A list of Melbourne’s best beer gardens, because we’re all itching for a pint
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07.01.2022

A list of Melbourne’s best beer gardens, because we’re all itching for a pint

Melbourne beer gardens - Dr Morse
Words by Arielle Richards, Tom Parker and Benjamin Lamb.

Fact: beer tastes better when you drink it outside, so here's Melbourne's most comprehensive guide to the best beer gardens.

Let’s be honest, that frothy sip from a crisp-chilled glass in one of the city’s incredible beer gardens or pub jungles surrounded by trees, plants, maybe a DJ spinning some vinyl while your dog’s at your feet…it’s the best way to combat these sweltering summer days.

While temperatures soar, there’s something in the Melbourne air stirring up a tingling nostalgia for warm, raucous nights with a frosty in hand.

In this city, nature and beer go hand in hand – park bevs, river bevs, and of course, beer garden bevs. The beer garden subculture is one we Melburnians embrace wholeheartedly, so we’ve compiled a list of Melbourne’s best beer gardens.

Now, who’s thirsty?

Check out Beat Eats for the latest Melbourne food and booze news. For a list of Melbourne’s best pubs and bars with outdoor dining, head here.

The Standard

– Address: 293 Fitzroy St, Fitzroy
– Beer Garden Vibe: Chilled, relaxed, Sunday arvo vibes.
– Live music: Acoustic
– Dedicated menu: Classic pub grub.

Your absolute classic beer garden, and potentially the best in the inner north. Tucked away behind Brunswick Street, The Standard’s magical beer garden is an optimal hideaway for an extended session. Filled with huge sturdy tables and plenty of them, The Standard’s got any group covered, large or small – book ahead here as it’s a locals favourite on a balmy night.

The Retreat

– Address: 280 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
– Beer Garden Vibe: Great for a nightcap.
– Live music: Modern indie rock and pop
– Dedicated menu: Massive pub feeds

Another local favourite, The Retreat offers a perfect beer garden, with all the trimmings. It’s huge and features plenty of greenery and seats for all your beery gathering needs. Like all good spots, seats fill up fast at The Retreat, so get in quick by booking in here.

The Great Northern

– Address: 644 Rathdowne St, Carlton
– Beer Garden Vibe: Rustic
– Dedicated menu: Finger food, pub meals, something for everyone

Quality, absolute quality. The Great Northern is more than just a great pub, it’s an experience. With huge TVs cementing its appeal to sports fans, The Great Northern’s beer garden is a place to come together over a pint and preferably, a ripper game of footy. Oh, and they’ve even got a merch shop too.

Union Club

– Address: 164 Gore St, Fitzroy
– Beer Garden Vibe: Warm, perfect for seated and standing events
– Dedicated menu: Burgers, parmas, even Kangaroo.

Plenty of the best beer gardens just happen to cluster on the north side… no apologies will be made. Something in the air, perhaps. It wouldn’t be a comprehensive list without a shout out to The Union, where both upstairs and downstairs beer garden offerings ensure your crew will get a table. The downstairs is leafy, green and cozy, while the upstairs is large and spacious.

Workshop

– Address: Level 1/413 Elizabeth St, Melbourne
– Beer Garden Vibe: Melbourne modern style
– Live music:  DJ’s
– Dedicated menu: Pizza, Pizza, Pizza

A little oasis in the midst of the city, Workshop’s vibrant green beer garden is a comfortable escape from the CBD’s chaotic urban energy. The oasis element is further emphasised by their luscious misters, keeping the temperature down for optimal beer-sipping comfort. The fun doesn’t stop there at Workshop, they also offer a free space for artists to show off their work! They are doing truly great things.

Edinburgh Castle

– Address: 681 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
– Beer Garden Vibe: Chilled, relaxed, Sunday arvo vibes.
– Live music: Acoustic
– Dedicated menu: Pub grub with a modern twist

The Castle’s beer garden is a jolly little escape – a comfortable, sheltered space in which to while the afternoon away over a few frothies. Pleasant bar staff and an all-round good vibe, The Castle’s low-key atmosphere is one you can always count on.

Harlow

– Address: 447 Church St, Brunswick
– Beer Garden Vibe: Laid back and great fun.
– Live music: Acoustic
– Dedicated menu: Small plates, and share platters.

