MELBOURNE | My list of best Melbourne winter rooftop bars will show you where to go if you’re looking for a place to enjoy a drink with a view in the winter.
Say rooftop bar, and more often than not people’s minds will turn to warm, sunny days, enjoying the glorious sunlight during the day or balmy evenings relaxing. Winter tends to favour venues where you can hunker down away from the cold. Cosy little basement bars, pubs with fireplaces, and the like.
Perhaps in the past, to be dismissive of a rooftop bar in the winter wasn’t unwarranted. Many were exposed to the elements, and not the kind of places you wanted to be when the temperature was low, the wind howling, and the rain pouring. These days, however, things are a lot different.
Almost all of Melbourne’s newest rooftop bars have been designed with year long enjoyment in mind, and several of the old favourites have been retrofitted with things like retractable roofs, adjustable sides, heaters, and under floor and seat heating. Today, there’s no shortage of places to visit when you’re looking for a rooftop bar in the winter.
Here’s my list of the best Melbourne winter rooftop bars, in alphabetical order. Some are more protected from the elements than others, but all offer fantastic drinks and bites with a view, while keeping you warm and dry.
Is your favourite Melbourne winter rooftop bar on the list? Do you have a favourite you think me and my readers should know about?
The long bar in the centre of BOMBA opens up into outdoor areas with great views of the city on either side. There’s a rotating list of local, independent beers while the wine list features mostly Spanish and Australian wines, also all independent. A fantastic cocktail and spirits list rounds things off. For food it’s an assortment of tasty, tapas style Spanish dishes.
The Duke of Wellington
‘The Duke‘ has been around since 1853, and is one of Melbourne’s oldest pubs. The rooftop is a great spot for those looking for a venue that’s a cut above your usual pub offering, but still has all the things that make a pub great – tasty pub meals, great drinks, and an unpretentious vibe.
Located on the 13th level of the Greek Community Building, Fable features cocktails inspired by traditional fables and the tall tales told by the team’s relatives. For food, it’s a Mediterranean menu inspired by the building’s, and head chef Alex Xinis’ Greek heritage.
Farmer’s Daughters showcases the brilliant produce, growers, and makers of Victoria’s Gippsland region. Head upstairs for the rooftop bar, where you can enjoy drinks and bar snacks that will make you want to plan a weekend away in Gippsland.
The newest venue from the people behind Arbory and Arbory Afloat, HER is an impressive collection of four different venues, located across four levels of the heritage listed Pacific House. Head to the rooftop for great views and drinks, heated floors and booths.
Set across two rooftop levels, Loop Roof, and Loop Top are both great places to enjoy a rooftop drink and bite to eat. Large umbrellas and tall sides ensure that you’re well protected from the elements while enjoying your time, and the beautiful, lush gardens of the bar.
Pomelo Rooftop is a CBD bar from the team behind creative cocktail bar Bouvardia, which is directly below it. It’s a fun, bright space, inspired by 1980s Miami with lots of pastel colours, plants, big umbrellas, and heaters for when it gets cold.
The recently renovated Public House in Richmond has really stepped things up, featuring not one, but two rooftop bars. Both have sweeping views of Melbourne’s CBD and beyond. Food and drinks wise, it’s a decent selection of tasty crowd pleasures inspired by global cuisines, with something to suit everyone.
The Rooftop at QT
The Rooftop at QT is the signature bar at the top of the boutique QT hotel on Russell Street. The fitout keeps in line with the QT brand, luxe and glamorous, and impresses with a garden terrace that offers visitors sweeping views across the CBD. A retractable roof keeps things comfy year-round.
Housed on what was the former TAFE caretaker’s residence, Runner Up features an indoor and outdoor space. To drink, there’s a one pager of Australian and Italian white, red, orange, rose and sparkling wines, a few local beers on tap and in cans, and a small cocktail list with an Italian influence.
The Stolen Gem
The Stolen Gem is a bar hidden on the eighth floor rooftop of an unassuming building on Bourke Street. It offers 260° degree views across the city, featuring a large terrace with a fully retractable roof and heating. Cocktails are the focus of the drinks menu, made using Victorian and Australian spirits, and foraged herbs. A small food menu leans East Asian.
Whitehart is a two story bar constructed from shipping containers and steel beams. Renovations a few years ago saw a retractable roof installed, making it perfect for cool winter nights. The drinks list is great, and rotating food trucks provide food.
Have you tried any of these best Melbourne winter rooftop bars? Check out my Melbourne City Guide for more tips on where to eat and drink, and what to do in Victoria’s bustling capital.