After working as a Melbourne Hidden bars tour guide for a year, I think I have the most comprehensive list of ALL of the amazing secluded, unique, secret, and hidden bars in Melbourne.

Melbourne is SO unique in that it has developed a hidden laneway bar culture from scratch in the last 25ish years. In the early ’90s, the CBD was a ghost town. But with the emergence of a few new laws, Melbourne’s laneways and small venues came to life.

Today, the laneways are where you will find the most authentic coffee shops, delicious little restaurants, and tucked-away secret bars – not on the main streets!

Along with going to hidden bars in Melbourne for work (yes, its a thing – you can book the hidden bars tour here if you can’t be bothered planning your own route), I made it my mission to discover as many fascinating venues as I possibly could during my years living here.

It’s so incredible how many tiny little venues there are – there are hidden bars around every corner in Melbourne! It’s sometimes hard to believe that they can stay in business, but the novelty factor of discovering a new venue keeps them always exciting and forever-relevant.

To set expectations well, I’ve organized these Melbourne bars into 6 ‘levels of hidden-ness”. This means the following:

5/5: Truly Hidden/secret bar, actually concealed behind something
4/5: Concealed, e.g. down a laneway and up some stairs. You wouldn’t find it on your own.
3/5: Easily missed, e.g. down a laneway with a small sign
2/5: Hidden from main streets but clearly apparent
1/5: Visible from main streets but still unique
Rooftop: Rooftop bars get their own category because they’re obviously always ‘hidden’ and you need to find the way up.

Follow along on this Hidden Bars Melbourne Map! If you are exploring, check out my travel guides to: Southbank, Fitzroy, all Melbourne suburbs, Day Trips, Best Brunch in Melbourne CBD, and more.

The most comprehensive list of Hidden Bars in Melbourne, frm speakeasies and secret bars to unique venues, shipping container bars, rooftop bars, and more.
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Secret + Hidden Bars in Melbourne CBD

Eau de Vie

Hidden Level: 5/5

Recommendation Level: 5/5+

Good For: The most ridiculously/amazingly presented cocktails ever

Eau de Vie is honestly my top recommendation if you were only to go to one of the hidden bars in Melbourne – its the one I took my parents to! For this one, you’ll have to find the lantern at the end of Malthouse Lane. Once you find the lantern, open the big wooden door behind it.

It may look like the back door to a parking garage, but trust me that it’s not – you’ll find a dark, upscale bar behind with candles lit and bartenders serving up the most unique drinks you’ve ever seen.

When I say ridiculous presentation, I mean they light things on fire, serve tons of them with nitrous gas poured over them at the table side, serve beach cocktails inside a shell, and all kinds of other silly tricks and vessels. It’s truly a spectacle.

The Garment District / Trinket Wardrobe Bar Melbourne

Hidden Level: 5/5

Recommendation Level: 4/5

Good For: Easy-drinking cocktails and house beer/wine

If you like the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, you’ll love this one. When you enter the bar “Trinket,” you’ll see a big wardrobe in the corner. But contrary to what you may think, it’s NOT purely decorative… it’s a secret door!

Open the wardrobe door, push the clothes to the side, and a door will slide open (you can’t make this stuff up). Walk down the stairs and Viola! You’re inside “the garment district’ – one of the best secret bars Melbourne can offer. They have all kinds of drinks down here which taste extra good because you came through a wardrobe to get to them. (On maps, search “Trinket”)

The Swamp Bar – Back Room Hidden Whisky Bar

Hidden Level: 5/5

Recommendation Level: 3/5

Good For: Whiskey, moonshine, and picklebacks!

The Swamp is a fun little dark and swampy bar hidden behind two other bars off of Bourke Street and Russell. You’ll need to enter through either Bar Ampere ( a trendy little cocktail bar that may as well be on this list) or Gin Palace (a gin bar that should also be on this list).

In either bar, you have to go to the door at the back (bathroom door in Bar Ampere, and little staircase on the left in Gin Palace) and you’ll have entered The Swamp. If you picture a bar that seems like a Swamp, this is it.

The floor is a little bit soft to the touch, it’s dark, and there are swampy branches hung above with fairy lights. It’s an American-Style whiskey and moonshine bar, with TONS of different kinds of each. But the true selling point is that they have build-your-own pricklebacks (whiskey shot followed by pickle juice – TRUST ME, it’s amazing) with a few different types of homemade pickle juice. Again, you can’t make this stuff up. (On maps, search “Bar Ampere”).

state of grace melbourne hidden bars bookcase bar cocktail and menu
State of Grace Secret Bar

Fall From Grace / State of Grace Secret Bookcase Bar Melbourne CBD

Hidden Level: 5/5

Recommendation Level: 5/5

Good For: cocktails in a Great Gatsby-esque setting

Fall from Grace is the classic hidden bar in Melbourne. To get here, you’ll actually have to pull a certain book in a bookcase to open a secret door! But not to worry; I’m going to let you in on the secret.

