The best hidden bars in Melbourne

By Sarah Gamboni for TimeOut Melbourne on June 25, 2018

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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.

For more bars to hide away in, check out the best whisky bars. Or if vino is your go-to tipple, check out the best wine bars in Melbourne.

Hidden bars in Melbourne

1. House of Correction

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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.. 

Location:  Melbourne

2 Jungle Boy

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This leafy courtyard bar with chilled tropical vibes and tiki masks is hidden behind a fake fridge at the back of sandwich shop Boston Sub. Just go into the fridge and keep going.

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Location: Windsor

 

 

 

 

3 Beneath Driver Lane

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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. 

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 Location: Melbourne

 

4 Eau De Vie

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Bartenders pull out all the stops – and the liquid nitrogen – at this city speakeasy offering a magical mystery tour of history’s greatest drinks. There is even a whole room dedicated to whisky.

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 Location: Melbourne

 

 

 

5 The Attic in Black Pearl

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Everybody knows about Black Pearl, but did you know that there's another cocktail bar upstairs? It's only open from Thursday to Sunday, and you'll need to buzz into the Attic to get in, but make the most of the wonderful table service if you manage to get in.

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Location: Fitzroy

 

 

6 Above Board

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The bar is a command centre at the heart of this tiny room, with only a handful of seats facing Hayden Lambert as he dispenses drinks that put the art back into artisanal. 

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 Location: Collingwood

 

 

 

7 Hihou

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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.

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Location: Melbourne

 

8 Loch and Key

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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.

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 Location: Melbourne

 

9 Back Alley Sally's

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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.

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 Location: Footscray

 

10 Union Electric Bar

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Look for the big shiny lightning bold pinpointed by light globes among Chinatown's dumpling signs, and you'll find this chilled out cocktail lounge.

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Location: Melbourne

 

 

 

11 Glamp

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Above Polepole restaurant, this African-themed cocktail lounge is all canvas tents, animal prints and safari swagger.

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 Location: Melbourne

 

 

 

12 The Understudy

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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).

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Location: Melbourne

 

13 East of Everything

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Keeping the citizens of Camberwell fed and watered, this unmarked hole-in-the-wall bar is a haven of craft beers and Cajun snacks.

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 Location: Camberwell

 

 

 

14 Goldilocks

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Tucked above a Chinese dumpling house, two-tiered Goldilocks offers seductive booths and a view-blessed rooftop, with easy-drinking cocktails and beers.

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 Location: Melbourne

 

 

 

15 Croft Institute

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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.

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 Location: Melbourne.

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