The best hidden bars in Melbourne
By Sarah Gamboni for TimeOut Melbourne on June 25, 2018
Melbourne does hidden bars like no other city. In this list alone we've got a bar located down a tiny laneway, one behind a fridge door, one behind a bookshelf and a closet of a bar that barely fits eight people. Consider this list a scavenger hunt of Melbourne's most interesting secret bars, and remember where they are for next time.
Hidden bars in Melbourne
House of Correction, the cocktail bar downstairs from the Goldilocks rooftop, reflects the effortless class and hospitality Melbourne has come to represent. The cocktails on offer are made by some of Melbourne's friendliest and most experienced bartenders. Allocated numbers not names, these concoctions show up quickly even on a packed night, served elegantly in frozen glassware and garnished simply with a long twist of lemon, a pineapple leaf or a wedge of pink grapefruit. READ MORE..
In the basement at the end of an alley, Beneath Driver Lane feels equal parts Melbourne, Chicago and Diagon Alley. The folks behind the bar are all practised professionals; personable, knowledgeable and looking sharp in black chef coats. What they’re mixing up is pretty sharp, too.
Keep your eyes open or you might miss Hihou's entrance on Flinders Lane, near the corner of Spring Street. The cocktails at this sultry sake den are given reverential treatment and are peppered with yuzu, umeshu (plum wine) and shochu (grain spirit), but come hungry and make a meal out of the excellent bar snacks list.
The city’s oldest pub has a secret. Loch and Key is hidden up a rickety staircase, behind a bookcase in the Captain Melville bar. Loch and Key is best known as a late-night reveller, when the couch-filled warren of rooms come to life, but its early evening appeal shouldn't be ignored, as the balcony is a beautiful spot to watch the sun go down.
Brought to you by the team responsible for city drinking holes Sister Bella, Ponyfish Island and 1000 Pound Bend, Footscray's Back Alley Sally's is bringing the crew's signature good time bar vibes to the west. They've picked a suitable laneway location in Footscray, and they're setting up above sister venue Slice Girls West, which is dishing out pizzas, burgers and toasties to hungry punters.
Its big sister, 1806, has a tasteful if very hard-to-see sign, but downstairs hidden Understudy has a bit of a speakeasy vibe. The cocktail list is full of undiscovered adventures too, including Smoke and Mirrors, which showcases Woodford Reserve Bourbon infused with chorizo sausage (that's right, sausage).
Just getting to the Croft Institute feels like a little adventure. It's located at the bottom end of Croft Alley, and the bar is spread over three floors, each dimly lit and infused with a slightly creepy atmosphere. Grab a cocktail from the downstairs bar and watch it being made with some intense medical equipment.