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Great rooftop bars and balconies

Since listing some of Melbourne’s great rooftop bars and balconies back in 2010, the rooftop scene has exploded. The city now boasts an average of one rooftop bar per person*, dotting the city skyline. With so many new contenders, let’s have a look at a handful of our favourites.

Sitting pretty high up at Bomba Bar

Sitting pretty high up at Bomba Bar

Once known as The Aylesbury, Bomba Tapas Bar and Rooftop is a modern-day bodega with views of the city and a menu of Spanish delights to complement any cocktail. If you want to dine, it’s best to book. But, if you’re just after a rooftop experience (tapas included) feel free to wander in.
Cabinet Bar
A sneaky little hidey-hole, Cabinet Bar has a hidden entrance behind Little Collins that will lead you upstairs to a cozy balcony overlooking Swanston Street. With an ever-changing menu and almost anything you could want to drink, it’s the ideal spot to sit and spy on the city below.
No porridge here – instead, Goldilocks (with its subtle nods to the classic fable) offers a creative cocktail list and a collection of tasty treats to enjoy on their newly-opened rooftop. Thanks to an undercover seating area and heaters, this is one fairytale that will last well through the winter.
Wolf’s Lair & Drinking Haus & Treetops
If you want to escape the city, the iconic Jimmy Watson’s in Carlton houses one of the area’s best-kept secrets, Wolf’s Lair – a rooftop oasis referred to as ‘Carlton’s version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon’. Beer, wine, spirits and trees… this relaxing little hideaway is open everyday until late.
With an easy-to-miss entry via Tattersalls lane, Ferdydurke is an unassuming upstairs bar and eatery that’s about as Melbourne as it gets (i.e. hard to locate). It offers cocktails, Vietnamese food, hot dogs and a relaxed balcony from which you can look down on (literally, not figuratively) the über groovy punters at Section 8.
Blue Diamond
The highest of the high on our list is Blue Diamond – fifteen floors above the city streets in what used to be the old RACV headquarters. This is an Art Deco jazz bar where Dean Martin would feel right at home, and it’s made even cooler by its wraparound balcony offering one of the mightiest views of any bar in the city.
*May be a slight exaggeration
The small but delightful rooftop terrace at Cabinet offers one of the most central birds-eye positions on Swanston Street

The small but delightful rooftop terrace at Cabinet Bar will have you perfectly perched for birds-eye views over Swanston Street

There are plenty more rooftop bars we haven’t listed – what’s your favourite place to get high in Melbourne?