and sample. They've also got great signature coffee.

  • Read a review in Broadsheet.
  • Website: http://cure-bar.com/
  • Phone number: +61 417 557 765
  • Hours: Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 5pm-11pm, Mondays-Tuesdays closed, Fridays-Saturdays 5pm-12am
  • Address: 164 Rathdowne St, Carlton VIC 3053

9. The Lui Bar

To get to Melbourne's Lui Bar, check in at street-level reception and take a chaperoned trip to the 55th floor, where WHAM, what a view. Settle into a floral print lounge chair facing the city (the Eureka Tower, Flinders Street Station, et al) and enjoy.

It's got a great range of whisky, staff who know all about it, and food options starting at a roadkill terrine (with pate sculpted into the shape of an Audi) and finishing up at a $190 caviar plate. Oh yes, and you'll remember the men's room for a very long time.

  • Read a review in the Sydney Morning Herald.
  • Website: http://www.luibar.com.au/
  • Phone number: +61 3 9691 3888
  • Hours: Sunday 11:30am-12am, Monday-Wednesdays 5:30pm-12am, Thursdays 11:30am-1am, Fridays-Saturdays 11:30am-3am
  • Address: Level 55, Rialto Tower, 525 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000

    10. The Melbourne Supper Club

    The Melbourne Supper Club might just be the city's most famous bar. The place reeks of class, with a secret, unmarked door at street level and a flight of stairs up to the bar itself. Depending on availability, you can sit and eat on one of their old Chesterfield couches, with Parliament House visible through the big picture window.

    This bar has a lot of focus on wine, but it's also got an extensive Scotch whisky menu and staff informed enough to walk you through to great pairings. And of course if you prefer a rooftop environment you can always head upstairs to the Siglo.

      11. The Woods of Windsor

      The Woods at Windsor is a handy Melbourne whisky bar – handy because it's right off busy Chapel street. You'll exit the hustle and bustle into a dimly lit, candlelit bar packed with old world charm.

      They've got a great martini menu, but also an impressive whisky selection and an in-house humidor to round things off. The food is simple share plates like sardines with fennel and curried tomato, or duck liver pate. Not everyone is a fan of the service, as a few holes in their generally 4-star Trip Advisor reviews show.

        12. 1806

        1806 is one of those bar-first, whisky-bar-second places that's nonetheless a crowd favorite. It's got excellent service, with staff more than competent to guide you on a walk through their 110-whisky list, which won't disappoint.

        This is a Melbourne favorite. In years past it was a theatre, and the stage is still there, but it's been magically transformed into a bar top. If you're wondering about the name, it's the year the word "cocktail" first showed up in print. To match the theme, there's a dedicated concoction for each decade, complete with a detailed history lesson about who created it and why. Peckish? Try their cheese board and charcuterie selection. Or if you need a private room, book the Understudy, below.

        • Read a review in Broadsheet.
        • Website: https://1806.com.au/
        • Phone number: +61 3 9663 7722
        • Hours: Mondays-Thursdays 5pm-1am, Fridays 4pm-1am, Saturdays 5pm-2am, Sundays 6pm-1am
        • Address: 169 Exhibition St, Melbourne VIC 3000

          13. Eau de Vie

          Eau de Vie is a Melbourne gin bar first, with a dedicated whisky room second, but despite the emphasis on juniper it's definitely worth a visit. Based on a prohibition era speakeasy concept, you'll have to hunt a bit to find the front door.

          Once you do, you'll find a jazz-filled, dimly lit and elegant interior where you can buy a bottle to tote around the premises or lock in your own private wooden cabinet. How fancy is that? Reserve a booth in advance or muck into one of their two mass seating areas for a little warm social time.

          • Read a review in The Gin Queen.
          • Website: http://eaudevie.com.au/melbourne/
          • Phone number: +61 412 825 441
          • Hours: Sundays 4pm-11pm, Mondays-Thursdays 5pm-1am, Fridays-Saturdays 4pm-1am
          • Address: 1 Malthouse Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
          • Make a reservation here.

            14. The Gin Palace

            The Gin Palace is an opulent gin bar that nonetheless packs an extensive whisky list, along with staff knowledgeable enough to know how to serve it. It's very pricey, and very popular, with 4.5 to 5 stars on ratings sites like TripAdvisor and Google reviews from hundreds of patrons.

            It's also hard to find. Described as a "crazy bohemian basement bar," it's the kind of place you expect to see Alan Quartermaine in a corner armchair, regaling old men in lambchop sideburns with tales of the bush.

              15. Siglo Bar

              The Siglo whisky bar is one of Melbourne's many rooftop bars, opened in response to statutes prohibiting indoor public smoking. You get to it through the unmarked door to the Melbourne Supper Club, then go, well, up.

              The rooftop is elegant, but casual, with a big pavilion of glass and metal where the bar sits, stuffed with display cases of cigars and cognac. Reasonably priced snacks like party pies for $8.50 keep your belly fueled for the real business: whisky. They also serve wine, beer, and other spirits, so while this isn't a dedicated whisky bar, it's nonetheless an excellent setting to enjoy a wee dram.

