Melbourne is a food and culture capital of Australia and wider Asia.

Within its CBD and peppered throughout its cosmopolitan suburbs are a number of ‘only in this city’ venues that offer great food and do so in stylish surrounds.

Read on to discover 5 ‘must visit’ spots you really need see this year.

The Croft Institute

Croft Institute

Getting to the Croft Institute is an adventure in and of itself.

Down the laneways within Melbourne’s Chinatown, use of your phone’s GPS is a wise idea. Yet, once you’ve arrived it is clear you’re somewhere very unique.

Based on a mental institution it is clear once you walk in you’re somewhere evocative. With white washed walls, an abundance of science beakers – and even a wheelchair hanging from the wall among other odd adornments. Yet, with a first rate list of beers and cocktails made-to-order, even if you arrived here in a straight jacket you’d not be sad to stay.

So, grab a cocktail from the bar, grab a seat by the basketball hoop or bunsen burner, and take in the ambiance of an unforgettable Melbourne institution.

Section 8

Section 8 Melbourne

Just a few blocks from the Croft Institute is Section 8 (AKA Container Bar).

The name is fitting.

Operating out of a shipping contained in a space the size of a carpark, the Bar is testament to the ambiance that a great Melbourne crowd brings, turning an otherwise everyday space into one of truly fantastic ambiance.

Beers, cocktails, and a selection of wines are all available in-house to offer you a diversity of tastes to make the very most of a night here, and what a night it can be!

Sitting here in the outdoor air on a warm summer evening with a cold beer in hand, and watching folks travel through Tattersall’s lane as the sun goes down is an essential experience for anyone living or visiting Melbourne.

Bar Americano

Bar Americano

Based on a 1930’s speakeasy Bar, Americano is a wondrous mix of old world style and contemporary Melbourne elegance.

While to some the small size of Bar Americano (not much bigger than a walk in closet) is a drawback, to those who’ve visited its recognised right away the warm ambiance and intimacy of the bar is a huge draw for those looking to start a night off with a friend or date in the most elegant of ways.

Serving a simple menu of just coffee and cocktails, it’s an understated yet stylish venue to call by when next on Collins Street.

Berlin Bar

Berlin Bar Melbourne

Based on the Cold War era City of Berlin, the bar is divided between two themed rooms of West and East Berlin.

Drawing its optics from the economic realities of the divided city at the time, West Berlin is the opulent, richly appointed and leather adorned cocktail room. East Berlin by contrast is more spartan, with long wooden benches, dark confronting lighting, and even a bunk bed at the back in a nod to the uniform and style-free living that was life behind the Iron Curtain.

What’s more, moving beyond its theme alone, the Berlin Bar boasts an excellent drink list, with a diverse array of spirits and beers from all quarters of Europe.

While firmly tongue in cheek, the Berlin Bar is nonetheless a great spot to visit for both a first class cocktail, and to experience a bit of living history.

George’s Bar

George's Bar Melbourne

Just a short tram ride up to Fitzroy is one of Melbourne’s eclectic bars, fitting located in one of Melbourne’s most eclectic suburbs.

Having opened in the earliest days of 2016, this bar is among the newest on Melbourne’s nightlife scene. Yet, already it is winning a wide following given its bubbly pop culture imagery.

Based on the beloved and quirky Seinfeld character George Costanza, a trip to George’s bar shall find you often coming face to face with the iconic depiction of Jason Alexander’s cheeky grin throughout your evening. With the Seinfeld theme running strong throughout the bar, alongside the bevy of local and imported beers is a solid collection of themed sandwiches.

Accordingly, those who’ve always longed to be an architect need pay a visit here and get their hands on an Art Vandelay toastie that’ll fulfill a dream long denied.

Which Is Your Favourite?

A mental institution, a shipping container, a speakeasy, a war torn metropolis, a bar ‘about nothing’…

It is an odd mix to be sure, but these are 5 of Melbourne’s most eclectic bars ready and waiting for your visit.

So, whether One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is your most favourite movie – or whether you really just long for an authentic German beer or even a New Yorker Toastie – within this collection of Melbourne’s bar is an outstanding recipe for a great night out.

Happy exploring!