Spring has officially sprung, so it’s time to trade cosy bars with the best beer gardens in Melbourne. Whether you’re looking for the best of craft beer or a long Sunday session with your mates, we have all your needs covered this summer.
Best for…. river views
As far as locations go, you ‘ll be hard pressed to find a better spot than the Boatbuilder’s Yard in South Wharf. The award-winning bar brings a new style of casual and relaxed European-style eating and drinking to Melbourne. The venue retains the cultural heritage and charm of Melbourne’s famous Maritime precinct, with a modern design twist on the original shed. Relax with a pint and one of their pub classics while enjoying the spectacular view from the expansive outdoor space.
Order: The Angus Burger ($19.50) paired with the new edition Mountain Goat Summer Ale.
Best for…. craft beers
With a whopping 22 taps on offer, the Great Northern Hotel, in leafy North Carlton, has one of the best craft beer selections in town, making it the perfect destination for the cunning beer connoisseur. Even in the kitchen, beer is a major focus, with their beer battered fish and chips using 2 Brothers’ 2013 award-winning ‘Taxi’ Pilsner. The timber decked beer garden has all the hallmarks of an old-fashioned community pub with its relaxed, laid back vibe and classic pub fare.
Order: Their famous beer battered fish and chips ($22) washed down with their Stone and Wood Jasper Ale from Byron Bay.
Best for…. Sunday Sessions
Constantly voted as Melbourne’s best beer garden, the College Lawn Hotel certainly knows how to throw a party on Sunday. Nestled on the tree-lined backstreets of Prahran, the sports-friendly pub has recently been renovated to include an outdoor bar and a sprawling lush green lawn, which covers two levels. With a buzzing atmosphere and live music, the beer garden is the place to be on Sunday. Just make sure you get there early to nab a seat!
Order: A pint of Kosciuszko Pale Ale paired with their famous Chicken Parmigiana ($22) served with beer battered chips
Best for…. date nights
The cosy nooks and crannies and soft lantern lighting make this Fitzroy institution a perfect date destination. Here the beer is cold, the staff are friendly and the vibe is chilled. With two large covered areas, it’s also a perfect spot for a special occasion or post work drinks. Next time you’re in Gertrude Street, check out their weekly specials – you can’t go past their $10 parma night on Wednesdays, or free trivia after 8pm if you’re a trivia buff!
Order: The epic Fat Eddy Burger ($14 double patty, cheese, pickles and ‘slaw’) matched with the 8 Ball stout from the West Coast Brewery in America. Or if you’re feeling extra adventurous a shot of Jäger or absinthe!
Best for…smoked meats
This hidden gem in Collingwood is famous for its barbequed meats, beer and bourbon. Le Bon Ton’s old-fashioned smokehouse/saloon feel has been extended to its beer garden, which is equipped with huge smokers so diners are truly immersed in the whole experience. Complete with fairy lights, astro turf and creeping vines, this is the place to come for the ultimate star-gazing session. This place gets busy, so bookings are recommended.
Order: The Southern style buttermilk fried chicken ($16) paired with their own version of the Hurricane cocktail on tap. Or try their smokehouse brisket prepared Texas-style over mesquite.
Best for… your pooch
This beer garden in South Melbourne is the place to come for dog lovers. Your pooch will be lovingly greeted by their mascot staffy who is the favourite resident at the old school pub. Don’t miss their “Spit Roast” night on Tuesdays – only $15 for a plate of slowly roasted meats fresh from the spit. The Palace is the perfect place to soak up the sun in the summer months, and your dog will love it too!
Order: The daily pie ($20) cooked fresh daily with mash, mushy peas and jus, accompanied by the Moo Brew Dark Ale from Tasmania.
Best for… a big group
Formerly known as the Belgian Beer Garden, The Village is a beer garden of epic proportions and captures the glory of outdoor revelry. The long, wooden communal tables in the park sized beer garden, are ideal for getting a group of your mates together to enjoy some quality craft brews (a recent focus for the beer garden) and their delicious food menu.
Order: The Slider Tasting Board ($27) – a taster of all five sliders (cheeseburger, pork belly, fish, southern fried chicken and philly cheese steak) paired with the Stone and Wood Pacific Ale.
Best for…. post work drinks in the CBD
A beer garden in the CBD is often a novelty, which makes this venue even more special. Trunk has the biggest outdoor beer garden in the city, making it an ideal location to chill out after a tough working week. A 150-year-old heritage listed coral tree, sits on the site of the restored 19th century synagogue, providing some shady relief on scorching summer days. Its menu is largely inspired by Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, with a focus on seasonal local produce.
Order: The Mezze Plate ($31 chef’s selection of Mediterranean small plates) paired with a pint of Erdinger from Germany .
Best for….old fashioned pub fare
No beer garden list is complete without the Standard, hidden in the back streets of Fitzroy. Born in the 1860’s, this old fashioned pub houses a rambling beer garden, which heaves in the summer months under its leafy canopy. The covered areas and cosy heaters are a great respite in Melbourne’s unpredictable weather. If you’re looking for a no-frills pub with great love music, this is your perfect choice. The best loved beer garden in Fitzroy hands down.
Order: The Pepper Crusted Kangaroo Fillets ($25) on a bacon and chive potato mash, with broccolini and a port wine sauce paired with a 4 Pines Kolsch – a German style golden ale
Best for….a tropical vibe
Perhaps one of Melbourne’s most quirkiest beer gardens, the Windsor Castle, provides patrons with a relaxing oasis, away from the pace of Chapel Street. If you can get past the lime green façade, you can expect a tropical inspired beer garden full of bamboo fencing, pink elephants, palm trees and a thatched roof bar. During the summer months, the crowds descend, making it one of the hottest venues in Prahran to enjoy a few ice-cold bevys.
Order: The succulent pork belly paired with a Coopers Pale Ale.