Melbourne's top rooftop bars
Lounge on a daybed while you sip your champagne at The Emerson's stylish rooftop bar. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui
Melbourne loves good Mexican, but pair it with a jug of sangria and a rustic Richmond rooftop in summer and it's infatuation. Chingon oozes that south-of-the-border style with its rough-hewn bare bricks prinked with dripping candles and religious iconography, a canopy of fairy lights twinkling overhead. Sup from a neat drinks list of cocktails, tequilas and beers and order a round of tacos to soak it all up.
413 Swan St, Richmond, 9429 5695
Ahoy, me good times! This luxy rooftop bar sports Astroturf, jaunty blue and white striped seating, big umbrellas and a front seat to a gorgeous seaside view. There's a cracking wine list and an epic, enticing cocktail list, so order up, kick back and pretend you're in St Tropez.
10/10-18 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda, 8534 8999
Way, way, way up at the top of the Carlton Hotel (yes, you will be panting like a Pekinese by the time you get there), the Palmz carries on the Carlton's unabashed flocked and kitschy decor with this sky-high, palm-fringed, tiki-tastic bar smack in the heart of the city. There are full meals on offer or you can just go for some fried drinky snacks to accompany a frosty jug.
193 Bourke Street, CBD, 9663 3246
An old shop and dwelling transformed into an adorably haphazard, retro bar with live music, pizza specials, laminex tables and bags of atmosphere, OnTop also features a chatty, casual rooftop bar overlooking Ormond Station.
483 North Rd, Ormond, 0408 907 541
OK, so this one is hardly a hidden gem, with its Rooftop Cinema sessions regularly selling out but there's something about this place that is like a love letter to Melbourne writ large. Food is kept to burgers and fries, the drinks list is equally unfussy, but when you're cosied up on a deckchair in the twilight, as the light begins to fade and the cinema screen begins to glow, the skyscrapers gleaming all around you, there's no other place you'd rather be.
Rooftop, Curtin House, 252 Swanston St, CBD, 9654 5394
Naked in the Sky
Up above Naked for Satan, Fitzroy's cheeky den of pintxos and vodka, you'll find Naked in the Sky, an expansive, sleek rooftop terrace with hypnotic views all around. Food is pricier and posher up high than the cheap and cheerful toothpicking pintxos on the ground floor (think pan seared quail over anchovies on toast) but who cares, you'll be lingering here for infused vodkas at sunset. Watching a pink sky descend over Fitzroy is one beautiful, melancholy sight.
285 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, 9416 2238
This newly-minted modern Vietnamese diner has the crowds going wild, and while the bar downstairs may be all dark and sexy, it's the bright, bamboo-lined rooftop bar that's perfect place for a breezy afternoon. Snack on a couple of banh mi and something zingy and fresh (say, the Mekong Splice) from the compact cocktail list.
188 Carlisle St, St Kilda, 9041 2668
With music from the band room filtering up through your feet and the Sandringham line trains whisking past your nose, the Corner Hotel retains its rock'n'roll vibe at one of the most enduring rooftop beer gardens, rounded out with a solid menu and straight up drinks list.
57 Swan Street, Richmond, 9427 9198
Perched above three floors of unashamed superclub glamour, the Emerson's rooftop bar is a sprawling, sun-drenched deck with white accents and a Palm Beach vibe. Nab a daybed – I repeat, daybed – to lounge on while you set about the task of sipping champagne.
143-145 Commercial Rd, South Yarra, 9825 0900
Hovering above the Melbourne Supper Club like a refined, boozey angel, Siglo has a restrained air, a Parliament-end view and a high-end cocktail list. More gentle hubbub than raucous party, Siglo does a fine line in stylish snacks to accompany your French 75 on an intimate night out.
2/161 Spring St, CBD, 9654 6300
Killing time before the movie starts? Slip into the step-down cafe in the foyer of Cinema Nova, grab a glass of white and drink it out on the narrow terrace over the building's bullnose verandah. So it's not an actual bar per se but you'll have a treetop view of Lygon Street and that unmistakeable Melbourne feeling.
380 Lygon St, Carlton, 9347 5331
It's only open on Sundays but the rooftop above this deco garage turned microbrewery and Argentinian restaurant is perfect for casual drinks with a view.
298 Beach Rd, Black Rock, 1300 878 360
The Deck Bar
This prime corner venue, with lush Oliver's Hill on one side and a glimmering bayside view in front, has been given a super-fresh makeover where you can now enjoy breezy rooftop drinks.
2-4 Davey St, Frankston, 9783 1003
This year-round rooftop in Moonee Ponds (cranking the heaters in winter) has live music and pub meal specials like $10 parmas.
595 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds, 9370 1144