The sun's out, the beer is cold, and suddenly, you realise that the bar you're in is utterly devoid of an outdoor drinking area. Equipped with our guide to Melbourne's most spacious, comfortable and well-equipped beer gardens, this nightmarish situation need never happen to you again.
Melbourne beer gardens we love
Over the last couple of years, publicans Cassie and Leo Thompson have steadily transformed the Gertrude from non-descript local to beer legend. There’s a bottle shop and growler service for take-home fun, with sixteen taps dedicated to the rare and the wild. Plus, the beer garden/ rooftop bar that nobody seems to remember.
Natural light pours from above into the central atrium of this four-level Flinders Lane bar, where trees, lit up with fairy lights, give the space a greenhouse atmosphere. Beers like Fat Yak, Peroni and McCracken’s are made for summer drinking; or make the most of Garden State’s excellent wine list and order the quaffable Thierry Germain Chenin Blanc or the fruity and dry Save Our Souls Upper Yarra Sangiovese.
Collingwood’s new warehouse brewery pub is shaping up to be the inner north’s favourite summer drinking spot, where parents and prams share the sun-drenched beer garden with young couples and friends. Through the glass walls you’ll see your beer being brewed: we recommend the light Grandstand pale ale, paired with huge and fresh steamed mussels.
Five years on, and this café/bar with a kitsch Fitzroy backyard atmosphere is kicking more goals than ever. Grub has upped its bar snack and alcohol offerings (while keeping its vintage Airstream food van in the garden). A glass of crisp riesling is what you need alongside boards of pickled vegetables, a smooth duck liver parfait and a zingy avocado and fermented silken tofu dip.
Head past what could be Melbourne’s longest bar to the rear courtyard, slung with lanterns and perpetually full of hip young drinkers and their busy toddlers. The tap beer selection is as minimalist as the walls, but they offer a few gems by the bottle including Hawthorne Pilsner and Bridgeport IPA.
You’ve got five brightly tiled bar areas, spread around a jungle-y rope-festooned courtyard complete with perving balcony. Big angular struts cut through the place like bamboo, and inside, copper beer tanks are holding Melbourne’s freshest Carlton Draught, pumped in direct from the nearby brewery.