You could call Time Out’s gong for the city’s best casual drinking venue the all-rounder award. Or the 'not a cocktail bar or wine bar' award.
You want a better definition? What we’re celebrating here are the places where you could take your 20 closest mates or the entire HR department from work and everyone would be happy. We’re talking lists that deliver solid work on the cocktail front, a choice of wines we actually want to drink and a good showing for the craft beer or cider aficionado in your life (we’ll even extend the definition to non-alcoholic options; because 2022). It’s a broad church that sums up the beautifully democratic nature of Melbourne’s drinking choices.
Pubs and the pub-adjacent slot neatly into this category. A place like the Marquis of Lorne or the Builder’s Arms, both of which reimagine the nineteenth-century pub for a thoroughly modern audience (hello, craft tinnies and skin contact wines). Or the Espy, which has been gussied into peak glamour without losing its heart and soul. Or Bar Romantica, which keeps itself nice despite staying up late.
Casual drinking is all about community, as proven adroitly by the sprawling Stomping Ground beer hall, a party welcoming kids, dogs and all comers. But it can also take those qualities and scale them down into the bijou charmers Caretaker’s Cottage and Music Room.
And showing that our love affair with rooftop drinking will not be cooling down anytime soon, we have Runner Up proving that Collingwood is quite literally on the up, and Johnny’s Green Room showing it’s possible to recreate the Amalfi coast two floors up in Carlton. So whatever your drinking bent, go forth, imbibe, and enjoy.
Here are the nominees for Best Wine Bar.
Here are the nominees for Best Cocktail Bar.
Here are the nominees for Best Casual Dining Restaurant.
in partnership with