A newcomer to the beer garden scene, but nevertheless a chic one. Harlow offers a large, comfortable beer garden, with plenty of shelter from that sweltering summer sun. Greenery, greenery, greenery, and some colourful art, if it’s garden beers you need, Harlow’s got you covered.

Dr Morse

– Address: 274 Johnston St, Abbotsford
– Beer Garden Vibe:  Abbotsford in bar form
– Live music: Disco + Dj’s
– Dedicated menu: Cool quirky stuff and bar classics.

While we’re talking misters and oasis’, Dr Morse offers a similarly-comfortable hideaway vibe. Great tunes and even better food offer a strong vibe to the beer garden scene. Better yet, once food service ends on the weekends, the lush little garden evolves into a dance floor. We love a versatile space.

Brunswick Green

– Address: 313 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
– Beer Garden Vibe: Music filled, nice and laid back
– Live music: Jazz
– Dedicated menu: Bring your own or from Basco Brunswick

“Am I in Australia?” This spot takes the best of Irish pubs, NY Jazz clubs and garnishes it with some Australian flair to make a great haunt. There’s music around the clock, your favourite beer and wine, and even food from Basco Brunswick. Live music is bursting out of its briefs at the Brunswick Green, the Beer Garden’s even got an outdoor stage where some jazz is always happening.

The Aviary Hotel

– Address: 271 Victoria St, Abbotsford
– Beer Garden Vibe: Laid back, summery chill.
– Live music: Acoustic, rock, something for everyone
– Dedicated menu: Share plates, gourmet feeds

Very cozy-chic, The Aviary boasts a stunning beer garden, perfect for a relaxed drink in the almost-inner-city. Perfect for large groups and offering a huge selection of local beers and divine food, The Aviary is a perfect spot to catch up for a bev with friends, family, lovers… or anyone really.

The Bergy Seltzer

– Address: 69 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
– Beer Garden Vibe: Divey, summery but great fun
– Live: Acoustic + Free Comedy
– Dedicated menu: Some of the best pies you’ve ever tasted.

What’s up with Brunswick and great pubs? Seriously, the suburb has them coming out of the woodwork. This speakeasy, divey, local favourite has what you need for a good beer-drinking time. Divine tap beers and a laid back vibe, The Bergy Seltzer is just plain great. And with live music and free comedy every week? Where do I sign up?

College Lawn Hotel

– Address: 36 Greville St, Prahan
– Beer Garden Vibe: One word: Epic
– Live music: Acoustic
– Dedicated menu: Pizza and fancy salads

The College Lawn’s calling card is its “epic beer garden”. Say no more, we say. It’s huge, and we mean huge. With cottage-core aesthetic greenery (think, vine-covered walls), heaps of seating and standing room, the massive space complements a hotel which does it all – lounge bar, restaurant and even accommodation. College Lawn is one of our coolest beer garden spots, and you have to check it out.

The Corner

– Address: 57 Swan St, Richmond
– Beer Garden Vibe: Summery, hipster and laid back.
– Live music: Daily, all types of genres
– Dedicated menu: Classics and cool originals

Oh, how we yearn. Some of Melbourne’s greatest gigs, banging food and a sprawling beer garden. The Corner’s been a staple of all our lives in some way shape or form over the years. It’s flat out fantastic – they truly has it all. Footy, music, and right near a station? Can it get any better?

Hello Jose

– Address: 85 Peel St, West Melbourne
– Beer Garden Vibe: Chilled, relaxed, Sunday arvo vibes.
– Live music: DJ’s
– Dedicated menu: Mexican tacos, tortillas and wings.

The mini beer garden out the back of stellar West Melbourne haunt Hello Jose is a place of frivolity and warmth. Their tacos and margaritas are something to behold too, and when coupled with a light brew, it’s an experience you’ll never forget. They’ve also got a sick ‘Boozy Brunch’ you’ve got to check out – you need to get 8 mates together, and it’s $65 a person, you get tacos, sides and 2 hours of bottomless booze – that almost sounds too good to be true. Book it in here.

