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One of Melbourne’s best attractions is undoubtedly its warren of lanes and alleyways that bisect the central city. Most are home to several dumpsters and freakishly huge rats, while others are home to high end fashion boutiques and some very cool bars. Here’s a few of our favourite hidden bars… you may need Google Maps to find these.
Finding this first bar is not easy. It’s in an alley off Little Bourke Street (Chinatown) - which is barely a street itself - near Russell Street. The only indication of anything being on Waratah Street is the highly placed, orange ‘Manchuria’ sign. Push through the heavy steel door and up the stairs to find a lounge style bar, with a distinct Asian theme. Antique looking couches, chase lounges and gorgeous sideboards are separated with fine curtains, giving each sitting area its own privacy. And what’s on the menu? Well there’s all the usual beer, wine and spirits, but what they’re really known for is their amazing cocktails!
2. Berlin Bar
This place is inspired by times of the Berlin Wall, and even contains of a Checkpoint Charlie as you enter. Inside the theme continues with camouflage mesh covering the ceilings, but the rest of the bar is decorated with shiny tables, plush white seating and dark lighting. Cocktails are popular here too, as are their East European inspired bar snacks.
3. Bennetts lane Jazz Club
This one probably won’t be too hard to find these days, thanks to Lonely Planet calling it “the world’s best jazz club”. And indeed if you’re a fan of jazz then you need to go here as they feature up and coming jazz artists every night of the week, as well as famous names from around the world, particularly around the Melbourne Jazz Festival.
4. Campari House
There’s something for everyone at Campari. The ground floor is an Italian café serving up popular pizzas and other nibbles. Heading upstairs there’s the ‘Guest Room’, beautifully decked out for functions/team meals. From Wednesday to Saturday, the next story –the ‘Lounge Room’ is opened for after work drinks. It’s a cosy spot with wooden floors, comfy leather couches and even a fireplace. DJ’s kick off later in the evening if you like a party. Finally, the most popular spot all the way up the top is the 'Rooftop', open daily and perfect for Melbourne’s hot evenings.
5. Cherry Bar
You really couldn’t get a better address for a rock pub! Cherry Bar isn’t flash, but it isn’t trying to be. If you’re a rock fan, come for the live acts on until 11.30pm, after which a DJ takes over. Cherry Bar is absolutely the place you want to be if you’re in Melbourne for a rock concert too, it’s been known to host world famous bands after their shows.
If you’re not one for the everyday tap beer or common wine brands, this may be the place for you. Up the stairs on the second story you’ll find Murmur, a bar known for its extensive cocktail list, top shelf spirits and rare craft beers. While it’s proudly pretentious of its alcohol, the rest of the bar actually has a very friendly and comfy feel to it.
7. Section 8
You really do have to wonder if someone’s having a laugh with Section 8. The bar is literally a vacant lot surrounded with chain fences and filled with wooden forklift pallets for seating. That’s it! But Melbournian’s are quick to embrace anything different, and this place has been popular for many years now. There’s now even a roof for when it’s raining, but it’s best visited on a hot Melbourne afternoon, before the after work crowd arrives.
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