For inventive use of city space, look no further than Melbourne, where bars, cinemas and restaurants roll out across the rooftops each summer. Drink in the city skyline from all angles as you listen to live music, relax in balcony bars and watch movies beneath the stars. Combining modern innovation with the sophistication of a bygone era, Melbourne’s growing rooftop venues are perfect places to spend a languid summer afternoon or evening. Many also convert to undercover spaces so you can soak up the city views across the seasons.
Perched above the heart of the city is a rooftop cinema, which screens art house, classic and recent release movies between November and March. Lounge in a colourful deckchair as you watch a film against the backdrop of Melbourne’s majestic old buildings and glittering city towers. Enjoy a rooftop meal or dissect the movie afterwards in the licensed bar, which stays open into the early hours of the morning. The cinema is designed to capitalise on Melbourne’s long summer nights, but if it’s chilly you can rent a blanket.
The live music plays on whatever the weather, with the popular Happy Mondays event that hits a Melbourne rooftop bar from December until the end of January. The intimate, open-air venue is a great place to see Australian and international bands. Enjoy the city panoramas and snack on gourmet burgers and fries delivered by one of Melbourne’s funkier burger trucks.
You can climb stairs all across the city to experience more of Melbourne’s bustling rooftop life. Peer over the city’s lively, winding laneways, the Yarra River or grand old city buildings. Above Bourke Street you can dine alfresco on authentic Italian or embrace tropical kitsch in a bar where waiters in Hawaiian shirts serve your pina coladas. Another popular Bourke St rooftop is decked out the style of a 19th century garden tea party, with a pink parlour, fake grass and garden furniture.
Overlooking the Yarra are stylish eateries that serve sparkling drinks and woodfired pizza and offer a bird’s eye view of the riverside action. In the city centre, relax with sunny DJ beats on the stylish, Ibiza-inspired deck above the State Library. Or grab a pre-theatre cocktail in one of the balcony bars above Melbourne’s theatre district between Exhibition and Russell Street. Many Melbourne hotels have also embraced the upward trend, with rooftop swimming pools, spas, sundecks and bars for the enjoyment of guests and their friends.
This summer, see Melbourne’s innovative use of space for yourself, at buzzing rooftop venues all across the city.