Enter the bar “State of Grace” (visible on Google maps) and head to the bookshelves on the left. Find the big red book labeled “Fall from Grace” and pull it! A secret door will slide open next to you and you can descend the stairs. Take a seat on one of the comfy couches and enjoy the top-notch table service for great creative cocktails. (On maps, search “State of Grace”)

Pizza Pizza Pizza – Pizza Parlor Hidden Bar Melbourne

Hidden Level: 5/5

Recommendation Level: 3/5

Good For: Cheap pizza and classic/beachy cocktails

Pizza Pizza Pizza serves – you guessed it – pizza! Most people think that’s all it serves, as it’s a tiny little takeaway pizza shop that serves $4 slices and cheap pies. But what most people don’t know is that there’s a secret bar behind this little pizza shop!

Historically you were supposed to have to say a password to get in here, but I don’t think they MAKE you say it anymore. If you want to say it for fun (which I recommend), the secret password is asking to see the “secret menu.”

The bar is a dark little dingy place. It’s exactly what you’d imagine behind a greasy pizza shop, but that’s exactly the fun! They have classic cocktails like daiquiris, long islands, and pina coladas, $5 pizza slices, and alcoholic milkshakes from time to time.

beneath driver lane basement hidden bars in melbourne
Beneath Driver Lane Speakeasy vibes

Beneath Driver Lane Underground Speakeasy-Style Hidden Bar

Hidden Level: 3.5/5

Recommendation Level: 5/5

Good For: AMAZING creative cocktails and live Blues/Jazz music

Beneath Driver Lane, or BDL, is one of my very favorite hidden bars in Melbourne. It’s well-hidden down a tiny laneway off Little Bourke Street (called – you guessed it – Driver Lane), but I gave it a 3.5 because it does have an (easily missed) sign.

Descend down the stairs into what used to be a government money order office, and is now a dark candle-lit basement with old Western decor. The entire cocktail menu is written by the staff, so even the classic cocktails will come with a special BDL twist to them. They have live Blues and Jazz music every weekend after 8-9pm, too.

Loch + Key Historic Haunted Hidden Pub Bar

Hidden Level: 3.5/5

Recommendation Level: 4/5

Good For: Making up your own cocktail

Loch + Key is one of the most unique hidden bars in Melbourne in that there is no menu. The bartenders ARE the menu! This means that you must tell them what you want in a cocktail – give them a clue, a flavor, a sweetness level, a fruit, a spirit, even a superhero…. and they will whip something up for you. Trust me, drink orders get WEIRD here, and it’s hilarious.

L&K is located on the second story of Captain Melville Pub. There’s a sign on a side door, and often signs inside that point to the stairs. The building is one of the oldest in the CBD (which can be told by the old horse water trough outside) and the top floors used to be a hotel back in the day. You’ll hear the floorboards creak as you walk – ask the workers if they have any fun ghost stories, too!

Little Lon Distilling Co hidden melbourne gin bar
One of my tour groups in front of tiny Little Lon!

Little Lon Distilling Co – Tucked Away CBD Gin Bar + Distillery

Hidden Level: 3/5

Recommendation Level: 5/5

Good For: 4 types of delicious gin distilled on-site in an UNESCO building

Little Lon Distilling Co is another of my VERY favorite hidden bars in Melbourne. It’s located down Madame Brussels Lane in a TINY little brick building that actually used to function as a brothel in the 1800s! It has two rooms and a capacity of 20, including the tiny back patio.

One of these two rooms is used to distill 4 types of gin right there on sight, using fresh seasonal botanicals. Each gin is named after a character who used to live in the area (including the ‘madame of the house’), and their cocktails are truly second-to-none. Their gin also makes for a great gift.

Rooftop Bar Melbourne

Hidden Level: Rooftop

Recommendation Level: 4/5

Good For: Drinks with a view, rooftop cinema

Rooftop Bar (yes, it’s actually named that) is one of my favorite rooftop bars in Melbourne. It’s actually REALLY hard to find, as you must locate an elevator/stairs inside the Curtin House on Swanston Street, and ascend to the top level. Here you’ll have a unique view over the whole city.

They have lots of beers and wines and some awesome cocktails just waiting for a warm summer afternoon. They also have a “Rooftop Cinema” here in the summer.

