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10 best small bars in Melbourne

There’s just something about a small bar that warms the soul, and it’s not just the booze talkin’. Hidden, laneway and cosy small bars are one of the best things about Melbourne, and we’ve got your ultimate guide. Whether you’re stopping by for after-work drinks, a date night or a friendly catch up with friends – tick off all of these charming bars, and stay at Melbourne Metro YHA while you’re at it...

Chuckle Park

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While the 'park' reference may suggest you are about to step into a rather large establishment, Chuckle Park is, in fact, a charming, intimate bar located in a leafy laneway away from the hustle and bustle on Collins St in Melbourne. Time Out Melbourne describes the bar as “Cute-as-a-button” and we’re not gonna disagree! With its sweet arrangement of flowers, dazzling disco balls, magical hanging lanterns and drinks/snacks served from none other than a caravan, we’re swooning over Chuckle Park alllll day long! Share a cocktail jug or sample their craft beer menu and don’t dare depart without trying their renowned pulled pork roll. Drool! With the open roof setting, we can’t think of a better location to sip our cocktails on those sizzling Summer Melbourne nights.

Hope St Radio

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With a few years of broadcasting at various venues across the city under their belt, internet radio station Hope St Radio has found a home at Collingwood Yards alongisde a fully integrated wine bar. The result is a unique and community-flavoured treat in which a live radio program showcasing various local creatives is held live in the venue, while guests eat and sip from a curated list of locally sourced wines and brews. The crew behind the scenes are passionate about supporting grassroots food, drink, music and art, and this newly renovated 'listening bar' emanates a rare blend of super-cool and inclusive. It's early days for this boutique venture, but if you're looking for something really trendy and unique while giving back a little in the process, stop by Hope St Radio for a glass or two. 

Beneath Driver Lane

Beneath Driver Lane is a blues basement bar at its finest! Located behind the iconic GPO building, enter through a discreet doorway and descend into a moodily lit world of cocktails, wines and French infused bar food – served until 3am. With its exposed brickwork, leather-look booths and dimmed lighting, this bar certainly ticks the fun and fantasy feel boxes. Try their unique Nitro Martini, where you’ll observe the team using liquid nitrogen to chill the glass, which makes for quite the spectacle. Beneath Driver Lane is certainly one of Melbourne’s best-kept secrets and one we strongly recommend you delve into and discover – just look for the door with two lights either side and you’re in the right place!

Bar Americano

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As the saying goes “Good things come in small packages” and Bar Americano, a ten-person cocktail bar is exactly that and much more. They regularly win awards for being one of Melbourne’s Best Bars and on enjoying a tipple there, you’ll easily understand why. The bar is modelled off Italian stand-up cafes with a distinctly American feel so while you might not spend all night here, you will love every minute you’re there. Bar Americano is the perfect place to transition from day to night, as you can down espressos galore during the day and sip on creative cocktails once you knock off at 5pm. We like their style, big time!

Le Bar Europeen

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Classified as one of the world’s smallest bars and the smallest bar in all of Victoria, it doesn’t get snugger than Le Bar European. What’s even more entertaining, is that the bar is actually located within Glow Golf and is proud to be a petite 2.6 square meters – getting cosy is the name of the game at this French and Italian inspired bar! You’ll notice two chairs at the bar, and space for about four people to stand - that’s her at full capacity. Its tiny nature attracts visitors from all across the globe eager to taste the selection of European beers. Wanting somewhere to get close to that hot date you’ve lined up? You really won’t find a bar more intimate than this. Remember to get in early on the weekend if you want a seat, because, well there’s only two!

Bodega Underground

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Any takers for Tequila and Mezcal based cocktails? Should that sort thing tickle your fancy, make your way to basement bar, Bodega Underground and revel in all things Mexican. There are many reasons to love Bodega Underground but if we had to highlight a few, it’s the following: all dietary requirements will be catered for here as the menu is fully gluten-free (and lots of vegan options too), your dollars are sure to stretch far as two tacos will only set you back $11, there's tequila in all shapes and flavours and it’s open 7 days a week. Mexi madness all day, every day! Fan of bottomless brunch? Well, you’re also in luck there as Bodega Underground also dishes up a bottomless mexi brunch, with unlimited cocktails and a five-course taco spread. Yummmmy!

Romeo Lane

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As romantic as the name suggests, wander into Romeo Lane and relish in its dreamy atmosphere. Owned and operated by a young couple, who are both experienced cocktail bartenders - it's clear the duo poured their love into every nook and cranny of this bar. From its intimate setting, inventive cocktails served in beautifully cut glassware and idealistic ambience – you’ll be feeling pretty lovely-dovey within Romeo Lane. Treat your loved one to a celery-infused Tom Collins or their speciality negroni whipped with OJ in a Nutri bullet. Love in the air is a cert' at Romeo Lane.

Union Electric Bar

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“A casual lil’ bar in Melbourne City” is how the team at Union Electric Bar define themselves on their website, but we feel they're being a tad modest there. Easily, one of Melbourne’s best-hidden bars (just look for the lightning bolt down Heffernan Lane), serving up some of the tastiest drinks in the city and an atmosphere to boot that’s simply well, electric! And if gin is more your tipple of choice, why not suss out their renowned rooftop gin garden?! Note: Union Electric Bar is often the watering hole of choice of local Melbourne bartenders and when the local enthusiasts go, you know you’ve found yourself a real gem!

Little Lon Distilling Co

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Find Little Lon Distilling in a cute heritage listed cottage today, however, back in the day, you would have been greeted with a booming brothel in the infamous red-light district of Melbourne. These days, two brothers are found creating 220 500ml bottles of gin a week in the copper still they have installed and featured local ingredients and fragrant notes such as rosemary, oranges and lemons — all things which have historically grown in the area. Yep, this is where boutique small-batch gins are at. Each collection brewed has its own unique character, inspired by the crime-lords of the region from back in the hey-day. Drop by for a history lesson and stay for a drink, or three.

Troika

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And last but not least, another absolute ripper of a small bar in Melbourne is Troika. Find this lil’ bar on Little Lonsdale St and be prepared for a great night in a laidback and comfortable scene. With great music and many cosy nooks to chill out in, Troika simply oozes charm. The ever-changing menu offers a variety of beers, cocktails, wines, infused vodkas and a small selection of nibbles too. Cosy but full to the brim with character, make sure to make a pit stop here. We promise you won’t regret it!

    Melbourne Central YHA
    Melbourne Central YHA
    Hip, cool and very Melbourne, Melbourne Central YHA is a trendy travellers hostel located in the heart of the city.
    Melbourne Metro YHA
    Melbourne Metro YHA
    Only a short free tram ride to the CBD and close to the University of Melbourne and Queen Victoria Market. Melbourne Metro YHA has everything you need for a great stay in cultural Melbourne.
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