The rooftop bar at Carlton’s King and Godfree added a new element to the longstanding Lygon Street café and deli after major renovations back in 2019. Up the stairs plastered with colourful posters, you’ll find a big and bright patio bar serving beer, wine, cocktails and pizzas. With commanding views over the city skyline, Johnny’s Green Room is the most picturesque place in Carlton to sip Peroni and smash pizza.
Spectacular 270-degree views are only broken by the tops of the plane trees, while canvas awnings and red umbrellas offer plenty of shade. The beautiful people of Carlton sip Aperol Spritzes on tap, and DJs let their easy listening beats provide an unobtrusive backing.
It can get seriously busy here when the sun is out, so book in early for groups or expect to wait in line downstairs on a weekend. Even if there’s space at your table, they won’t let mates skip the line to join you unless you’ve pre-booked a function. Despite the onslaught, bar service is remarkably quick and efficient. They’ve set this place up for high-volume from day dot, and done a good job of it. On a Sunday arvo the space is far more chilled, with a wide range of ages enjoying a catch-up in the sun.
Along with the Aperol Spritzes, there’s a substantial list of other cocktails that skew sweet and Italian inspired like the That’s Amore, made with spiced rum, white chocolate liqueur, almond syrup and toasted marshmallow. The 8 Ball (a drug reference? You cheeky thing, you!) sees tequila mixed with mezcal, Aperol, yellow Chartreuse and lime for a fun and summery sipper that’s less complex than its ingredients would suggest but tasty nonetheless. Beer includes Peroni on tap, but there’s also a Garage Project NEIPA, a Wolf of the Willows Amber and a Bodriggy sour for the more adventurous. There’s also a bank of taps pouring alcoholic seltzers from Moon Dog in a range of flavours.
Where once the menu here sported caprese salads and eggplant parmas, it’s simpler now, with a short list of standard pub snacks (olives, calamari, chips) and classic pizzas as the more substantial option (the three vegetarian ones available vegan and gluten free). Said pizza is delivered with a smile but no napkins or cutlery, nor any indication of where to find them, and is perfectly adequate. Modern in style, unlike the thickly topped capricciosas being served in the old-school cafés below, but not chewy or woodfired enough to challenge Melbourne’s many great pizzerias. Still, the sauce is good, the salami is generously portioned, and it’s certainly an easy pairing with the smashable Nero d’Avola red wine on tap.
If you love Naked for Satan, the rooftop at the Imperial, or hanging out at the Australian Open, this bar is right up your cobblestoned Carlton alley. It’s another venue proving that this iconic neighbourhood can do a lot more than cheap pasta for tourists.