Posted: 1 Apr 2015

A guide to Melbourne’s best bars

Jeremy Spencer, West Winds GinMelbourne is a big old spoilt brat when it comes to bars. Every week, a funky new hole-in-the-wall pops up in a suitably obtuse locale.

So where are the best places to plonk down for a drink?

Five of the Best has her favourites, but this time she asked for advice from bar expert and self-proclaimed buccaneer Jeremy Spencer (right), who heads up sales for The West Winds Gin (an easy job, as the gin is delicious). As part of this so-called job, Jeremy researches funky venues to ensure the best bars stock his award-winning gin. And he has a beard.

So these are Jeremy’s favourite bars in Melbourne (all of them classics and well worth a look).

Gerald's Bar. Picture: Peter Burge, Flickr1. Gerald’s Bar

386 Rathdowne St, Carlton North, 9349 4748

Mates, dates or solo sipping – Gerald’s (right) is the epitome of service and intimacy. Hand served and specially selected liquor, the original hipster holds court here and never disappoints.

2. Cherry Bar

ACDC Lane, off Flinders Lane, Melbourne, 9639 8122

Rock ‘n’ roll royalty needs no blurb. This place gets better every week. Started by Billy Walsh from Cosmic Psychos, this institution has been the torch-bearer for rock in Melbourne for decades and now even has its own festival. Oh, and any venue which pushed to get its address changed to ACDC Lane is deserving of top five status.

Bar Di Stasio3. Bar Di Stasio

31 Fitzroy St, St Kilda, 9525 3999

A Melbourne stalwart, Ronnie has been in the hospitality game for 40 years, so he kind of knows what he’s doing. He’s gone ahead and put a bar next door (pictured top and right) for more casual liquid lunches – classic Italian served impeccably to all and sundry.

4. King of Tonga

164A Tennyson St, Elwood, 9531 8503

Self-proclaimed ruler lives in exile in Melbourne? You better believe it. This is a small bar full of regulars who all walk here. The owner Steve Whittaker (aka The King of Tonga) is famous for baring his butt cheeks on a B-grade soap. He runs a tight ship as he navigates through the south seas of Elwood.

5. Gin Palace

10 Russell Place, Melbourne, 9654 0533

This should be re-named Chicken Sandwich Palace. Seriously. Years ahead of its time, the old dear rings in its 15 years and doesn’t look a day over 50. Intimate, dark and seductive with great drinks all served at your table.

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