Seamstress Bar in Chinatown

Hidden Level: 2.5/5

Recommendation Level: 3/5

Good For: Cocktails

Seamstress is a bar/restaurant with two different sections, one for the food and one for the drinks. The bar is much more hidden than the restaurant, which opens onto the street, but the cocktail bar is upstairs and looks out the back laneway which gives it a more hidden feel.

It’s located in an old textile factory, and they really play up on that fact with interesting fabric decor and even lots of blouses and clothing hung up on the ceiling in the cocktail bar. They have a few different types of cocktails and are known for their dirty martinis.

Whitehart Shipping Container Hidden Bar

Hidden Level: 3/5

Recommendation Level: 5/5

Good For: Craft beers and weekend dj’s

Whitehart is one of two shipping container hidden bars in Melbourne CBD, and it’s my favorite one. It’s located down Whitehart Lane, and could easily be mistaken for a backyard or dumpsite (it used to be a parking lot and you can still see space numbers on the wall).

Once you arrive, however, you’ll take in two levels of shipping containers with street art around the walls, green leafy plants all around, and heaters for the winter/misters for the summer. They have a constantly-rotating queue of craft beers here from all over the world which change every day. The cocktails and wine are also awesome.

Bar Margaux Hidden Bar in Melbourne CBD

Hidden Level: 3.5/5

Recommendation Level: 4/5

Good For: French comfort food and cocktails

Bar Margaux is a popular new addition to the scene of hidden bars in Melbourne. It’s not obvious at all from Lonsdale Street, but once you enter a seemingly dingy little foyer and descend a staircase, its facade will be much more apparent.

This bar has a very tangible French theme. You can get escargot, oysters, and baguettes + cheese to match champagne or a french martini, in a setting that perfectly matches the food. Open until 5 am on weekends, you have plenty of time to check it out.

Berlin Bar – Germany Themed Hidden Bar

Hidden Level: 4/5

Recommendation Level: 5/5

Good For: Creative drinks in a (…kindof…) historically-themed setting

Berlin Bar is another favorite. It’s modeled after Berlin in the Cold War, meaning it has an East side (broken down bunker style) and a West side (glitzy, fancy, and nice). You can decide which side of Cold War Berlin you’d like to sit in!

The menu here is one of my favorites. From creative boilermakers to different spritzes to an entire flow chart of which cocktail to drink depending on what tastes you like, you can’t go wrong. There’s a historic twist all around and lots of options.

Section 8 shipping container bar melbourne

Section 8 Shipping Container Bar

Hidden Level: 2/5

Recommendation Level: 3/5

Good For: Trendy drinks in a shipping container/packing palate bar surrounded by street art

Section 8 is the second shipping container bar in Melbourne’s CBD, and its tucked down Tattersall’s lane just outside Chinatown. You’d miss it unless you walked down the laneway! There is some amazing street art to check out nearby.

Section 8 has quite a few cocktails as well as beers on tap and wine. It’s a nice atmosphere to have a daytime drink, and they have DJ’s often too.

Storyville Fantasy Themed Multi-Level Bar/Club

Hidden Level: 2/5

Recommendation Level: 3.5/5

Good For: Storybook-themed cocktails in a fairytale setting, and late-night dancing

Storyville is one of the most unique hidden bars in Melbourne. It’s fairytale/storybook-themed, and everything inside got along with it. The decor is very psychedelic and colorful, including a huge blacklight mushroom expanding over the 2nd floor bar. The cocktails are all VERY creative and interestingly presented, and based upon a fairytale or popular books (e.g. Harry Potter, Pinocchio, etc).

The 3rd floor of Storyville actually opens up after midnight and plays house + techno music until TEN in the morning (yes, I am serious). Go in the wee hours of the morning if that’s your vibe, or just stick to the top 40/hip hop on the second floor at any hour.

croft institute creepy hospital bar in Melbourne laneway
This is actually the Croft Institute’s bathroom. Scariest pee ever.

Croft Institute Abandoned Hospital Secret Bar

Hidden Level: 4/5

Recommendation Level: 3/5

Good For: ‘syringe’ cocktails in an unbelievably creepy setting

The Croft Institute is Melbourne’s creepiest bar. You have to wander down a dark graffiti-covered laneway in Chinatown, turn left, turn right, and go all the way to the end. There are NO other businesses on the whole laneway and rarely any other people unless they are a chef out the back of their restaurant having a ciggy, or also going to the bar.

This bar is, and I’m not kidding, modeled after an old abandoned hospital/asylum. There are science experiments in glass cases, a dirty hospital bed in the women’s bathroom, a TV that only plays static, and wheelchair on the upstairs wall, creepy tiled walls, and cocktails that literally come with a syringe sticking out of them. It’s an experience.