The Windsor Castle

– Address: 89 Albert St, Windsor
– Beer Garden Vibe: Extremely cool, laid back and trendy.
– Live music: Acoustic
– Dedicated menu: Cool and quirky items like a mushroom burger

The Windsor Castle’s beer garden gets hectic in the summer but I don’t mind balancing three heaped pints as I weasel my way through 50 million people. YEAH I LOVE IT…

Nah but seriously, this spot has got all manner of things going on with its jungle-like beer garden, including an outdoor bar which is supreme for all the sesh weapons out there.

The Rainbow

– Address: 27 St David St, Fitzroy
– Vibe: Great fun
– Live music: Acoustic, bands, and lots more
– Dedicated menu: Steak and seafood

Ahhhh the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. See what I did there? No list of Melbourne’s best beer gardens is complete without a mention of The Rainbow. Who was the legend who thought of putting the pool table outside, and why is that bike hanging from the roof? Lol. This is place is wacky, but geez it’s fun.

Prudence

– Address: 368 Victoria St, North Melbourne
– Beer Garden Vibe: Mix of old and new, a place you’ll never want to leave
– Live music: Acoustic + Rock
– Dedicated menu: Bar food

There’s so much to love about North Melbourne’s Prudence – whether it’s the homely vibe inside, the cute little rooms, or the dope decor, they’ve got you covered for a solid sesh. Then there’s the beer garden which is a kinda inside-outside room with a rad setup. Never has picking where to sit been such a fun activity.

Atticus Finch

– Address: 129 Lygon St, Brunswick
– Beer Garden Vibe: Modern vibes and a rustic interior
– Live music: DJ’s
– Dedicated menu: Cheeses

Upper Lygon’s Atticus Finch has got heaps of shit going on. Wander out the back and you’ll find an intimate beer garden, fitted out with an art-deco/shabby chic, aged metal and wooden outdoor sets painted in chipping white. Then there’s a shed with a pool table in it… Bloody oath! On the food side they excel in cheese out of all things – pairing it perfectly to your chosen drink.

The Fitzroy Beer Garden

– Address: 243/245 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
– Beer Garden Vibe: Hustle and bustle but large and comfortable
– Live music: DJ’s
– Dedicated menu: Finger food, burgers, salads and share platters

You’d hope The Fitzroy Beer Garden’s outdoor drinking domain would be sound given it’s name, and they don’t disappoint with an area that’s expansive and serene. It kind of feels like an adult playground which is dope. You can even grab a steak or two to go alongside your pint. They’ve also got a bunch of specials every week to make sure you can get some great deals.

The Tote

– Address: 67-71 Johnston St, Collingwood
– Beer Garden Vibe: Quirky and nice and spread out
– Live music: Rock and Punk
– Dedicated menu: Classics.

The Tote is included in this list not for reasons of flash and swagger, but for convenience. Keen on a ciggy in between sets? Take ten steps and you’re there – in the beer garden, where everyone’s having a great time. And there’s no need to forecast when the next band is coming on because you can see the stage through The Tote’s side window… C.O.N.V.E.N.I.E.N.T. On the live music side, they’ve got rock, rock, and more rock, it’s great fun heading here.

The Wesley Anne

– Address: 250 High St, Northcote
– Beer Garden Vibe: Old school English but with modern Melbourne stylings
– Live music: Indie Rock, acoustic, and lots more.
– Dedicated menu: Old school hearty pub meals.

The Wesley Anne’s beer garden is just straight cool. Sometimes I want to walk to every corner of it just to experience every pocket of it. Is that weird? It’s like an old school English pub that’s been picked up and plonked in Northcote. They’re a great mix of old and new, and with killer bands hitting the inside stage every couple of nights, I don’t think I ever want to leave.

Some past honourable Melbourne beer garden mentions…

The Shady Lady

Potentially the best kept secret of Fitzroy. While it may be teeny tiny, The Shady Lady’s space is warm, welcoming and intimate. It’s a little hideaway complete with fairy lights and cheap, delicious pina coladas. And cheap beer, of course.

The Yarra Hotel

There’s a reason this pub, built in 1855, has stood the test of almost two centuries. Obviously, it’s the magnetic pull of the beer garden, with its leafy green vistas and raucous energy. The live music and great pub food probably help too.

Le Bon Ton

Da Bon Ton! The legends hidden in the back streets of Collingwood, these guys have you covered for all manner of pleasantries. Their beer garden is small and cute but it’s been a cultivator of timez over the years.

Keen on another fun read? Check out our piece on Melbourne’s best dancefloors.