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Interior at Neighbourhood Wine
Photograph: Nathalie Saldumbide

The best bars for drinking alone in Melbourne

Flying solo? Don't sweat it. At these terrific bars you'll find bar staff with good chat, space for quiet reflection and some of Melbourne's best drinks

By Time Out editors
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Look, we're not here to judge. Maybe you just want to treat yourself to a little alone time and a good bottle of wine, or maybe you've clocked off early and need to kill some time before meeting up with friends. Maybe you're freelancing and coffee just isn't going to cut it any longer (oh yeah, we've been there). Whatever the reason, here's where to get a cheeky bevvy on your own in Melbourne.

For more ideas, check out our guides to Melbourne's best wine bars, cocktail bars and hidden bars.

Bars for flying solo in Melbourne

Gerald's Bar in Carlton North
Photograph: Daniel Boud

1. Gerald's Bar

Bars Wine bars Carlton North

The experience shows at this Carlton stalwart, with hospitality-for-life staffers and a democratic approach to drinking: customers choose the wine on the pour. Your wine typically comes with a recommendation, a back-story and, if they like you, a practical joke.

The interior of Fitzroy wine bar Gertrude Street Enoteca
Photograph: Graham Denholm

2. Gertrude Street Enoteca

Bars Fitzroy

One of Melbourne's original bottle shop/bars, this Mediterranean marvel boasts produce-driven dishes and an intrepid wine list. Wines by the glass change almost daily, and all of them are very, very good. You'll find many people working from laptops during the day, so solo adventures is not uncommon at the Enoteca.

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3. Robot Bar

Bars Melbourne

Sake comes with a side of anime at this quirky, cartoon-covered Japanese bar. Kick back on one of the ruby-hued banquettes and you'll be presented with a fan of food and drinks menus. There's a stellar selection of sakes served chilled, at room temperature or warm, each presented in a curvaceous ceramic flask with dinky little cups for sipping – not shooting – this savoury-sweet rice wine. 

Bar at The Woods of Windsor
Photograph: Graham Denholm

4. The Woods of Windsor

Restaurants Windsor

Having succeeded with good-music-good-food café Yellow Bird, Clint Hyndman and Dean Bowden decided to bring a classic (and classy) speakeasy joint to Windsor – and they've done an ace job. 

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5. Byrdi

Bars Cocktail bars Melbourne

There should be another word for what Byrdi is doing. Bar doesn’t quite cut it, despite the fact that dispensing booze is at the core of what it does. It seems more like some kind of lab where you get to play guinea pig to their scientist. There’s been nothing quite like it in Melbourne since Der Raum, which makes sense given that co-owner Luke Whearty cut his cocktail teeth at that highly influential bastion of eccentricity. Cosy cushioned seating is throughout the venue, but if you want to learn more about what you're drinking, try and nab a seat at the bar. 

Pouring wine at Atlas Vinifera
Photograph: Graham Denholm

6. Atlas Vinifera

Restaurants Bars Richmond

Atlas Vinifera has invested money in its compelling and incredibly well-stocked shelves, time in staff training while remaining fiercely independent. The bar looks like a bottle shop that’s had seats put in the middle of it, but sitting at the bar means you may find your new best friend, or cackle endlessly over Black Books, Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Arrested Development references by the staff (or spotting them in Easter eggs around the bar).

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Joe's Shoe Store in Northcote
Photograph: Graham Denholm

7. Joe's Shoe Store

Bars Northcote

There's just the right amount of spit and polish at this low-key wine bar housed in a former shoe shop. Beer fans can get longnecks of Messina, while the short-and-sharp wine list (and free delivery from Pizza Mein Leibe next door) will satisfy the rest.

People sitting inside at the bar at The Shady Lady Melboure
Photograph: Graham Denholm

8. The Shady Lady

Bars Cocktail bars Fitzroy

The Shady Lady is a dive bar, but not in the way that Melbourne normally does dive bars. The vibes are sassy and unpretentious, the drinks are cheap, the tunes are from yesteryear, and it’s the place to get rowdy any night of the week (the bar has a strict no-dickhead policy). It’s like your grandma’s house, if your grandma’s a bit of a fabulous alcoholic. While people do come to the Shady Lady to party and let their hair down, you won't be left in isolation. Don't surprised if a close-knit group decide to adopt you for an evening.

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9. Neighbourhood Wine

Bars Wine bars Fitzroy North

Neighbourhood Wine is the locals' wine bar that's worth switching suburbs for. Climb the stairs to the first-floor bar and restaurant to discover a clubby, handsome space of vintage bar stools, tapestry and brass. The long wrap-around bar is the perfect place if you're alone. The best thing is, so many seats fit around it, that you won't have to fight for your place.

10. Hihou

Bars Cocktail bars Melbourne

Once you’ve located the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it entrance on Flinders Lane, near the corner of Spring Street, you’ll be ushered upstairs to a sultry sake den. You can keep your shoes on if you’re dining in the front room, home to padded bar stools and tiny, shrunken tables for two, with leafy views over Treasury Gardens. Come early to enjoy the quiet and have the bar to yourself, but the general vibe is always subdued and sensible, so you won't feel out of place later in the evening, either.

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11. Above Board

Bars Cocktail bars Collingwood

Hayden Lambert is a former Time Out Bartender of the Year for his tenure at Bar Americano. He must have gotten used to close quarters at Presgrave Place because his current digs are almost as compact. The menu proudly declares that Lambert delivers cocktails and bad banter: something worth mentioning as he’s had years honing his daggy dad jokes, dry wit and old-man grump. This adds to your experience, rather than takes away, as the offering at Above Board is not just personalised, but personal. 

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More ideas for a quiet drink in Melbourne

Waiter pours red wine into a tall wine glass
Photograph: Graham Denholm

The best wine bars in Melbourne

Bars Wine bars

Whether you're looking for a bar in the north, south, east, or west of our fair city, Time Out Melbourne has got all points of the compass covered. 

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