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Drinking History Tours

  • Things to do
  1. Tour guide telling his attendees a story on an urban street corner at night time.
  2. Tour attendees gathering in front of the steps of an old building with pillars in front of it.
  3. Bartender serving three guests drinks at the bar of a dimly lit, fully stocked bar decorated with a chandelier.
  4. Selection of four alcoholic beverages, including a beer, cocktails and a glass of white wine, on a bench in the foreground of a brightly lit bar.
  5. The interior of a dark bar with assorted neon signs.

Time Out says

If you find walking tours too sober and pub crawls declassé, this is the walk for you

One of the best ways to learn about Melbourne is on foot, but without a trusty guide by your side it can be difficult to know where to go and why. Enter Drinking History Tours, a newly polished suite of walking experiences from the mastermind of seasoned global traveller and professional guide Ben Oliver. 

Frustrated by what he saw as a gap in the market for tours that ticked both the ‘fun’ and ‘informative’ boxes, Ben started Drinking History Tours in an attempt to help Melbourne explorers appreciate the rich history and mysteries of the city’s colourful past – all while enjoying a good drink.

Walking and learning are thirsty work, so each of Ben’s tours includes visits to three different atmospheric bars. In between, your experienced leader will guide you through laneways and alleys, weave entertaining stories along the way and point out important details in your surroundings most tourists will miss. 

The tours run for three hours, admit small groups of ten people or less, and start and finish in the CBD. Drinks are included in the ticket price, which ranges from $135 to $175 depending on the tour you choose. Off the grog? Those interested in the historical aspect of the tour without the drinks are welcome to join, too, at a lower cost. There’s even a Drinking History Tours app you can download to unlock more of Melbourne’s incredible history, bar maps included.

On the website, you’ll discover four Melbourne tours to choose from: Hidden Bars and Boozy Tales (for the original history tour), Hidden Bars and Creepy Tales (for spooks), Rooftop Bars and Ripping Tales (for views), and Whisky Bars and Gin Joints (for true hard liquor connoisseurs.) The latter wears the crown of being Melbourne’s only dedicated spirit bar tour, while Rooftop Bars and Ripping Tales is the newest offering from the tour operator. 

The new Rooftop and Ripping Tales tour will kick off among the treetops at some of Melbourne’s most loved rooftop bars. You’ll learn about Australia’s first rooftop bar experience in 1969, how legal changes back in the 2000s intensified the Melburnian passion for sky-high swilling, and more. Bookings are available from June, so stay tuned for more info.

Whether you’re looking for something to do with an interstate visitor or you’re keen to rediscover some hidden gems and quirky stories around town with friends, find out how to make a booking here.

Feeling thirsty? These are the 50 best bars in Melbourne. Want a sky-high bevvie? Discover the best rooftop bars in Melbourne.

Lauren Dinse
Written by
Lauren Dinse


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