Chapel St, Toorak Rd and beyond

Words from Ben Lamb

We’ve rounded up South Yarra’s best bars and pubs on Chapel St and Commercial Road to enjoy beer, wine or cocktails, eat pub food and listen to live music, shows or DJs.

Today we’re diving into the best bars and pubs in South Yarra, a suburb that’s right up there with Melbourne’s best when it comes to nightlife and killer vibes.

There are some renowned wine and cocktail bars and beautiful, historic pubs throughout the suburb, from the classic pubs on Commercial Road to the brunch bars on Chapel Street. For the uninitiated, South Yarra is an old and storied suburb of Melbourne. Originally home to the Wurundjeri tribe of the Kulin nation, South Yarra was one of the first suburbs settled by Europeans in the 1830s, and soon after, wealthy socialites began transforming it into the highly affluent suburb it is today.

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

These days, South Yarra maintains a great balance between city and suburb, with beautiful destinations scattered around like Fawkner Park and the Botanical Gardens, it can be a fantastic day getaway to get away from it all. There are some very important landmarks in South Yarra too; The Como Center is the hub of all things TV in Melbourne, housing studios for Network 10 shows like The project and Have you been paying attention? It’s also home to Global Production’s headquarters, where shows like The hunt and dancing with the stars come to life.

In this in-depth guide to its best drinking spots and some of its nightlife mainstays, we’ve covered some classics you know and love, some cool places to check out, and some hidden gems you probably didn’t know about. If you live here, also check out the best bars and pubs in Prahran here, Windsor here and Richmond here. If you’re looking to travel somewhere a little secretive, check out our list of the best hidden bars.

Katuk

Address: 517A Chapel St.
Vibe: Quirky
Dedicated Menu: Snacks

Katuk is a really cool place that you wish you had heard about before. It’s in the heart of South Yarra and is dedicated to killer service and even better drinks. Katuk is focused on releasing some high quality drinks for all types of drinkers, from a strawberry basil mocktail to a glass of Argentinian Malbec.

The Osborne

Address: 119 Commercial Street
Vibe: relaxed
Dedicated Menu: Pub grub

Osborne takes the coolest parts of pubs and throws them into a pretty sick modern experience. The outdoor fireplace makes the place a great place to visit year-round so you can enjoy their killer pub food like parmas and tacos.

Imperial South Yarra

Address: 522 St Chapel
Vibe: trendy
Dedicated Menu: Cocktails and Pizzas

The Imperial brings some incredible party vibes to the South Yarra region. It’s the kind of place you would go to dance or enjoy some live music. They have mouthwatering dishes, there’s a little bit of everything from pizzas to pies.

Speakeasy kitchen bar

Address: 359 St Chapel
Vibration: friendly
Dedicated Menu: Mediterranean

As the name suggests, the Speakeasy Bar pays homage to the world of speakeasies in the US during Prohibition. Unsurprisingly for a list of South Yarra bars and pubs, that’s not the case here, high-quality, totally legal drinks are on offer. For these warmer months, there’s a hot cider/wine, or even some cocktails if you’re feeling fancy. Check the menu here.

Talk to me

Address: 153 Commercial Street
Vibe: New York-y
Dedicated Menu: Drinks

After a night on the town, Talk to Me is a great after-party spot. They have some regular cool events too. Every Wednesday, there’s speed dating, and every Thursday, there’s a university night where you can get some killer deals on some bevs.

Carolina roof

Address: 48 Toorak Road
Vibe: Elegant
Dedicated Menu: French Inspiration

If you’ve got a big date on the cards, South Yarra’s bars and pubs offer some great options, among which Tetto Di Carolina is an excellent choice. The team is dedicated to providing the best service and even better food and drinks. Their huge drink list truly has something for everyone, before checking out here, think about a drink, there’s almost no doubt they have it.

Shadowboxer bar and kitchen

Address: 302 Toorak Road
vibe: relax
Dedicated Menu: Upscale food and wine

Shadowboxer is doing everything right at the bar. They have a perfect wine list with some amazing Australian selections and a menu full of seasonal produce so you can be sure you are getting the highest quality stuff. They also have some killer event spaces, perfect for holding the events you missed in lockdown.

Zhou Zhou Bar

Address: 455 St Chapel
Vibration: Classic
Dedicated Menu: inspired by Asia

If the hustle of bar life isn’t your thing, Zhou Zhou is the place for you. It’s a Shanghai-themed establishment from the early 1900s, complete with a massive selection of around 50 Asian whiskeys and a bunch of beers from around the world.

Leonards House of Love

Address: 3 Wilson St
Vibe: Modern Melbourne
Dedicated Menu: Hamburgers

It looks like something straight from Once upon a time in Hollywood, and it certainly feels that way too. From the front, you’d think it’s just your ordinary home, but when you walk through the doors, a whole new world awaits. Be sure to grab their American cheeseburgers, which pair perfectly with their range of amazing beers.

Abacus

Address: 383 St Chapel
Vibe: Outdoors
Dedicated Menu: High-class seasonal brunch + snacks

This is a fancy place, the kind you would take your parents with while they are visiting. There are some excellent wines on offer from some of Victoria’s most pristine wine regions and beers from every corner of the state. On the food front, there are some delicious items like crab cakes, quinoa porridge or even their simple eggs on toast.

two mistakes

Address: 637 St Chapel
Vibe: trendy
Dedicated Menu: Mexican Inspiration

Two wrongs make a right when it comes to this bar. The food comes hard and strong, there are plenty of tacos with everything from a steak taco to a chip taco squishies, which includes some fries.

At the end of drinks, there are more cocktails than you can imagine, all with some pretty wacky names, dive into the menu here.

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