Melbourne is world famous for its bar scene. The locals take their drinks seriously, and the city is definitely full of quirky and unusual places to quench your thirst with a signature cocktail or craft beer.
If you’re looking for a little twist on a night out, we’ve collected 10 of Melbourne’s most quirky bars. From a clinically designed space that looks like a lab, to a bar that pays homage to everyone’s favorite Seinfeld character, these places are sure to provide you with a night to remember.
The Croft Institute
The Croft Institute is in Melbourne and while it can be tricky to find Melbourne’s backstreets in a maze of backstreets, it is well worth a visit. The bottom floor is laid out like an old-fashioned science lab, complete with test tubes, syringes and beakers. After the bar staff helps you figure out what to drink, you’ll be served a professionally mixed cocktail with some sort of medical supply. Head upstairs to the gymnasium’s themed rooms, where you can enjoy the wee hours of the morning with an outdoor coffee table, grass floor and DJ.
Pawnbrokers & Co.
Guests may walk out of Pawn & Co with a lighter wallet; everything in the bar is for sale, even the cups of drinks. The interior of the shop is reminiscent of a tavern, with old books and specimens hanging on the walls and soft, moody lighting, a DJ playing tunes from the empty interior of a grand piano, cocktails mingling in the old church organ. The cocktail list is full of vermouths, such as the signature drink Arsenic and Old Lace, which mixes “green fairies” with gin, dry vermouth and violet.
This St Kilda bar is a faithful recreation of the apartment of Katishe, a notorious Melbourne artist who worked the streets at night to support her career until her mysterious disappearance in the 1980s.Katishe was obsessed with New York, and the bar is decorated like a 1970s New York apartment, complete with sofas, refrigerators and washing machines. Guests can relax in the “living room” and play a giant game of Jenga or guess who, with the fridge piled high in the freezer. It’s a great place to hang out, and drinks on the cocktail list can be sold by the pot.
The Berlin Bar transports guests to an era before the fall of the wall, dividing the space into East and West Berlin. West Berlin’s rooms are lavishly decorated, with chandeliers, white leather banquettes and decadent cocktails featuring. East Berlin’s rooms, on the other hand, are more rustic, with long wooden tables, discarded grenade boxes and scratched blankets. The bar has an impressive list of cocktails, including a Früschoppen made with mezcal, Sauvignon Blanc, dry vermouth, sage, juniper, grapefruit and vermouth.
Bar Americano can only accommodate ten guests at a time, so make time in advance to check out this bar that serves classic cocktails to lucky guests.Bar Americano’s space is modeled after “American bars” across Europe during the Jazz Age, where Europeans took inspiration from the jazz bars of Chicago and New York. The bar’s cocktail list focuses solely on the classics and changes weekly based on seasonal ingredients. The ban on photography in the bar adds to the uniqueness of Bar Americano.
Seinfeld fans can enjoy George Costanza’s summer all year round at this quirky Fitzroy bar. The bar features a number of Seinfeld references, including a Frogger machine and pretzels on the bar, and even a Seinfeld pilot script signed by Jason Alexander himself. In addition, George’s offers a delicious range of pub food, including a range of grilled sandwiches named after the famous George. Try George Michael, a sweet sandwich containing Twix chocolate bars, Nutella and whipped cream.
Storyville is a whimsical tribute to everyone’s favorite childhood fairy tale. However, there’s less Disney inspiration and more of the Brothers Grimm, and a darkness permeates the bar. As guests walk past the flaming performers outside, they enter a space where toadstools emerge from the ceiling, golden birdcages are hidden upstairs, and the upstairs library is inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia. The cocktail list is for bibliophiles and includes Christianity Without Tears, inspired by Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and So Long and Thanks For All The Fish, a tribute to Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Although it takes its name from Bret Easton Ellis’ novel Celebrity Culture, Glamorama’s décor resembles that of American Psychology. As guests enter the neon-lit bar, a portrait of Patrick Bateman greets them, mannequins dot the space, a hand that might replace the usual beer tap, and mutilated arms and legs hanging from the ceiling. This bar has made a name for itself as an all-nighter, staying open until 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. The bar has a large selection of Australian whiskeys, as well as a range of high-end spirits, which are put to good use on their unique cocktail list. For those who need to enjoy a meal alongside a cocktail, the kitchen offers a classic dish that is also very much on point: veggie chicken wings and “Botox” pie with a full sauce that is a sight to behold.