Union Electric Chinatown Bar

Hidden Level: 3.5/5

Recommendation Level: 4/5

Good For: Gin, Rum, cocktails, and great bartenders

Union Electric is a tiny little unassuming bar down a laneway in Chinatown, with a tiny and easily-missed sign. It has two floors,  which are known to be rum-focused downstairs and gin-focused on the ‘rooftop’ upstairs.

This bar is home to lots of well-known bartenders, and you can be confident that they will know what they are doing at this bar.

Meyers Place Original Melbourne Hidden Bar

Hidden Level: 2/5

Recommendation Level: 1/5

Good For: A history lesson

Meyers Place is a tiny bar on a laneway off eastern Bourke Street that is actually modeled after the first laneway bar (of the same name) to ever open up in Melbourne in 1994. This bar really isn’t anything too special compared to others, but there’s a huge novelty in the historical aspect of it.

Meyers Place (which used to be actually located on Meyers Place, but had to close in 2017) was the very first laneway bar to open up in Melbourne. In 1993 a new law passed that allowed small venues to open up, which changed the scene here forever. This bar lead to Melbourne’s current bustling laneways bar culture, and essentially this blog post as a whole!

Although the original one closed, the new Meyers Place is almost an exact replica of the original. Coming here allows you to step back in time when the CBD was still a ghost town and this would be the only place to grab a cold one after work.

Bar Americano hidden bar in Melbourne down Presgrave Place laneway
This is Presgrave Place. The blue sign at the end is at the door to Bar Americano.

Bar Americano CBD Hidden Bar

Hidden Level: 4/5

Recommendation Level: 3/5

Good For: Classic cocktails and being one of 12 people allowed in

Bar Americano is located on one of my favorite laneways, Presgave Pl. It’s a laneway branching off a laneway branching off another laneway, so you literally would not stumble upon this hidden gem without help.

You’ll walk past the unique street art of tons of photo frames and stickers, and come upon a tiny stairwell to Bar Americano. Rumor has it that only 12 people are allowed in at a time, and that the cocktails written up on the chalkboard menu are the ONLY ones they will serve that day. They are usually classic ones, too. Don’t ask for anything fancy!

New Gold Mountain

Hidden Level: 4/5

Recommendation Level: 3/5

Good For: delicious cocktails in an elegant setting

“New Gold Mountain” is what the Chinese immigrants called Victoria when they immigrated here during the gold rush of the 1850’s. Hence, this Melbourne hidden bar has an Asian-fusion theme mixed with lots and lots of gold – just like New Gold Mountain.

New Gold Mountain has no sign, but is marked with a black bicycle over the front entrance, which is also painted black. Once inside you will find extravagant gold decor mixed in with lots of Chinese and red decorations. They will have fancy cocktails and pan-asian-fusion bites.

Lily Black’s

Hidden Level: 3/5

Recommendation Level: 3/5

Good For: premium cocktails in a laneway

Lily Black’s is another bar under the same company as New Gold Mountain (above). It’s a few laneways over and can similarly be found by spotting the black bicycle over the black entrance. They also have premium cocktails, but without the Gold/Asian theme.

The only reason I rated this one as a little bit ‘less hidden’ than NGM is because Lily Black’s has a large open window facing the laneway, which makes it a lot more apparent there’s a bar inside.

Loop Roof Bar

Hidden Level: Rooftop

Recommendation Level: 3/5

Good For: Rooftop vibes in a lush  green setting

Loop Roof is actually just across from Lily Black’s and Pizza Pizza Pizza, on Meyers Place (where the Meyers Place bar used to be). It’s not too hidden, but you have to climb the stairs up  3 or 4 floors to the rooftop area.

There’s a vertical garden adorning the outside, giving it a more lush green feel and a north-facing balcony looking over the city. They have cocktails, high balls, and your standard beer and wine.

Bartronica video game hidden bars in Melbourne

Bartronica Video Game Hidden Bar

Hidden Level: 2/5

Recommendation Level: 2.5/5

Good For: Interesting beers, cocktails, and arcade/video games

Bartronica is the CBD’s underground video game bar. There’s a sign, so it’s not too hidden, but once you descend the staircase you will be greeted by tons of old-school video games.

There are even private rooms you can rent to play your favorite game with your friends! You can play Mario Party/Cart, old swchool arcade games, pinball, neon signs, and much more.

The Lui Bar Rooftop

Hidden Level: Rooftop

Recommendation Level: 4/5

Good For: Fancy drinks with a view

At the top of the Rialto Towers (previously the tallest buildings in Melbourne), you will find Bar Lui on the 55th floor. This is the place to go to really impress a date with fancy expensive cocktails and an unbeatable city view.

