A photo of Murphys rooftop bar. People sit at tables with blue skies beyond.

Must-visit rooftop bars in Geelong

Picture this: It’s a balmy day. You’ve got a beer in hand with your nearest and dearest and the best views you can find in Geelong. Sounds pretty good right?

Head to these rooftop bars in Geelong to enjoy views over the CBD, Corio Bay, the You Yangs and, on a clear day, maybe even a glimpse of the Melbourne skyline.

Murphys Geelong

Venture west to Murphys for three levels where there’s a little bit of something for everyone. Downstairs you’ll find a reimagined Irish drinking hole where there’s Guinness on tap (and of course Carlton Draught) and a menu full of modern Australian pub fare. A few nights a week you can watch a live band or two here that’ll have you on your feet in no time and feeling a bit hoarse the morning after.

Upstairs at the rooftop bar, spend your day with mates wining and dining as you look out towards the City, bay and beyond. A retractable roof means this gem can be enjoyed year-round with fans to help cool you down on the particularly hot days. Grab a cocktail or two and take the final flight of stairs to the third level and feel on top of Geelong with 260° panoramic views. The Sky Garden is perfect to watch the sunset or get lost in conversation in your quiet corner.

Murphys rooftop bar with views to the You Yangs.

Recess Bar and Eats

The impressive Victorian-era façade of Recess Bar and Eats may not make its rooftop bar presence known upfront, but this venue has one that’s well worth the visit. Strung with festoon lights and tucked out the back, it’s a perfect spot to while away the hours with cocktail in hand on a balmy summer’s day.

Here you’ll also find an extensive and well-crafted gluten-free menu – think pan-fried gnocchi, cauliflower macaroni and cheese and vanilla garlic prawns. Stick around for the drag shows and DJs on select nights – though the cocktail-making skills behind the bar are a show in itself.

People drink and chat at Recess Bar and Eats rooftop bar. Festoon lights are above and the sun is setting.
Recess Bar and Eats

Sailors’ Rest

If ‘views of the waterfront’ is on your rooftop bar check list, then Sailors’ Rest is a must. This three-levelled venue is perched across from iconic attractions of The Carousel and Cunningham Pier. So you could say the views are pretty darn special.

Head to the third level for the crème de la crème of open-air views and a bar keeping you refreshed with cocktails like the Sailors Spritz (made with gin, elderflower, strawberry liqueur, lime juice and soda water) late into the night. Top tip: during the festive season this spot gives you a great view of the Floating Christmas Tree in the bay.

On the second level large balconies still deliver waterfront views but with a relaxed atmosphere that invites long chats with good mates. Expect modern Australian fare on the menu with a range of mains and share-style dishes.

People chat and drink at Sailors' Rest rooftop bar
Sailors Rest third-level rooftop bar.

The Arborist

The Arborist has gone up, recently adding a rooftop bar to its offering. The interiors take inspiration from the European Ash tree the venue is built around, with an arboretum palette of muted greens, blacks and earthy tones on various materials and textures. Upstairs on the rooftop you’ll feel sky-high as you dine amongst the greenery of the venue’s feature tree. In between sips, people watch and enjoy the buzz of Geelong’s popular dining strip below.

From the kitchen expect a Middle Eastern inspired menu paired with cocktails that are as delicious as they are grammable. The striking violet sour is one your feed and palate will love.

First three images by Amy Evans.

1915

Beneath the iconic smokestack of the Federal Mills is one of Geelong’s best kept rooftop bars. Tucked on the side of 1915, which is inside a converted 100-year-old red brick boilerhouse, is a rooftop spot that’s perfect for long afternoons with just you and your mates.

Head chef Head Chef Andy Symeonakis dishes up top-notch, locally sourced modern Australian fare, with Mediterranean-inspired, seasonal flavours and the cocktails are just as impressive. Be sure to try the gin varieties on the menu made from the neighbouring Anther Distillery.

Belmont Hotel

Head south and cross the Barwon River and you’ll soon reach the Belmont Hotel. Built on the crest of the hill in Belmont, the reimagined art deco pub’s rooftop bar provides a great vantage looking back towards Geelong.

Enjoy traditional pub fare here for lunch or dinner. A large marquee and picnic tables means you can enjoy one of Geelong’s largest rooftop beer gardens rain, hail or shine. Throw back a few on a lazy afternoon or stick around until the dancefloor picks up as the sun sets.

Exterior of the Belmont Hotel at night, with rooftop bar visible.
The Belmont Hotel.

Main image: Murphys rooftop bar.

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