Whether it’s riverside Brazilian cocktails or ales among old architecture, take it outside this summer with these beer gardens and alfresco drinking spots.
Sprawling along a scenic stretch of the Yarra, a few steps down from a busy intersection, Riverland Bar is an unexpected escape. Spend a summer session here watching the tennis with a gourmet hot dog in hand, or feel the magic from 16 January with their Harry Potter potion cocktails.
A little further along the river, Southbank’s bars and restaurants beckon. Hopscotch’s indoor-outdoor deck is paradise for beer lovers in summer. Choose from 30 on tap, including brews crafted on-site. As the name suggests, they’re mad for hops, but anyone who prefers wine or cocktails are also well looked after.
Keep cruising south to South Wharf, and soak up the sweet city views at The Boatbuilders Yard. Built around a heritage shed on an old wooden wharf, this airy riverside venue makes relaxing a breeze. While you’re there, wipe your memory of ‘frosé’ and crack into the newly minted ‘freezling’ cocktail – a frozen reisling drink that’s set to refresh.
There’s more than historic architecture at Mitre Tavern, a little cottage-like pub that’s the oldest building in Melbourne. They also claim to have the CBD’s biggest beer garden, which is handy as beer tastes better outdoors. Punters spill out into one of the west end’s most charming laneways on warm days and nights.
Another historic building in the CBD’s west, but on a much grander scale, the Royal Mint is now taking rather than making money. It’s a fair exchange though, as The Mint Bar & Restaurant serves quality pub-style food and drink. Raise a glass in the beer garden amid beautiful Victorian architecture.
Trunk also claims to have the CBD’s biggest beer garden, but after a couple of drinks, who’s counting the centimetres? Housed in a handsome 19th century synagogue, this restaurant and bar is named for the garden’s 150-year-old, heritage-listed tree. There are 130 seats outdoors, but get in early if you want one in summer!
Drinking and dining
Four levels of dining, drinking and fun await at the gorgeous Garden State Hotel. Still a relative newbie on the Flinders Lane block, their outdoor beer garden is serving Miami Vice slushie cocktails for the perfect summer refresher. Paired with a sizzling steak or some fresh seafood and your evening of outdoor enjoyment will be off to an excellent start.
Nothing says summer like barbecued food straight off the grill. B’Churrasco cooks meat on sword length skewers over an open flame, before carving it into delicious strips right at your table. Head in on Friday and Sunday for Portuguese music, get them to whip up a signature Caipirinha (made of fresh lime, sugar and Cachaça) and sip it under the sun in their outdoor beer garden.
A classic Aussie pub in Carlton, The Clyde has a pub meal special for every day of the week. Whether you’re cracking open a cold one on parma Tuesdays or fish and chip Fridays, their open air (and accessible!) courtyard is an al fresco gem tucked away on Cardigan Street.
A classic 19th century pub at the edge of the CBD, the Queensberry Hotel caters to 21st century Melburnians’ alfresco fixation. With lots of seats and greenery, and a pool table too, its indoor-outdoor space awaits your next casual summer session.
Another Victorian-era building on the CBD fringe with modern hospitality in mind, The Leveson has various spaces, including a beer garden. From the Astroturf floor to the retractable roof (if the weather didn’t get the memo about your plans), comfort is key here.
Nestled at the end of Meyers Place, Lane’s Edge Cafe has long defied the trend for fancy fit-outs, food and drinks. The uncomplicated courtyard garden hidden out the back is made for chillin’ with your mates. After a few ales, and maybe some dips or fish and chips, you’ll soon forget the urban angst round the corner.