Island Somewhere Secret Bookshelf Bar

Hidden Level: 5/5 (for the secret room)

Recommendation Level: 3.5/5

Good For: Old School Pinball through a bookshelf door

Island Somewhere is not a hidden bar per say, but it DOES have an awesome secret doorway. It would be simple to come to this relaxed bar and enjoy a few drinks with a laid back island theme. There’s a great patio and a fabulous drink selection.

But, what many people don’t know is that if you push the bookshelf at the end, it opens up to a secret door leading to a staircase. When you ascend this staircase, you will reach a room full of old-school pinball machines and other fun arcade games. That’s right; another bookshelf hidden bar in Melbourne!

Hidden Bars in Melbourne Other Suburbs

Jungle Boy Melbourne

Location: Chapel Street, Prahran

Hidden Level: 5/5

Recommendation Level: 5/5

Good For: Fancy tiki cocktails inside a fridge

Jungle Boy is one of the most ‘secret’ bars in Melbourne, in that it is literally located inside the refrigerator door of a sandwich shop. If you walk into Boston Sub, you will see a large industrial fridge door next to the sandwich counter.

This fridge door is not where they keep their cold cuts… it’s actually the door to a fancy tiki bar with fruity cocktails and a lush atmosphere. If you see a sandwich shop absolutely packed with people late on a Saturday evening, this is why.

The Everleigh Fitzroy

Location: Fitzroy/Gertrude St

Hidden Level: 2/5

Recommendation Level: 4/5

Good For: Crafted Cocktails in an upscale environment

The Everleigh is one of the top cocktail bars in Fitzroy, if not Melbourne as a whole. Located up some stairs above a chicken shop, the Everleigh prides itself on an elegant and nearly old-fashioned atmosphere, with cocktails precisely to match.

Bartenders here will be top-notch, so ask for the bartender’s special if you’d like to take a chance. See if you can also find the more relaxed Elk Room next door. Check out my guide to Fitzroy Bars or Travel guide to  Fitzroy!

Hidden Bars in Melbourne Australia

Above Board

Location: Collingwood/Smith Street

Hidden Level: 4.5/5

Recommendation Level: 4/5

Good For: Specific fancy cocktails in an intimate setting

Above Board is a tiny cocktail bar that’s tucked away above the beer bar Beermash. But unlike other bars, you actually have to go INTO Beermash and all the way to the back to find the staircase that leads to Above Board (rather than having a separate staircase outside). The reason I gave it a 4.5 is because there ARE signs to it inside Beermash… so it’s not COMPLETELY concealed, but…. close enough. 😛

Above Board was opened by a renowned bartender who became a bit pretentious with his skills. He has a menu with a few cocktails on it, and those are the ONLY cocktails you can order. AKA, if you want a mojito, go somewhere else. Order from the menu and you won’t be disappointed!

The Attic Above the Black Pearl

Location: Fitzroy/Brunswick Street

Hidden Level: 5/5

Recommendation Level: 4/5

Good For: Amazing crafted cocktails above another bar

The Attic is a bar hidden above a similarly awesome and rather famous cocktail bar called Black Pearl. If you find the staircase at the back of Black Pearl Bar and walk past the bathrooms, you’ll find a door with a doorbell. Ring this and a waiter will come get you and welcome you into The Attic.

A bit of a more laid back counterpart to its sophisticated downstairs sister, The Attic has trinkets, photo frames, all sorts of fun decor in its table-service establishment. Both Black Pearl and The Attic are renowned for cocktails, so make sure to try one.

Group Tours to Hidden Bars in Melbourne

If you are a bit overwhelmed by this list, try booking the Melbourne Hidden Bars tour. I used to lead this tour for nearly a year, and it was always so much fun! It leaves at 3pm each day, so it’s more of a Melbourne alcohol experience, designed so you can chat with bartenders and make the most of your time rather than pushing through a crowded bar.

They visit different bars each and every day and include fun facts, recommendations, and a guide to show you around while you drink!

If you want to have all cocktails and food included, you can try booking the Drinks Degustation Experience here (which they added after I left, sadly) – it’s ‘A pub crawl for people who hate pub crawls” with a premium drinking and eating experience in Melbourne.

Well, that’s it for now for secret and hidden bars in Melbourne! Was this enough to pique your interest or satisfy you? Do you need more to add to the list? I think these are the best of the best, but I still have a few more up my sleeve that I can add to the list if you want EVEN MORE!

Let me know which ones you visited and what YOU would rate them for recommendation level and hidden-ness in the comments!