The Best Pubs in Melbourne Right Now

It’s true that beers never taste quite as good from your fridge, as they do fresh out of a tap. Also, parmas. Parmas and cold beers were definitely missed during the restricted days over the past couple of years, but the pub is back in a big way welcoming us with open arms.

The pub holds a special place in the heart of most Melburnians, so to help you navigate your way around, these are the best pubs in Melbourne.

The Great Northern

Carlton North
Located on Rathdowne Street, The Great Northern is a local fave, pouring over 21 tap beers and a huge, vibey beer garden. The pub heroes American and Australian beers, mostly Australian wines and all your classic pub meals, done simply and well. The beer garden is complete with hefty HD screens, that you can rely to have whatever current sport is happening. Dogs are encouraged, along with good times, great beers and footy.

Hotel Esplanade (The Espy)

St Kilda
The iconic Hotel Esplanade, was refurbished to perfection back in 2017 by the guys at Sandhill Road. It remains in its historic glory, a great place to go for a bev, a meal and a sport sesh, only now, the options have expanded. Offering up three main spaces, a Cantonese restaurant, the main bar with pub classics, a secret cocktail bar and a live music basement, you can choose your experience for the day or you can jump from vibe to vibe. The Espy is totally perfect for the upcoming footy season, with HD plasmas in the main bar along with great pub food, classic beer and wine options and you can even bring friends or lovers that aren’t into footy… and they can go drink a cocktail or watch a live gig.

The Provincial

The Provincial is often overlooked as a ‘pub’ pub, but it’s an extremely reliable option, often being open on public holidays and running constant drink specials. It offers food all day and night, has a banging rooftop and actually pretty yum cocktails. There are screens on both the rooftop and level one, both streaming live sport constantly, and on Friday and Saturday nights, it turns into somewhat of a dance club. It’s versatile, it’s simple and it’s an easy choice. 

London Tavern

The London Tavern is everything you want out of a sport’s pub; it’s got old school we-don’t-care-just-drink-a-beer interiors, it’s super closer to the MCG, it’s got a huge beer garden, heaps of sitting and standing room, an open fire, screens in every area and bottomless Carlton Draught. It’s the kind of place you can yell at the player who’ll never hear you, without any judgement.

The Imperial

The Imperial is located on the corner of Spring Street and Bourke Street, and it’s so daggy it’s charming. Although recently renovated, bringing it slightly more into the current century, it’s got all the elements of a non-judgemental pub, in the CBD’s European food and musical theatre district. Complete with underrated rooftop and excellent eggplant parma, you can watch the footy on the big screen up top, surrounded by Melbourne’s beautiful cityscape, or you can find a table or stool downstairs and join in with the true fanatics glued to the smaller screens, with fists full of beers. 

The Rose Fitzroy

An iconic Melbourne pub, done up since it’s sticky carpet days, and still packed full of charm. Sport – basically just footy – remains the focus, with heaps of HD screens, high tables, an adequately raucous crowd and a den of endearing and somewhat unexpected emotions among the fans of the winning team. Even if you’re not into sport, the people watching alone is pure gold.

Richmond Club Hotel

This one’s for the happy hours, the rooftop parties, and the sport. Go in your team colours or in your heels, and you’ll fit right in either way. Located across the road from the infamous live music venue the Corner Hotel, Richmond Club puts up a good fight, with great live DJ’s, acoustic musicians, and exciting underground names playing gigs on random weeknights and the weekends. 

College Lawn Hotel

Nestled in the back streets of Prahan, the College Lawn Hotel delivers with a public bar, bottle-shop, restaurant, courtyard and fabulous beer garden. It’s everything you’d expect from an upmarket pub in the south side of Melbourne; white linen shirts, lots of RM Williams and Aperol Spritz’s, in a leafy green setting. They have great happy hour specials, they’re dog friendly, and there is constant live sport playing on the screens. It’s a classy local.

Limerick Arms

South Melbourne
Having been slinging pints for almost 160, the Limerick Arms is an iconic South Melbourne corner pub. Known for their incredible steaks, they also serve up delish pub classics such as burgers, slow roasts and parmas. They have 16 craft beers and pair perfectly with their locally-sourced and seasonally-created food menu. There’s also a sports bar, with HD screens that can be viewed from anywhere in the venue, playing every AFL, NRL and Super Rugby game live, as well as UFC, cricket, soccer and any major sporting event across the globe.

Grosvenor Hotel

St Kilda East
A classy pub, with woodfired pizza, gourmet parmas, Angus-beef steaks and chunky pub chips. With a beautiful minimalistic and open-plan interior, the Grosvenor Hotel is a multi-faceted pub, perfect for casual drinks, family dinner, trivia and live music nights, as well as watching your favourite sporting events, all in style and ease. 

Garden State Hotel 

Flinders Lane, CBD
Garden State Hotel is located on Flinders Lane in Melbourne’s CBD, and although unassuming from the outside, it’s a multi-levelled wonderland that can host more than 800 patrons. With a beautiful tiered beer garden, complete with dangling lights and a ginormous HD screen, you feel like you’re outdoors, right in the centre of Melbourne’s business district. It houses a public bar complete with classic pub meals, beers, wines and classic cocktails, a toastie station, a fine dining restaurant, an underground cocktail bar and two beautiful event spaces that look over the CBD. 

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.