Four Pillars Gin, Healesville, Victoria © Anson Smart, Four Pillars Gin
Melbourne’s best gin bars
Melbourne's flourishing small-batch spirits scene offers plenty for the gin enthusiast.
By Paul Chai
Gin joints first started in Melbourne during the gold rush era of the 1800s, but their modern equivalents are far more refined. Speakeasy bars, rooftops and urban distilleries are now all home to some of Australia's best gin.
Pull up a seat at one of these Melbourne gin bars.
Where: Level 1/150-156 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
An upstairs speakeasy in the fashionable northern suburb of Fitzroy, The Everleigh is often awarded for its dedication to the cocktail art, evident in the antique cut glass decanters, marble bar and glass cabinets of cocktail ephemera. The Everleigh staff takes cocktails up a notch with attention to detail and super fresh ingredients. The old-world charm is just a bonus.
Where: 1A Crossley St, Melbourne
The laneway that houses this cocktail bar was once Melbourne’s red-light district before it was cleaned up in the late 1800s, and the name Romeo Lane is a nod to this former, seedier time. Now, the lane is full of restaurants and bars like Romeo Lane, which serves classic cocktails in a setting that evokes a European café. Step inside and enjoy the warm ambience and friendly service.
Four Pillars Gin
Where: 2A Lilydale Rd, Healesville
In the Yarra Valley, just a one-hour drive from Melbourne, the world’s best gin is distilled. The team behind Four Pillars have been awarded three double gold medals for their Rare Dry Gin at prestigious international competitions, such as the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition 2017, and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2016 and 2014. Sample its supreme gin at Four Pillars' new tasting room in Healesville to find out why.
Where: 10 Russell Pl, Melbourne
This Russell Place stalwart in the centre of town is Melbourne’s original gin bar and one of the best, with furnishings – luxurious lounges, velvet drapes – that seek to recreate the gin bars of Melbourne’s gold rush era. At Gin Palace, gin and tonics have their own section on the menu, so you know they're taken seriously.
Where: 3/59 Bourke St, Melbourne
The perpetual rooftop garden party that is Madame Brussels is the perfect place for gin-based frivolity. The terrace bar is a riot of fake grass, pastel-coloured lawn chairs and parasols where drinkers order punches such as gin garden (London dry gin, fresh cucumber and elder flower cordial, apple juice and soda) or sangriar (red wine, brandy, citrus and strawberry). It’s a fun crowd and the convivial owner Miss Pearls often works the room.
Where: 169 Exhibition St, Melbourne
1806 is housed in a historic building on Exhibition Street in Melbourne's city centre. The name comes from the year that the word “cocktail” was first used in print, and they take their drinks very seriously. The menu is a chronological journey through cocktail history from the punch era of 1650 to today, all presented in ornate surrounds with dark red velvet chairs and low-slung leather couches.
Where: 12 Meyers Pl, Melbourne
True cocktail aficionados flock to Lily Blacks, where a nostalgic drinks menu complements the art-deco mood. Coupled with the venue's laneway location in Melbourne's city centre, you'll feel transported to another time. An innovative cocktail list means you can go classic or adventurous.