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CBD bar crawl: Upper East Side

Strike out for the north east of the CBD for rooftop bars, a crash course in cocktails and some seriously limited edition whisky

Photograph: Mark Chew

If you haven't wet your whistle in the north-east corner of Melbourne's CBD, you're missing a whole lot of fun, including a couple cocktail stalwarts and two of Melbourne's best rooftop bars. For more serious mixed drinks, check out our guide to this city's best cocktail bars. Or, if high-altitude drinking is your thing, we've rounded up the best rooftop bars too.

CBD Upper East bar crawl

1806

If you’re a cocktail rookie on a fact-finding mission, take yourself to 1806 – the prettiest booze school in the land. Sit at the long, ornate bar, behind which is a twinkling rainbow of liquor bottles theatrically framed by velvet curtains, and prepare to get learned. The menu is literally a book starting with drinks from the year 1806, and detailing the history of cocktail mixing right up to those heady recent times when we were all smashing Cosmos.

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Melbourne

Bomba

We recommend you book at Bomba, but if you do walk in and have to wait, the rooftop bar is a pretty good place to kick things off with a frosty Estrella. Or how about some vermouth? They’ve got the botanically funked up fortified wine coming out the taps. Plus they are pouring predominantly Spanish wines at a flat rate of either $40 or $60 a bottle. 

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Melbourne

Captain Melville

Casual-boozer-come-dance-club Miss Libertine bit the big one this year, and filling the shell is Captain Melville – an outback/gold rush era/bushranger-themed bistro and bar. Downstairs you'll find the restaurant where things stay pretty proper, but after a bit of extra renovating, they've also just launched an upstairs cocktail bar that stays open until 5am.

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Melbourne
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City Wine Shop

It’s all about wine, wine, wine here - all you need to worry about is whether you want red, white or sparkling and the staff will fill in the blanks.The City Wine Shop is much more than a shop for grape fiends, it is also lovely wine bar in which to sit about and drink, feeling very grown up indeed.

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Melbourne

Cookie

Cookie is the little black dress of bars. It’s a place we sometimes forget among all the glitzy new Places To Be Right Now, but every time we come back to this playful, manically busy joint, located a puffy stair climb halfway up Curtin House, we never know why we’ve been away – it’s an old faithful that never fails to deliver. 

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Melbourne

Madame Brussels

Madame Brussels is the flirty parlour bar that sits above Collins Street’s Akuza lounge like a frilly debutante with a whole lot of sass. It’s in this place of AstroTurf and garden furniture that you’ll find an exclusively good-looking staff wearing vintage tennis gear and throwing around Pimms cups, sausage rolls and winks.

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Melbourne
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Siglo

Snacks! Beers! Single malts and cigars! Perched above the Supper Club, Siglo is the classic Melbourne late-night bar, a rooftop haven of frosty beers (Trumer Pils! Mountain Goat Pale Ale!), Americanos (Americani?) and great bar snacks such as polenta chips with aioli and a life-saving croque monsieur.

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Melbourne

Whisky & Alement

This is the only bar south of the equator serving the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s gear. They're single-cask releases you’d usually have to be a member to even get a sideways glance at. This is a bar for whisky fans, not just nerds and you’ll find as many drinkers taking their dram with a beer and a smoke in the courtyard as buffs talking shop at the bar. 

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Melbourne

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