Once upon a time, a bar tucked away in a Melbourne laneway was the epitome of hip. Now, it’s all about the rooftop. Celebrating the Melbourne skyline and making use of previously unused spaces, the rooftop bar is where it’s at in this Australian city — especially during summertime. Here are five of the best:
Located on iconic Hardware Lane, Campari House is four levels of fun, but without a doubt, the top-level rooftop bar is most enjoyable, with skyscraper views, bright red umbrellas, and wood-fired pizza, made with pumpkin, pine nuts, gorgonzola and sweet onions, that can be washed down with a Rekorderlig strawberry and lime cider (or two).
You’ll find this treasure spot along bustling Bourke Street, but you’ll certainly feel like you’re in another world on its rooftop. The bar pays tribute to the Madame herself — a well-known brothel owner in the late 19th century — and its terrace, which seats about 45 guests, is nothing short of decadent (and sporty!). Catch waiters walking across astro-turf in their Fred Perry tennis whites to deliver jugs of Pimms, the Madame’s signature fruity DD Cup with vermouth, gin, lemonade, ginger and native botanicals – such a strawberry gum, wattle seed, river mint and sea parsley and more.
A varied menu — chocolate fondue made with French cocoa pearls, toasted sandwiches, the restaurant’s famous poached chicken, cupcakes and more — complements the varied drinks list of beers, ciders, wines, including sparkling, as well as cocktails, spirits, Pimms and seasonal creations. Madame Brussels feels like an exclusive country club found right in the heart of the city.
With its sprawl of black leather sofas and mahogany furniture, don’t be surprised if you feel like you’ve stepped into a classy speakeasy. This is a rooftop bar unlike any other; vintage lamps, plush velvet curtains and late-night jazz culminate in an experience that pleases all the senses. Sophisticated cocktails — think Manhattans and martinis — are served, as well as an impressive list of wines, and of course, strong spirits.
If you can excuse the kitsch, you’ll have a ball at the Palmz. Wooden decking, pot plants and bamboo might border on too much tropical décor, but in the summer, all is forgiven. The cocktail menu boasts playful names such as Once Upon a Time in Mexico — Tromba Reposado tequila, apricot brandy, agave syrup, fresh orange and lime with a dash of chinotto — and there’s a hearty selection of beer, cider and wine. Should the tasty libations conjure up any hunger pangs, the Palmz offers a prix fixe BBQ menu with options such as potato croquettes and slow cooked spicy lamb.
You can only gain access to Siglo via Spring Street’s unmarked Supper Club door and several flights of stairs, but the climb is well worth the journey. Siglo screams Melbourne — tucked away, privy to only those in the know, and with a hint of Old World Europe. Views of Parliament House and the Princess Theatre set a perfect backdrop for a quaint evening, too. If you’re looking for an effortlessly classic experience, from the food menu offering a range of options from foie gras to party pies, as well as a selection of classic desserts like crème brulee and tiramisu to the cocktail list offering classics like a Negroni, Southside, Pimms and Aperol Spritzer to the décor, say “hello” to Siglo.
Photos courtesy of Transit Cocktail Lounge, The Carlton and Siglo Bar