Toast Of The Town: The Best Of Melbourne 2020
8th December 2023
There is such an abundance of nightlife in Melbourne, it is dizzying. From well established watering holes, to uber-hip pop-ups, the decision on where to spend your night out may as well be a blind dart thrown at a map. The choice paralysis is real.
If you’re worried that you are going to miss some great spots while you pass through — rest assured, you will. So thank goodness the dedicated journalists at Timeout went out and did the lords’ work, sifting through the riff raff, throwing down cocktails, and winnowing down the field in order to crown the “Best Bars of 2020.” We will continue to focus their light into a beam on bars that are convenient to View Melbourne so you know where to make your second stop, after you’ve checked in and experienced Woods Restaurant, Bar and Lounge and recharged your evening engine at the Hop Garden. In reality, you never need to leave the hotel with everything there is to offer, but for the sake of spreading some business around the neighborhood, let’s get into the spirit of judging spirits.
As previously stated, the game-time decision of going to an unknown bar in a new city can be sketchy. Will it be open? Will we be able to have a conversation over the music? Is there going to be a line out the door? These are all totally valid concerns. And also, as everyone is different, there’s no one-size-fits-all for this sort of thing. Looking at the data, it is apparent that the Fitzroy neighborhood has the highest concentration of bars on the list; which makes sense. If you want to sell craft cocktails, go where people are buying them. So here comes our first recommendation, without the specificity of the following list, take a cab to Fitzroy and walk around. You may find your glass slipper without needlessly turning to disgruntled online reviews.
But since specificity is the soul of narrative, let’s continue this story with these well-considered bars that Timeout has claimed, with explanation, to be the “best.”
Romeo Lane – Bar of the Year 2020, Best Cocktail Bar 2020
Distance from View Melbourne: 5km
Much like each View hotel, everything about Romeo Lane is thoughtful. From top to bottom, there is care and consideration tucked into each detail and finish of the space and offerings. Acknowledging the trend of bespoke and retro cocktail bar culture, it’s so easy to swing too hard into pretentiousness that your average customer will feel out of place; this is not the case at Romeo Lane. While it is indeed intimate and compact, it retains the warm and flattering glow it once had as a candlelit 19th century residence. Well researched and executed cocktails in appropriate glassware with silver coasters, paired with effortless eats, pull your focus away from the objects in front of you and into an atmosphere where time evaporates and the outside world disappears.
This is the sort of bar that hits every mark; excellent service, exceptional consumables, and transcendent aesthetics. And for a cherry on top: they open at 3pm Monday through Saturday (closed on Sunday.)
The Shady Lady – Best Bar Team 2020
Distance from View Melbourne: 6km
If Romeo Lane seems a little too serious, then Shady Lady has your number. Frozen pina coladas year round. Well balanced margaritas frozen, on the rocks, or up. Easy drinking and minimal thinking make The Shady Lady a worthy dive. But unlike your typical dive where your shoes stick to the ground and inebriated regulars can sour the experience, the laid-back and explicit “no-dickheads” policy keeps this bar fun for all. The inside is like David Lynch, PeeWee Herman, and John Waters all went on beach holiday, so expect plenty of velour, fringe, and disco ball adornments, in simpler terms: amazing.
Just because the owner-operator team of Mandyjo Reinier and Georgina Maughan keep it light and casual, doesn’t negate the fact that they have a well stocked bar and can skillfully put together whatever drink you desire. It’s the combination of a welcoming community and cheap food and drinks that keeps The Shady Lady sitting on top of the pack like a rum floater. Check out their schedule because they host all sorts of events, from life drawing classes and karaoke, to fundraisers and retro nights.
Bar Liberty – Best Wine Bar 2020, Bartender of the Year (Nick Tesar)
Distance from View Melbourne: 7km
For those who prefer the fruit of the vine, View has a bountiful wine list from local producers of organic, bio-dynamic, and low-intervention wineries; the knowledgeable service staff can also recommend tasteful pairings with the food menu — and you don’t ever need to leave the comfort of your room. But if Easy Street is getting too easy, and you demand a change of scenery, there is another Fitzroy staple that can boost your oenology meter. Bar Liberty has the perfect combination of accessibility and expertise, with a simple and well executed menu featuring a carefully curated wines, beers, and top-notch mixology by Bartender of the Year, Nick Tesar. In his world, the customer experience is everything. He wants the wine noob with $10 to spend to walk out just as happy and satisfied as the black card carrying connoisseur; for him it’s about reading the customer and delivering perfectly tailored service.
If you like wine, or if you want to like wine, give Bar Liberty a visit.
Take these recommendations under consideration if you are itching to explore the Melbourne that everyone gabs about; but few places can deliver an immersive and total experience like View. Hospitality is our game, so if we can improve your stay in any way, we are in it to win it.