Insta-perfect and with great deals? These are the 7 best bars in Melbourne for Happy Hour

Taco Tuesdays, board games, comedy nights. There are more to these top Melbourne pubs than great happy hour bargains on eats and drinks. But they have those too…

People drinking on a bar roof top in the sunshine
  • Larissa Dubecki
  • February 2020

Home to an eclectic mix of drinking spots, the Victorian capital’s CBD is full of good times. A Melbourne local hand-picks the best happy hours, where you can double the fun.

Best for Instagram: Peaches

Sitting pretty in peach above Swanston Street, this glamorous address attracts a stylish crowd to its Hamptons-esque rooftop and its bar adorned with gilt-edged booths upholstered in blush-coloured suede. But it also knows how to appeal to the hoi polloi with extravagant happy hour specials – every day from noon to 2pm and midnight to 2am you can grab AUD $7 burgers, while themed days include Mad Mondays, with AUD $5 chicken burgers, and Taco Tuesdays, the home of AUD $4 tacos and AUD $5 lucky-dip tinnies. Don’t miss posing for an Instagram shot on the pink staircase, one of the quintessential Melbourne images.

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Best beer garden: Riverland

If there’s one thing better than sitting at an umbrella-shaded table overlooking the Yarra River on a sunshine-filled Melbourne day, it’s doing it during happy hour at Riverland. From 5-7pm Monday to Friday, this thoroughly urbane beer garden (it deservedly won a slew of design awards for reactivating the bluestone vaults under Federation Square) celebrates the end of the working day with a selected range of AUD $8 pints, wine and spirits. Until March 31, you can also nab Club Aperol’s all-day AUD $14 slushies.

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A busy beer garden next to a pub
Enjoy a great view of the Yarra River alongside a happy hour drink at this award-winning pub.

Best for Italian: Merchant

Happy hour sports an Italian accent at Merchant, Guy Grossi’s casual-chic Venetian osteria at the Rialto in Melbourne’s west end. Celebrate aperitivo hour in Latin style from 4.30-6.30pm, Monday to Friday, with AUD $8 Bellinis and AUD $9 Negronis, matched by lots of equally cut-price cicchetti (Venetian snacks) such as arancini, house-cured salmon or simply a plate of freshly sliced prosciutto San Daniele. The duck tortellini with sage and burnt butter is a to-die-for Grossi specialty.

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Best for retro vibe: Good Heavens

This rooftop bar rocks a Miami Vice vibe with its pastel colour scheme and 1980s-themed cocktails such as their riff on the Piña Colada. Good Heavens also pours AUD $8 pints of beer (the exact brew rotates through their multiple craft taps) and AUD $6 glasses of the house wine from 4-6pm Monday to Thursday. The upstairs sibling to American barbecue kings Fancy Hank’s, at Good Heavens you can tuck in to excellent Cubano sandwiches and barbecue wings, thanks to Hank’s taking charge of the menu. Fancy a board game? Just ask at the bar.

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A group of friends playing Jenga
You'll love the themed cocktails at Good Heavens rooftop bar.

Best for late night: Spleen Bar

Open until 5am from Monday to Saturday, this pioneer of the city’s small bar scene remains one of Melbourne’s favourite late-night haunts. Yet there are some compelling reasons to pop in early to this slip of a convivial drinking spot at the top end of Bourke Street, chief among them happy hour, celebrated every weeknight from 4-7pm with AUD $9 pints, AUD $5 pots and AUD $8 wines. On Mondays there is comedy night, with free stand-up from some of the best in the business.

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Best for sports fans: The Duke

It’s Melbourne’s oldest pub, having poured its first drink in 1853, and this corner haunt opposite present-day Federation Square is also one of the best. Sports fans love the big screens playing everything from tennis to cricket, while a smart 2018 makeover has added a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the extravagant Moorish Revival architecture of the Forum theatre across the road. You can admire the domes and statues every weekday from 4-7pm with AUD $8.50 pints, AUD $7.50 house spirits and house wines, plus AUD $10 Espresso Martinis and Aperol Spritzes, and every lunchtime from noon to 3pm, there is a AUD $20 parma and pot offer.

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Two friends chinking their drinks
Melbourne's oldest pub serves wallet-friendly cocktails every day.

Best for views: Campari House

This classic Italian bistro was opened on Hardware Lane back when Harold Holt was prime minister (1967, to be exact) but joined the ranks of Melbourne’s thoroughly modern bars when it added an astroturfed all-weather rooftop a decade ago. Head along for magnificent skyscraper views and a happy hour celebrated in triplicate each Sunday to Thursday from 4-7pm with AUD $6 house wine and AUD $10 pints of Furphy, Little Creatures, Heineken and Panhead beer. Bonus: on Sundays there are free trivia sessions timed to coincide with happy hour.

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