The best bars and pubs in Port Melbourne: Bay Street and beyond

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The best bars and pubs in Port Melbourne: Bay Street and beyond

Port Melbourne bars and pubs
Words by Jordan McCarthy

Here’s our list of the best pubs and bars scattered up and around Bay St in Port Melbourne, whether it’s cocktails, beers, a feed or live music you are looking for you can’t go wrong in this strip of inner north.

Our venue guides next take us on a journey of the best bars and pubs in Port Melbourne. Located in the inner city, there may not be another suburb that has seen such a large demographic shift and growth in the last 20 years than Port Melbourne. The once run-down and weary factories are now fancy refurbed apartments and restaurants and there are blindingly beautiful high rises and buildings seemingly down every street.

You can also check out Melbourne’s most comprehensive guides to the best bars and pubs in each suburb and street here.

With amazing views of the bay and the docks, there is no better place to get a drink and take in the surroundings. Centre to all this is Bay Street, a bustling area full of new age cafes, restaurants, and bars, as well as old beautiful pubs that have stood in place for well over a hundred years. If you are looking for a drink and a feed, there are far worse places to head to than Bays St and beyond in Port Melbourne.

The best bars and pubs on Bay Street

The Tipsy Cow

Address: 359 Bay St, Port Melbourne
Open: Wed – Thu: 4pm-11pm. Fri: 4pm-1am. Sat: 2pm-1am. Sun: 2pm-9pm.

Located at the top end of Bay St is one of the highest rated bars you will find on this list. The Tipsy Cow. A beautiful and vibrant cocktail bar, The Cow is a perfect place to spend a few hours no matter the weather. With a large, enclosed and well heated outdoor area, poor and cold weather is no excuse to not come in and grab a drink. Plenty to drink there is too, with a large choice of beer, wine and champagne and obviously cocktails.

Rain, hail or shine The Tipsy Cow is well worth a look and also pupper friendly. So, if your dog suffers from separation anxiety, bring him along. Or if you landlord won’t let you have your own, come down and play with somebody else’s.

The Local

Address: 22-24 Bay St, Port Melbourne
Open: Sun – Thu: 12pm-11pm. Fri – Sat: 12pm-1am.

What’s better than heading to your local for a few drinks and a feed after a hard week’s work? It’s that type of experience The Local prides itself on providing you with cold beer, pub food and live sports all day and into the night.

It’s the perfect spot for a family catch up for lunch with all your standard pub fare at very reasonable serving sizes and prices, with ultra-friendly staff and a fun family atmosphere. After lunch head out to the main bar for a few cold frothies, with a large range of tap beer to choose from and settle in front of a big screen to cheer your team home.

Clooney By Xo

Address: 171 Bay St, Port Melbourne
Open: Wed-Thu: 5pm-12am. Fri-Sat: 5pm-1am.

No place on this list might quite have the reputation equal to Clooney Kitchen and Bar. As much restaurant as it is bar, Clooney, is known far and wide for its amazing grub and has the cocktails to match. Equally as impressive is the bar itself, with beautiful backlit shelving and glass chandelier you will find yourself staring at your surrounds, forgetting that the bartender is patiently waiting for you to order a drink.

Whether you’re looking for the best Port Melbourne bars and pubs for some after work drinks, or trying to impress a first date, Clooney will have you sorted. This is one I highly recommend you visit, but if you don’t want to take my word for it, just hop online and checkout the reviews.

Prince Alfred Hotel

Address: 355 Bay St, Port Melbourne
Open: Sun – Thu: 12pm-11pm. Fri – Sat: 12pm – 1am.

“Indie pub, indie beers, indie tunes”. Those aren’t my words, but how The Prince Alfred describes themselves. This place is fun! We are talking great food, an amazing and eclectic range of beers and for the first time on this list, live music.

The Prince has some amazing local talent pop in on the reg. But if you can, get down on a Sunday arvo, to see regular Andy Hall play some downright crazy acoustic covers of songs you’d never thought would work without their threshing metal soul. If Sundays don’t work however, The Prince is a seven-day establishment and every and each day there is a good time to be had.

The Exchange Hotel

Address: 39 Bay St, Port Melbourne
Open: Sun – Thu: 12pm-11pm. Fri – Sat: 12pm – 1am.

The Exchange has been taking care of the people of Port Melbourne since way back in 1916 and is still one of the favourite establishments in town. The Exchange has it all, tasty grub from their restaurant, more drinks than you can poke a stick at their expansive bar, live sports on the big screens, and a large function room if you can get enough of the place and want to show it off to your friends by hosting them all there.

The Exchange is known for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, so if you are hitting up the streets of Port Melbourne for a drink or two, you’d be remiss if you were to skip The Exchange. Go see what everyone else has been for over a hundred years now.

Pier Port Melbourne

Address: 1 Bay St, Port Melbourne
Open: Wed – Fri: 11:30am-1am. Sat: 11:30am-1:30am. Sun: 11:30am-12am.

The first thing anyone will notice about Pier is the view, situated directly across from the harbour, if you want an amazing view than Pier is the place to go. The second thing anyone will notice is the smell, Pier is known for its food as much as it’s view, with a beautiful fresh menu that will keep even the hardest to please foodie happy.

