Just because it's the small hours and you're up for a drink, it doesn't mean you want to be yelling over the music in a nightclub. Thankfully, there's plenty of places in Melbourne to enjoy a quiet(ish) beverage until sunrise – and with the 24-hour public transport network operating on weekends, it's easier than ever to get home.
Late-night drinking in Melbourne
Dark and deeply inviting, this party-ready dive bar is a favourite among the Melbourne booze community once they've poured their last drinks for the night. Come for the craft beers, shots of whisky and the Everleigh's bottled cocktails.
Melburnians never needed the succession of big international awards to know that the Black Pearl is where you go for a bloody good cocktail – though undoubtedly those accolades benefited the travellers who now flock to the bar as a checklist destination. This bar truly comes alive after midnight.
A nondescript, dumpster-strewn alley no more, Mornane Place is home to a late night bar with some seriously good eats. A city cannot have too many places like Arlechin. Beneath the sexily arched cork-lined ceiling lurks a place that feels like a subterranean clubhouse. The wine list is as Aussie-Italian as the Grossis themselves, with an accompaniment of Aussie-inflected Italian snacks to keep you fortified.
Union Electric is marked only by a fat rusted lightning bolt pinpointed by globes and a small door that opens onto the paved alley. This bar is a good time, and so are the vaguely tropical cocktails: the Kaiju with Scrumpy Cider, Green Chartreuse, and Suntory Whisky kicks goals all year round with the super fresh flavour.
Bar Margaux, the late-night French brasserie by the team behind the Everleigh and Heartbreaker is keeping people fortified until the early hours of the morning. It's a given that the cocktails are excellent. Food is inspired by the kitchens of Paris by way of New York (co-owner Michael Madrusan sites Balthazar and Pastis as influences) with dishes like escargot with Pernod butter, duck frites, gnocchi Parisienne, and of course, a house burger on its menu.
Sake, izakaya snacks such as gyoza, bonito-covered sugar snap peas and potato salad from Mugen Ramen across the alleyway combine with anime cartoons at this compact Japanese retreat.
Vernon Chalker's long-standing bar is a louche basement lounge with a very serious relationship with gin.