Whilst the words “Melbourne” and “beaches” don’t sit easily together in the minds of many Australians, the southern capital does have a huge bay that gives its residents access to the benefits of waterfront living – including the joys of wining and dining with a fresh sea breeze on their face. Yes it’s true Melbourne arguably has the worst weather in the country (by bad weather we mean unpredictable and “cold” for at least one third of the year), but that doesn’t stop the locals embracing these favourite waterfront spots no matter the season. So in the spirit of putting together practical lists for our readers, True Local have gathered together 5 of the top Melbourne beachside bars and restaurants for your consideration:
Southbank Pedestrian Bridge, Southbank VIC
Whilst not a beachside bar by any means, no list of Melbourne’s top waterfront drinking & eating spots would be complete without giving a shout out to the wonderful Ponyfish Island. First opened in 2011 in what was once described as a “no man’s land” beneath the city’s iconic Southbank Pedestrian Bridge, this unusually shaped bar has brought new life to literally the centre of the Yarra River! Popular items on their menu include Cheese Boards ($16), Smashed Avo Bagels ($9), Soup Du Jour ($8.50) and $18 cocktails.
“Love the novelty of this bar under the bridge – its so relaxing enjoying a drink here next to the water. It’s a very small bar, so seating is limited. Staff are awesome here too. Great music. Great service” – Pizzaria
St Kilda Sea Baths 10-18, Jacka Boulevard St Kilda VIC
An institution in Melbourne’s premier beachside neighbourhood of St Kilda, Republica has been entertaining locals for years with its laid back vibes and impressive courtyard that can hold up to 900 people at once – not to mention its great location facing the sands of St Kilda Beach. Republica is also a highly versatile venue, with its menu catering for everything from a long, breezy Sunday Brunch (try their Eggs Benedict with Free Range Bacon, Poached Eggs & Hollandaise for $16), a classy dinner (try their Chilli Tiger Prawn Linguini for $32) to a casual Cocktail session with close friends (try their Classic Mojito for $18).
“Republica is a busy, happening place on St kilda Beach that is absolutely packed in summer! We went on a very hot day and the vibe was incredible. The food is quite good and very reasonable considering the location. Staff is great, able to juggle the huge crowds inside and out” – Starwoman8
175b Beaconsfield Parade, Middle Park VIC
A simple structure on Melbourne’s premier bayside boulevard of Beaconsfield Parade, Sandbar Beach Café provides its patrons with uninterrupted views across Port Phillip Bay looking south towards the ocean. Unlike nearby Republica whose courtyard can seat a massive crowd of 900, Sandbar Beach Café is much smaller in scale and ideal for an intimate catch up with friends. Popular items on their menu include (all day) Sandbar Breakfast for $24, Classic Fish & Chips for $24 whilst drinks include Ciders for $9.50 and Sangria for $10.
“Sandbar Beach Cafe has had an amazing facelift and I was one of the lucky few to check out its new look at the launch in January. Been the beach loving, cocktail drinking, food critic, dancing queen that I am I think I have found my new summer, heaven-sent hang out. The back deck complete with cocktail bar rolls right out on to the sand, with table settings and fire lanterns it (is) a great place to kick back with a Mojito watch the sun set over the waves and cruze on into the night with some fine dining” – Kat Woman
Corner Beach & Bay Roads, Sandringham VIC
Affectionately called “the Sandy” by proud locals, the Sandringham Hotel in the Melbourne bayside suburb of the same name offers great views across Port Phillip Bay from its glass-fronted bistro that also doubles as a popular function space. The Sandy also has short term accommodation facilities, whilst its menu draws in a crowd with favourites such as Caesar Salad ($19), Chicken Schnitzel ($23), Angus Beef Burger ($24) or a wide selection of cocktails and alcoholic beverages.
“I recently went there on a warm evening for cheap farewell dinner and drinks. It was an inviting and relaxing atmosphere, with great views of the beach. The food was reasonably priced and served very promptly” – Scheong
49 Beach Street, Port Melbourne VIC
Featuring an eclectic array of South East Asian flavours, great wine, amazing cocktails, all topped off by splendid views across Port Phillip Bay, Tenpin Kitchen is a favourite amongst the locals in posh Port Melbourne. Spread across two floors, including a top deck with said views across the bay and beach below, Tenpin Kitchen also delivers the goods where it matters – on your plate. Choices include a strong Asian infusion, with items such as Indonesian Wagyu Beef Skewers ($17), Stir Fried Asian Greens ($14) and Edamame ($7.50).
“Tenpin is definitely a place to hit up during summer. With its amazing beach views of port Melbourne, high ceilings and refreshing cocktails you can’t go wrong. The food was absolutely delicious with an Asian vibe variety. Check this place out!” – Kimmy_desu