There’s nothing like discovering the hidden gems of your favourite city and finding the most popular haunts of the city’s elite.

Here is a quick run down on some of the secret bars that line Melbourne’s laneways. Why not pay them a visit and see if you can be mistaken for a local?

Croft Institute

Located at the bottom end of Croft Alley, this bar is famous for being a medical-themed drinking spot.

It also happens to be located in the heart of Chinatown, in the midst of the “uncommissioned” art galleries in Melbourne. As a visitor, you might want to take plenty of time to appreciate these graffiti murals – there are plenty to see en route.

The Croft is made up of three dimly-lit floors that offer patrons a slightly creepy atmosphere. The display cases of laboratory equipment, gas taps for bunsen burners and polished tiles give off an air of a disused classroom.

However, head upstairs and this bar’s true medical roots will reveal themselves, with the facilities- or departments of male and female hygiene- bearing a stark resemblance to a hospital examination room.

As well as a great selection of drinks and a creepy atmosphere, this bar also offers live bands on the top floor, which is open every night after 10pm.

Sister Bella

Known for its relaxed vibe, this bar is serviced by Melbourne’s coolest kids.

It is located at the end of Sniders Lane and furnished with an array of mismatched vintage flotsam and jetsam.

While the drinks are low key, this bar more than makes up for it with a fun, relaxed atmosphere sure to have you feeling at home in no time.

Lily Blacks

Want to experience 1930s glitz and glamour in a modern setting? Lily Black might be just the place for you. This is an art deco cocktail bar all about the pickles and bitters.

This bar is known for its fun and down to earth atmosphere. When you are ordering a drink at the bar, make sure you look out for the tiny brown bottles of bitters that have been made into a towering pyramid. Here you can spot flavours ranging from orange to bacon.

If you are in town on a Tuesday night, you can order a tiki drink to be served in a plastic pineapple.

Just remember to make it a virgin if you are in charge of getting everyone back to your accommodation in the Melbourne CBD car hire travellers love!


Located on the beautiful Malthouse Lane, the bartenders at this location are sure to pull out all the stops to fulfill your every want and whim.

There is always something freezing, shaking or on fire here, making it a thrilling place to be.

Timeout described it best as a “luxe hooch parlour”. It is a traditional prohibition speakeasy, complete with black leather booths, cut glass and rare liquor.

If you are a whisky lover, you are guaranteed to be impressed here, as there is an entire room dedicated to this tipple.

Jazz enthusiasts are equally likely to be enthralled by this location, where you can enjoy the best that genre of music can offer, all the while enjoying a well made and delicious beverage.

Double Happiness

This popular hotspot features a chilled ambiance as well as a collection of Chinese socialist propaganda.

Set on Liverpool street, you can easily walk past the entrance of this locale without spotting it. However, if you’re keen for a visit keep an eye out for the giant red Chinese characters in a glass sliding door heralding its location to those in the know.

It shares a stairwell with sister bar, New Gold Mountain.

Double Happiness. With a name like that, there is a lot riding on your experience here, However, with a cocktail list following its Chinese theme to a tee and the best espresso Martini in Melbourne, you’re guaranteed to walk out with a smile on your face.