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Carlton bar crawl

It may not be your first choice for a boozy adventure, but Carlton has the drinks angle pretty well covered

Photograph: Graham Denholm

Melbourne's Little Italy is better known for pasta than piss-ups, but that doesn't mean Carlton skimps in the small bar stakes. Below, we've rounded up some of our favourite bars in Lygon Street and surrounds (with a few food stops thrown in for good measure). If you're in the area, be sure to check out our guides to Carlton's best shopping and Lygon Street's best restaurants too.

The best bars in Carlton

The Beaufort

The Beaufort, if you’ve yet to make its acquaintance, is a pickle-pushing, swash buckling, rock’n’roll dive-bar (minus the scunge), where you can get a Cherry’n’Jerry (cherry Coke, Sailor Jerry rum), grease your wheels with some deep-fried pickles, and carve ‘hold fast!’ into the bar.

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Carlton

The Brandon Hotel

The Brandon Hotel looks unassuming. Enter the fairly generic front bar you’ll get a squinty assessment from the locals that says: “Y’all ain’t from round here.” Conquer these gatekeepers and your reward is a really great neighbourhood pub with a sweet bistro out the back.

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Carlton North

Carlton Yacht Club

Here they do $16 cocktails, which is a seafaring steal these days. While on the one hand you should give the menu a good read we say head straight for the classics where you’ll get good value from a Vieux Carre of rye whiskey, cognac, Peychauds and Angostura bitters.

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Carlton

Cure Bar and Eatery

The tiny, well-appointed bar is owned and operated by Leigh and Tom, a genial pair who’ve distilled their hard-earned understanding of what makes a great bar into one small but perfectly formed vessel boasting an extensive collection of whiskies, which includes several from now-closed distilleries. They also happen to have one of the finest mushroom croquettas in town.

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Carlton

DOC Espresso

Pizza, pasta and coffee that people would cross deserts for are their bread and butter at DOC Espresso. But if it's a little salumi action with a cold Birra Moretti or a glass of wine that you are after, see these guys and they will sort you out.

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Carlton

Hannah's Bar

Filling the upper level of Epocha restaurant, Hannah's is a proper European-style bar built for afternoons filled with gin and games of backgammon. Every table is printed with a board. We’ve got no idea how to play, but we like that we could.

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Carlton

The Town Mouse

The Town Mouse is a casual restaurant-bar with a sharp Art Deco fit-out and a whole lot of Motown. You know you’re dealing with booze professionals when they serve your gin and tonic stained with Campari. And did we mention the wine? Young gun sommelier Lachie Barber (Movida Aqui) consulted on the list, so you’re guaranteed some fun in a glass.

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Carlton

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