With its arty vibe and warmly-lit interior, this Little Lonsdale Street small bar is a winner when a laidback drinking session is on the cards. With almost two decades under its belt, it’s something of an institution, though an unassuming facade means it’s an easy one to miss. To drink, expect a tidy selection of Aussie wines and a global assortment of beers.
Perched above Swanston Street, this charming small bar gives punters a bird’s eye view of all that CBD hustle and bustle. The inside space is not a whole lot bigger than its namesake balcony, though the whole thing proves the perfect fit for a session of jam jar cocktails, tapas plates and a few of the kitchen’s tasty flatbreads.
The ultimate small bar for beer-lovers and gaming fans alike, Bartronica sports an impressive collection of retro arcade games, which includes a swag of old favourites and plenty of super rare iterations. Get all nostalgic playing the likes of NBA Jam and Time Crisis 2, while sipping local craft brews and a selection of fun signature cocktails.
Taking out the title of Melbourne’s tiniest small bar, Matt Bax’s Bar Americano is standing room only, though nabbing a spot in here proves well worth the squeeze. Behind the bar, some of the city’s handiest cocktail pros are paying homage to the best of the classics – expect a weekly-changing selection, alongside a tight rotation of top-notch Italian wines.
While most of Melbourne’s small bars are laidback and low-key, Hihou’s vibe heads in a more grown-up direction. Tucked above Kappo, you’ll find an elegant Japanese destination, where the fit-out’s sleek, the small plates are sublime and the drinks list is sure to impress. Treat yourself to a fine whisky, or something from the sprawling range of sake.
This Crossley Street small bar also happens to be one of Melbourne’s most acclaimed cocktail haunts, whipping up the kind of standout liquid creations you won’t be forgetting in a hurry. Get comfy in the intimate, retro-inspired space, and prepare to be wowed by some phenomenal, classic-leaning cocktails, crafted with a warm nod to the past.
One of Melbourne CBD’s newer small bars, Bodega Underground offers a little slice of Mexico, in the heart of Chinatown. This subterranean space has the feel of a cosy dive bar, its lighting moody and its walls plastered in vintage posters. The range of mezcal and tequila is as approachable as it is impressive, and there are some ripper tacos being plated up till 3am each night.
A pint-sized homage to Japanese drinking culture, this Bligh Place small bar will transport you straight to the streets of Tokyo, its ceiling hung with miniature robots and its drinks list filled with a hefty line-up of Japanese sake and Asian brews. Robot Bar’s also renowned for its solid range of Japanese whisky, and a popular Tuesday anime night.
The small bar of every whisky lover’s dreams, Whisky & Alement boasts an epic selection of spirits sourced from all corners of the globe. It’s only a tiny set-up, but it’s got a big personality – the kind of place that’s perfect for lingering over a top-quality tipple. And, with new whiskies added to the list each week, you’re bound to find yourself making plenty of return visits.
Slinging island vibes and rum-infused cocktails, this divey small bar feels miles away from the busyness of Flinders Lane outside. It’s a super comfy little watering hole, with squashy couches, great vinyl tunes and loads of top-notch weekly specials to keep you coming back for more. The ultimate low-key hideaway.