Time Out Melbourne

With a few new crafty bars on the scene, you can now do the ultimate beer crawl without even raising a sweat

There was a minor freak out from all craft-beer fanciers when Josie Bones went to the great beer hall in the sky at the end of February. But in the same two months, Smith Street has suddenly become a concentrated pocket rocket of craft beer joy. Melbourne’s ultimate brew crawl could now potentially be done on your hands and knees.

The Catfish

When the apocalypse is nigh, we’re either heading to Costco or here. The old Gertrude’s Brown Couch site is now a sleek, very solid brick bunker where the craft beers switch up daily and are local and deliciously weird, and Philly cheesesteaks are available (that American cheese ain’t ever going bad). Add some Mississippi blues and you’re all set for a long haul good time. Fitzroy.

The Gertrude Hotel

This pub should be yelled about a lot more. The space is beautiful – bluestone bones, updated with sleek wooden benches that let you look out onto the antics of Gertrude Street, all soft lit by candles and spotlights. Upstairs is a rooftop beer garden that nobody knows about. Their craft beer agenda is killer. Right now, they’ve turned most taps over to great IPAs of the world including stuff from Garage Project and Epic in New Zealand. Fitzroy.

Forester's Beer and Music Hall

It’s not open yet, but we can already taste the hangovers. The brew aficionados behind the Royston and the Terminus (the festival hub for Good Beer Week, if that’s any indication of their seriousness) are currently turning a Bar Called Barry’s into a late-night beer hall with 50 taps, pizzas and live surf rock and rockabilly bands. Sours, bocks and yacht rock till the wee small hours. Bring it on. Collingwood.

Le Bon Ton

The party don’t stop with the smoked brisket, oysters and New Orleans cocktails. Le Bon Ton also has an American-and-craft-focused beer list including Melbourne's only tap pouring Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Get ‘em to pour you a 40 into an enamel jug and schlep it out to the courtyard with some Southern fried chicken. Collingwood.

Lot 347

Head back up to Smith Street to this breezy beer hall. The selection is a little less eclectic than some of the other brew bars – you’re looking at the familiar and reliable stuff from Holgate, Little Creatures and Two Birds, and there’s something nice about those familiar tastes if you’ve gone overboard on the weird, wild and hoppy. Grab some charcuterie and take a breather in the huge ex-auction house before heading on to… Fitzroy.

Two Row

Cult beer is the angle. This is Tiffany Waldron’s brand spanking new bar, opened in collaboration with the kids from Slowbeer and the small gal with the big attitude has got game. She knows her stuff and has the connections to get in a hell of a lot of really unusual brews – things from Danish nutbag Mikkeller and this week, an Elysian jasmine IPA. But as hardcore as the beer angle is, the bar itself is a casual, chesterfield-filled space. It’s like being at a mate's place, with better drinks. Fitzroy.

Which Melbourne bar is the best?

Updated on 15 Apr 2014.

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