              • Read a review in The Age.
              • Website: http://siglobar.com.au
              • Phone number: +61 3 9654 6631
              • Hours: Everyday 5pm-3am
              • Address: 2/161 Spring St, Melbourne VIC 3000

                16. The Toff In Town

                The Toff in Town is a glamorous, dark, inviting Melbourne whisky bar and restaurant with an upper class feel. The dedicated band room forms an integral part of the town's revitalized music scene. There's a rangy outdoor area for smoking, but the bar can be a bit on the pricey side and the service doesn't always dazzle. That said, there's plenty to love in this character-filled bar.

                  17. Milk The Cow

                  Milk the Cow is a very different type of Melbourne whisky experience. First and foremost, this is a cheese bar where you can tempt your palate with 150 different cheeses, any of which you can actually buy and take home.

                  The bar specializes in pairing cheese with alcohol, from wine to whisky. They've got some excellent food choices, like the Farmer's Board or the Cheesemonger's Choice, both cutting-board collections of complimentary cheeses that go great with the liquor of your choice. Their night liquor license makes this a fantastic whisky stop all the way through to the wee small hours.

                  • Read a review in The City Lane.
                  • Website: http://milkthecow.com.au/
                  • Phone number: +61 3 9537 2225
                  • Hours: Sundays-Thursdays 12pm-11pm, Fridays-Saturdays 12pm-1am
                  • Address: 1/157 Fitzroy St, St Kilda VIC 3182

                    18. Meatmother

                    Meatmother is a Texas style BBQ-inspired high-end steakhouse first, Melbourne-based whisky bar second. If you like steaks and ribs with great whisky on the side, this is the place to fill that need.

                    Meatmother is housed on Swan Street. It's small and narrow inside, decorated with saws, animal skulls, cleavers, and other rustic items with a pioneer spirit. The upstairs ditches the rough edges and shoots for elegance, with clean white walls and big wooden tables. The meat comes unadulterated and sauce-free so you can really taste it, but signature sauces wait in a table rack to please any palate. Of course there's whisky here, but the emphasis is definitely on beef.

                    • Read a review in The City Lane.
                    • Website: https://www.meatmother.com.au/
                    • Phone number: +61 3 9041 5393
                    • Hours: Sundays closed, Mondays-Thursdays 12pm-3pm 5pm-10pm, Fridays-Saturdays 12pm-3pm 5pm-11pm
                    • Address: 167 Swan St, Richmond VIC 3121, Australia

                      19. Pinball Paradise

                      What could be more adventurous than a pinball-themed whisky bar? Well, a whisky bar where you wrestle alligators for one, but in lieu of that there's Pinball Paradise. The whisky purist will shun this somewhat gimmicky bar, but those who want good throwback fun will adore it.

                      Get there through the street-level bar Island Somewhere and walk up, then order a dram and set it on the glass-tops of games like Dracula, Game of Thrones, Dirty Harry, Jurassic Park, and Terminator 2. Rack up extra balls while you sample Scottish offerings and Japanese whiskies alike. There's also a food menu in case all the flippering works up an appetite.

                      • Read a review in Concrete Playground.
                      • No website but visit them on Facebook.
                      • Phone number: +61 3 9326 8324
                      • Hours: Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 4pm-1am, Mondays and Tuesdays closed, Fridays-Saturdays 4pm-3am
                      • Address: 1/213 Franklin St, Melbourne VIC 3004

                        20. Buck Mulligan's

                        Waxing poetic? Why not do it in Buck Mulligan's Melbourne bookshop and bar, surrounded by 500+ titles from the likes of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Flann O'Brien and Paul Muldoon?

                        The bar takes pride in its ever-growing whiskey selection, of course stocked with Irish whisky but inclusive of Scotch, American, Japanese, and Australian varieties. The menu is short and Irish-traditional, with dishes like pork pies, ploughman's platters, and black pudding.

                        • Read a review in Timeout.
                        • Website: http://www.buckmulligans.com.au/
                        • Phone number: +61 3 9077 7915
                        • Hours: Sundays 12pm-2am, Mondays-Thursdays 4pm-12am, Fridays-Saturdays 12pm-1am
                        • Address: 217 High St, Northcote VIC 3070, Australia

                          21. Carwyn Cellars and the Back Room Bar

                          Carwyn Cellars is well known for its list of 200+ beers, top-shelf whisky and great local wines. The Back Room Bar is where the "whisky bar" part comes in. Nevermind 200 beers, they've got 250 whisky selections. Not a posh bar for the top coat and tails set, this one's got outdoor seating, good prices, a nice atmosphere and live sports when available. The service can be spotty.

                          • Read a review in Broadsheet.
                          • Website: https://carwyncellars.com.au/
                          • Phone number: +61 3 9484 1820
                          • Hours: Sundays-Mondays 10pm-10pm, Tuesdays-Fridays 10am-11pm
                          • Address: 877 High St, Thornbury VIC 3071

                            Conclusion

                            You're set up now with the ultimate guide to the top 20 whisky bars in Melbourne for the truly adventurous. You've got reviews, contact info, hours, and most importantly, maps to make sure you can find them all.

                            Melbourne is a great town stuffed with fun and culture. You've now got the tools to find its treasure trove of excellent bars. The long-time visitor or Melbourne resident can have a lot of fun working his way down through the list. The vacation visitor should start at the top and hit as many as she can from Melbourne's fantastic selection of whisky-centred haunts.

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