Time Out Melbourne

For beers and sun and moonlight and wine, these are our favourite rooftop bars right now

The Emerson

South Yarra’s got a multi-level fun emporium in this joint. The lower decks are all about live entertainment and DJ wars, but we’ve got our eyes set on sunset cocktails on the roof. It’s replete with cushion-lined deck and daybeds, and the beats are designed to be more chilled than the lower-level dance floor. Many a weekend afternoon has begun here with the sun and full mast and continued onto the wee small hours, thanks to a choice of snacks or full a la carte dining. There’s even a live-cooking station to ramp up the entertainment of your eats.
143-145 Commercial Rd, South Yarra 3141. 03 9825 0900. www.theemerson.com.au.

: The Emerson drinks list includes a few cocktail jugs for sharing with mates and our Summer pick is 'The Social Network' (Siroc vodka, Chambord, vanilla, fresh strawberries and lime, finished off with soda and dry).
: This rooftop could be the definition of Melbourne – the bar overlooks picturesque Melbourne from South Yarra to the city skyline.
THE TUNES: On afternoon in the sun here you can expect chilled-out, soft house with live Djs building into some heavier, more commercial tunes as the sun goes down.


The ultimate Melbourne late-night bar, perched above Melbourne Supper Club, is a rooftop haven of frosty beers (Trumer Pils! Mountain Goat Pale Ale!), Americanos (Americani?) and great bar snacks such as polenta chips with aioli, a very strange Welsh rarebit with a sort of scrambled cheese mixture topped and layered with anchovies, meatballs, and a life-saving croque monsieur. Service, chatting and laying it on thick is not their game at Siglo – rather, it's more of an 'eat it and get out' situation. And it's totally understandable – this is a bar supporting massive numbers of smokers and happy late-night bar-goers stumbling up and demanding single malt Islay scotch, cigars and Bacardi and Cokes. It's a bit of everything for everyone while remaining steadfastly cool under pressure. Solid systems, a good-time vibe and businesslike attitude at Siglo keep this late-nighter thrumming with the best of them.
2/161 Spring St, Melbourne 3000. 03 9654 6300.

BEST SUMMER COCKTAIL: 'Basil Blush' (gin, lime Juice, Thai basil, egg white and Peychaud Bitters. Shaken and served in a chilled martini glass with a Thai basil garnish).
: Siglo Looks out over Parliament house, Parliament gardens and St. Patrick's cathedral.
THE TUNES: This roof bar’s all about the classics; Frank Sinatra, Phyllis Dillon, Nina Simone, Tom Waits, The Beatles, James Brown, Ray Charles etc.


Access this Astroturfed terrace from a graffiti-lined stairwell in the alley behind Section 8. The perches line the perimeter so you feel like you’re drinking in an infinity pool. Up here in the forest-themed bar, there’s not much space for the fancy concoctions Lou Dare serves to lurkers in the dark booths downstairs (for the curious, he’s putting chilli in your Whisky Blazer and chicken-infused ginger syrup in your Sazerac). Instead, you’ll get craft beer, pre-mixed cocktailsf for dispensing from siphons, and Rositas on tap: that’s a Negroni turned Mexican with tequila replacing gin. Food-wise, go for tender strips of herby fried chicken. Not too crunchy. Not too fatty. It’s juuust right.
Rooftop, 264 Swanston St, Melbourne 3000. 



The Aylesbury closed up and brought us the more casual, loosened-tie affair, Bomba, but that doesn’t mean the rooftop has lost its elegance. They may not be serving you paellas late into the night anymore, but freshly shucked oysters, and plump olives still grace the bar, nightly. Vermouth here is a real thing as Jesse Gerner has started bringing in Casa Mariol Vermut Negre. A look around the bar will see it slipped into many rocks glasses over a large hunk of ice with a wedge of orange and an olive. It’s hard to go past if you’re upstairs killing time before your table is ready in the restaurant as it makes for a great aperitif. If you’re stopping by after your meal, there’s a respectable roll call of digestivs and whiskys to ease the food home. There may have been a name change, but there’s no love lost for this rooftop.
103 Lonsdale St, Melbourne 3000. 03 9077 0451. bombabar.com.au.

BEST SUMMER COCKTAIL: We’re going for The Jealous Italian ( Aperol, sloe gin, Casa Mariol vermouth and fresh passionfruit topped with sparkling wine).
: High up on Lonsdale, surrounded by high rises, Bomba’s rooftop bar looks down on Melbourne’s busy inner-city,
THE TUNES: The Djs at Bomba throw down chilled house tunes from the afternoon well into the night.


Decadence was clearly a watchword for whoever designed the fit-out of the Carlton Club. There are mirrors galore, red velvet along every wall, a gold-painted ceiling and exotic taxidermied beasts bursting out of every crevice. During daylight hours the effect is somewhat bizarre, so we suggest you head outside to the deck area, which catches the sun filtering between nearby buildings, or get a moon tan – and some air – when things really start to swing later on. Alternatively, head up a floor to the Palmz Rootop Bar for a taste of the tropics. The thatched-roof bar is surrounded by vegetation and the endless rotation of cocktail jugs will have you confused as to your whereabouts after a few of them.
193 Bourke St, Melbourne 3000. 03 9663 3246. www.thecarlton.com.au.

BEST SUMMER COCKTAIL: 'The Passionfruit Paloma' (Tromba Blanco tequila, fresh passionfruit and lime topped with sparking grapefruit juice and garnished with half a passionfruit.)
THE VIEW: You get the best of both worlds up at the Palmz rooftop; surrounded by palm trees in a tropical paradise with 360-degree city views.
THE TUNES: The DJs play something for everyone – expect anything from hip-hop to blues to top 40 to house. Wednesday nights get a bit different, with soul music played from 8pm.




First published on . Updated on .

By Gemima Cody   |  

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