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5 Bars for Cool Drinks on Hot Nights

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published December 24th 2017
Staying cool in Melbourne in just a breeze off the Yarra
Arbory melbourne
Source: Facebook Abory

Melbourne when you are hot you're sometimes too hot. So on a summer's day, it is worth finding a place close to the water that serves your refreshing ice-cold drinks. But that doesn't mean you have to head for the beach, as the Yarra River in the CBD offers a host of cool alternatives to help you cool down.

Arbory Bar

For a cool night out with breezes off the Yarra River, try the Arbory Bar. Some people have yet to discover this attraction because it is one of Melbourne's tucked away secrets. Just take the stairs down on the river side of Flinders Street Station. What was once the disused Sandridge Line has been reborn and is now what has to be Melbourne's longest open-air bar. All 150 metres of it.

arbory melbourne
Source: Arbory Melbourne

In some ways, this is a bit like what New York did with their High Line: an elevated linear park on a disused section of Manhattan railway, where shrubs and trees bloom between rusty railway tracks.

The Arbory is a great way to enjoy a very cool drink. The leafy plane trees which is how the Arbory got its name also shade you from the harsh sun. Perfect for a drink on a warm evening and when darkness falls you can enjoy the glow of Hamer Hall, the lights of Flinders Street, the twinkling stars, and the rippling reflections on the black river.

The food is quite good as well. See the menu here. Below is a picture of the last meal I had there. It is what I got when I asked for an entree side of cauliflower.

arbory bar melbourne
This is what I go when I asked for a caulifower entree.

Because the area is under the jurisdiction of Metro Trains, the whole place is also a smoking free zone.

arbory melbourne
Source: Facebook Arbory

Arbory Bar's pop-up floating bar

arbory bar and eatery
Image Facebook Arbory Bar and Eatery

The team behind Arbory Bar and Eatery have also brought back their famous floating bar and restaurant Arbory Afloat for summer.

The giant nautical-themed floating pontoon is moored alongside Arbory's permanent fixture along platform 13 of Flinders Street Station on the north side of the Yarra River.

This year, the floating bar measures 50 metres in length and has a capacity for 407 guests.

As well as boasting 360-degree views of the Yarra River and the CBD skyline, Arbory Afloat has an extensive cocktail list and Mediterranean style wines. Perfect for a hot night.

There is fresh fish and seafood, woodfired pizzas and even house-made gelato.

Arbory Afloat is open from 11am-1am, seven days a week, until February 2018.

For a fuller review of the experience click on this great Weekendnotes review here.


Image Melboune

Another option and close buy is Supafish a neon-lit floating bar which is also moored just for the summer. It is quite a surreal sight as it is 38-metre-long and has glowing eyes staring from the front of a steel and neon rib cage that crowns the 300-capacity barge.

Supafish has a food menu from Nick Peters and Matt Lane from Mamasita and Hotel Jesus featuring quesadillas and ceviche, Totopos corn chips with salsa washed down with summery drinks such as on-tap Pimm's, margaritas, espresso martini and even a kombucha cocktail.

For some reason, the downing of drinks seem to always go well with the downing of the sun at sunset. And what better spot than this novelty?

Open daily from 11am to 1am
Entry is between Ponyfish Island and Sandridge Bridge on Southbank Boulevard.

Supafish will open from early December and run through to February 2018.

Open daily 11am- 1 am.
Wheelchair accessible

Ponyfish Island

In sight of the Abory and well-known by most Melburnians is
Ponyfish Island. The tiny island is floating under the Pedestrian Bridge, Southbank and is only accessible from stairs descending down from the bridge.

It is named after the elusive Ponyfish, a mysterious creature apparently seen swimming in the Yarra River.

Ponyfish Island
Image source Ponyfish Island Website

But the whole bar is somewhat fish shaped so that is another fitting reason for its name.

Get there early for a seat looking right on the water's edge. Or at least walk the bridge a few times until you spot one. The space is decorated with specimens and diagrams of flora and fauna - both real and imagined.

Ponyfish Island
Night view - source Ponyfish Island website

The Common Man

On the casino side of the river but further up, the Common Man is another great outside venue where you can experience the backdrop of the Yarra River and city skylines while you sip cooling drinks.

In summer, they tend to do an outside pop up bar with green turf, a white picket fence, deck chairs, and amazing views out over the river and the city skyline.

This year, there is the South Wharf Pop-Up Cinema for more on the program click here.

Twilight sessions run on Wednesday, Thursday with 2 sessions showing Sunday's from January 3 – February 28, 2018.

A range of movie deal packages will be available including Pimms jugs, bubbles & dips.

Source: Common Man

Melbourne you really can be so cool!

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Why? To cool off
When: Summer
Where: Various venues on the Yarra River in the CBD
Cost: Cool off for as little as the cost of a beer
Your Comment
by Phoebe Hackett (score: 2|336) 1033 days ago
Brilliant article! I love the floating bar, it's somewhere so different to visit
by Jay Johnson (score: 3|1368) 1033 days ago
The Cauliflower entrée was huge!
by May Cross (score: 3|7230) 1033 days ago
Thanks, Phoebe!
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|5927) 1033 days ago
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