Fitzroy has come a long way from its bohemian beginnings. While the northside suburb is still in touch with its edgy side, it's now better known as a hub for bars of all stripes. Punters hitting the town will find sleek cocktail bars, intimate whisky bars, and wine bars open any day of the week. We've picked out the best of the bunch, the Fitzroy drinking dens that never fail to bring the goods, from world-class cocktails to pints of craft beer.
The best bars in Fitzroy
The Everleigh has the look of a 1920s speakeasy and is a proper American-style cocktail bar, run with an Aussie sensibility, which means you’re getting some of the best drinks in the country, without the side of attitude that you get on Eldridge Street.
Unlike any other bar in Melbourne, Black Pearl combines party-smashing-knees-up good times with some of the best cocktails in town. The Attic upstairs is serving classic drinks out of crystal-cut Royal Doulton glassware, while downstairs is the place for beer or a whisky.
Marion is Andrew McConnell's fourth Gertrude St venue, and even though it’s right next door to Cutler and Co and could be construed as its satellite bar, it would be criminally underselling the situation. It's a wine bar that offers a short menu of wine-friendly bites written daily on the wall. Visit on weekends for a great breakfast.
The wine at Bar Liberty is experimental, the food is outlandish and the whole approach is disruptive. The wine list is the work of part-owners Banjo Harris Plane and Michael Bascetta, previously of Attica. Everything's good, but pick something from the old-fashioned world globe which opens to reveal the day's bottles like a house dry Apera (domestic sherry), made in collaboration with Yarra Valley’s Pennyweight.
They sling white, young and lightly-aged rums as well as an assortment of grassy agricole rums: spirit distilled from sugarcane juice rather than molasses. If you’re sitting on a fat wallet, throw it at the top-shelf gear like Zacapa XO.
Local spirits and Lamington jaffles. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? Well, maybe it isn’t. Mexico has tequila and tacos. America has beer and hamburgers; so why can’t Melbourne have Australian spirits and sealed toasties? Try whisky made in inner-city Melbourne, vodka from Tasmania and rum from the Swan Valley in Western Australia.
The Kodiak Club are purveyors of some very fine snacks including finger lickin' good chicken wings, pork crackling, and a mean hot dog. Not here to eat? They have a really good selection of American whisky and bourbon that they can shake up into delicious cocktails.
The Elysian is located on Brunswick Street, but this whisky bar by two former Whisky and Alement alums is also straight out of Japan. The small space has that olde-worlde ambience you want when you’re dropping serious cash on drinks, with jazz standards on the stereo, wooden bar, wood-panelled walls, and a back bar holding an eye-watering 300 whisky bottles. The owners and bartenders are making it their life’s mission to hunt down the world’s rarest and most interesting drams, so that you can taste whiskies unavailable anywhere else in Australia.
At the top of a dark staircase you’ll find a pool table, popcorn – popped to order and an indoor bocce pitch. The bar staff are the fun kind that will keep you out until way past your bedtime, but you won't mind.
Dingo's might just have conjured up a whole new theme: Let's call it High-end Suburbia. Wait, no: Gumleaf Chic. Staying on theme, the cocktail list is more Aussie than a busted plugger: you’ve got the Passiona, Big Pineapple, Hawaiian Shirt, Old Gum Tree, and Blood Orange Margarita. The first three drinks are light and fruity. The Passiona mixes passionfruit, Passion Pop and light rum, bringing back memories of the childhood summers and questionable teenage decisions.