If fancy grub isn’t your go, then don’t stress, Piers’ wood fired pizzas absolutely hit the mark. Pier Port Melbourne isn’t just food though, the beautiful cocktail lounge is the perfect place to lay back and have a couple of drinks and a catch up with friends after a tough week at work. You can bring the pupper along too, as you sit out on the deck and watch the ships cruise into the harbour. Do yourself a favour and check out Pier Port Melbourne on a sojourn around the Port Melbourne bars and pubs scene.

Bay & Bridge Hotel

Address: 316 Bay St, Port Melbourne
Open: Sun – Wed: 10am-11pm. Thu – Sat: 10am-1am.

The Bay and Bridge is your old fashioned, straight shooting, local that every town or suburb needs. It may not be the fanciest, but it has everything you need from weekly drink specials, a TAB and gaming area and big screen TVs to catch the weekends biggest games.

If you are a Port Melbourne resident the Bay and Bridge is also well worth checking out and becoming a member. With cheap drinks and cash prizes on the cards you’d be crazy not to make it your local stop if you reside in the area.

Rex Hotel

Address: 145 Bay St, Port Melbourne
Open: Mon – Sat: 8am-3am. Sun: 10am-3am.

Rex Hotel is a beauty that has just about everything you want in old fashioned, unpretentious drinking hole, making it an all-rounder among the best Port Melbourne bars and pubs. Whether you are local looking for a drop or you an out of towner waiting for the Spirit of Tas you’ll find all you need at the Rex. Cheap pints and delicious bar snacks are always on offer whether you’re in the main bar, sports bar, or gaming room. Tab and gaming facilities are available for those feeling lucky, as well as pool table for those partial to a game of stick.

Rex Hotel also has a function area for those looking to a hold a bash in the area. Another beautiful thing about the Rex, no matter the day or the occasion you can fill up at the Rex seven days a week till early in the mornings, so whether it’s kick-ons or jetlag, the Rex will be there for you.

The best bars and pubs in the rest of Port Melbourne

The Cornerstone

Address: 1 Crockford St, Port Melbourne
Open: Sun – Thu: 12pm-10pm. Fri – Sat: 12pm- 3am.

Finally making our way out of the packed Bay St, we start with one of the best, The Cornerstone. The Cornerstone is a seven night a week fun zone, with a bit of something for everybody. There is great booze, food and service, not to mention half price cocktails on a Sunday.

But depending on the night of the week, you will also find live comedy, music, trivia and drag bingo. You seriously can’t go wrong at this place, and you are guaranteed to have a good time, check out their Instagram to see what is going on any given night.

The Clare Castle

Address: 354 Graham St, Port Melbourne
Open: Sun – Thu: 11am-10pm. Fri – Sat: 11am-10:30pm.

The Clare Castle has been around since 1875 making it one of the oldest establishments on this list of Port Melbourne bars and pubs, and it has perfected its craft. The Clare claims it is “Port Melbourne’s finest pub restaurant” and that is no empty boast. With some of the best pub grub you will find in all of Melbourne, the highlights are definitely their juicy steaks and Moreton Bay Bugs.

The Clare also has a beautiful wine lounge where you can sit back with a drink and catch up with mates. Name your poison and they will have you covered too, whether its wine, beer or top shelf spirits. Over 140 years and counting, The Clare Castle is still going strong.

The Graham Hotel

Address: 97 Graham St, Port Melbourne
Open: 11am-11pm. Seven days a week.

Taking the honours over the Clare Castle as the oldest pub on the list is the Graham Hotel, having opened its doors five years earlier in 1870. In its time The Graham has seen and been it all, with its massive interior having been everything from a sports hub to a Chinese restaurant.

The Graham is absolutely flying at the moment though as one of the best pub restaurants in Port Melbourne, with a mouth-watering high quality gastronomic menu as well as your standard pub classics. High quality doesn’t mean high cost though with the menu super affordable. With a beautiful indoor dining area and fun and lively outdoor area to enjoy a beverage The Graham is well worth a look.

The Palace Hotel

Address: 505-507 City Rd, South Melbourne
Open: Sun, Tue – Thu: 12pm-11pm. Fri – Sat: 12pm-1am. Mon: 3pm-11pm.

Last but not least is the self-proclaimed “best pub south of the Yarra” the Palace Hotel. This place is an absolute cracker and has been a favourite of locals for years now. We are talking an absolutely pumping venue with a killer vibe that constantly has sport on the TV and live music on stage.

Pub grub is available and there is a pool table to help pass some time. All year round you will find The Palace jumping with its massive and cosy fireplace roaring during winter and it’s beautiful and cool beer garden the perfect place to catch some respite from the heat in summer. If you are nearby, do yourself and head to the Palace Hotel.

There you have it, a list of the best Port Melbourne bars and pubs. The perfect place for a boozy weekend catch up, a delicious pub meal and some time killing action.

For more of the best places to eat and drink check out our other Beat articles featuring other suburbs in Melbourne and keep an eye for more coming out soon.

While we’ve got you southside, check out the best bars in St Kilda here, Prahran here and South Yarra here.