South Yarra's got a multi-level fun emporium in this joint. The lower decks are all about live entertainment and DJ wars, but we've got our eyes set on sunset cocktails on the roof. It's replete with cushion-lined deck and daybeds, the beats are chilled and the eats are snacks or a la carte.
Best summer cocktail The Emerson drinks list includes a few cocktail jugs for sharing with mates. Our summer pick is The Social Network (Siroc vodka, Chambord, vanilla, fresh strawberries and lime, finished off with soda and dry).
The view The bar overlooks picturesque Melbourne from South Yarra to the city skyline.
The tunes On afternoon in the sun here you can expect chilled-out, soft house with live DJs building into some heavier, more commercial tunes as the sun goes down.
143/145 Commercial Rd, South Yarra VIC 3141. Thu 5pm-11.30pm; Fri-Sat noon-5am; Sun noon-11pm.
The ultimate late-night bar, perched above Melbourne Supper Club, is a rooftop haven of frosty beers, Americanos and bar snacks such as polenta chips with aioli, a strange Welsh rarebit and a croque monsieur. Solid systems, a good-time vibe and a businesslike attitude.
Best summer cocktail Basil Blush – gin, lime Juice, Thai basil, egg white and Peychaud Bitters. Shaken and served in a chilled martini glass with a Thai basil garnish.
The tunes The classics; Frank Sinatra, Phyllis Dillon, Nina Simone, Tom Waits, The Beatles, James Brown, Ray Charles.
Level 2, 161 Spring Street. Daily 5pm-3am.
Access this Astroturfed terrace from a stairwell in the alley behind Section 8. The perches line the perimeter so you feel like you’re drinking in an infinity pool. Craft beer, pre-mixed cocktails for dispensing from siphons, and Rositas on tap. Food-wise, go for tender strips of herby fried chicken.
Best summer cocktail 1st Class Fizz. Based on the Twentieth Century cocktail, they combine gin with lemon, white chocolate, Lillet Blanc and a splash of Campari, topped off with Prosecco.
The view Panoramic views of the Melbourne skyline from the heart of the city.
The tunes Spotify is the DJ up at Goldilocks and you can pretty much expect anything because the tunes change depending on the weather and the vibe that day.
Level 4, 264 Swanston St. Daily 2pm-3am.
The Aylesbury closed up and brought us the more casual, loosened-tie affair, Bomba, but that doesn't mean the rooftop has lost its elegance. Vermouth here is a real thing as Jesse Gerner has started bringing in Casa Mariol Vermut Negre. There are freshly shucked oysters and olives nightly.
Best summer cocktail We're going for The Jealous Italian ( Aperol, sloe gin, Casa Mariol vermouth and fresh passionfruit topped with sparkling wine).
The view High up on Lonsdale, surrounded by high rises, Bomba’s rooftop bar looks down on Melbourne’s busy inner city.
The tunes The DJs at Bomba throw down chilled house tunes from the afternoon well into the night.
103 Lonsdale St. Sat-Thu 3pm-late; Fri 3pm-late.
Palmz rooftop bar
Decadence was clearly a watchword for whoever designed the fit-out of the Carlton Club, with taxidermied exotic animals and velvet trim running rampant. Head up a floor to the thatch-roomed Palmz Rootop Bar for a taste of the tropics – not least from the cocktail jugs.
Best summer cocktail The Passionfruit Paloma combines Tromba Blanco tequila, fresh passionfruit and lime topped with sparking grapefruit juice and garnished with half a passionfruit.
The view You get the best of both worlds up at the Palmz rooftop; surrounded by palm trees in a tropical paradise with 360-degree city views.
The tunes Expect anything from hip-hop to blues to top 40 to house. Wednesday nights get a bit different, with soul music played from 8pm.
193 Bourke Street. Mon-Wed 3pm-late; Thu-Sun noon-late.