Sunday sessions: Top 5 bars to take it easy, Melbourne-style

Long, lazy afternoons in the sunshine, bluesy beats and a cold beer with a view of the water. You can’t travel to Australia without joining the crowds for the perfect  Sunday session. It’s what weekends in Melbourne are all about.

Here’s our pick of the top 5 Melbourne bars for a chilled out Sunday session…

1* Best for… Old school beats

Considered anything but, The Standard  is an unassuming looking bar that hides one of the best beer gardens in St Kilda. Pass through the care-worn doorways and you’ll soon be rubbing shoulders with tourists, old timers and locals alike, as you grab a beer, order an excellent steak sandwich and head outside. Proud to be one of the oldest pubs in Australia, there’s a mellow vibe here with regular country bands on a Sunday to help you forget that tomorrow’s Monday.

2* Best for… beach views

 Slap bang on a beautiful stretch of seafront in St Kilda with a friendly, white-washed exterior and rough charm, the Esplanade, affectionately known as the ‘the ‘Espy’ by locals, is something of a Sunday institution. Built over 100 years ago where it once housed dances for locals, these days you’re more likely to grab a beer, order a steak and see a gig with a local band. But be warned, this place is popular, so get there early to bag an outside table then soak up the views.

3* Best for… Belgian beer fans

There may be steaming pots of mussels on the menu and craft Belgian beers on tap but the Belgian Beer Cafe is pure Melbourne in summer.  Housed in a historic bluestone building (made out of the bluestone or basalt rock of Victoria), the long communal tables, dark wood and high ceilings are reminiscent of a 1920’s Brussels’ bistro. But step outside and you’ll find yourself in the largest beer garden in Melbourne. The perfect place to listen to the cool sounds of the DJ spinning the decks on a Sunday.

St Kilda beach in Melbourne Australia

4* Best for… foodies

Nothing makes a Sunday session quite like a sea view, so it’s no wonder light and airy Republica – another fantastic bar on the beach in St Kilda – is so darn popular. But this bar doesn’t simply rest on its fabulous location. Oh no. There’s beach volleyball if you’re feeling active, wicker chairs if you’re – erm – not and the restaurant rustles up some of the tastiest and most inventive dishes shore-side, from ricotta fritters, tiger prawn pizzas to the intriguing wild bug meat risotto. Something to try after your third drink perhaps?

5* Best for… a no nonsense good time

Feeling funky? Then head on over to The Retreat, known for its grungy bar, carefree clientele and perfectly sized beer garden (it’s huge!). A no nonsense venue, you won’t find any pretentious types here. Instead you’ll be great by a warm staff, a game of pool if you like and food that’s proper pub fare. On Sundays you might pull up a piece of astro turf and listen to some groovy 60’s Aussie rock but there’s also some great live bands in summer too.


Think differently?

What’s your favourite bar in Melbourne? Tell us where you go for the ultimate Sunday Session…

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