Hightail Bar

Best Bars in Docklands To Go On A Date

Docklands, VIC, is a vibrant hotspot for an unforgettable date night, featuring some of Melbourne’s most intriguing bars. Cargo Bar offers stunning waterfront views, making it the perfect backdrop for a romantic evening. The lively atmosphere and delicious share platters enhance your experience, providing plenty of conversation starters and a cozy vibe. Bar Nacional stands out with its chic, European-inspired setting, ideal for an intimate date where you can enjoy sophisticated cocktails and tapas. Its elegant ambiance adds a touch of class, perfect for a memorable night out.

Woolshed adds a rustic charm to Docklands, housed in a historic wool store with a modern twist. This unique blend of old and new creates a warm and inviting atmosphere, perfect for a date looking to explore something different. Nearby romantic attractions include a sunset ride on the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel and a serene stroll through Docklands Park, adding layers of romance and adventure to your evening.

Written by Darcy Todd, speed dating expert in Australia

The Best Bars in Docklands, VIC

Taking your date to Hightail Bar feels like stepping into a stylish, urban retreat perfect for both casual meet-ups and more serious dates. Nestled at 727 Collins Street, Hightail is easy to spot with its vibrant, welcoming exterior just a short stroll from the Melbourne Aquarium. Discuss the bar’s eclectic music mix, which ranges from smooth jazz to upbeat pop, catering to diverse tastes and fostering a vibrant atmosphere.

The warm wood tones and modern industrial design create a cozy, yet sophisticated atmosphere. The mood is lively with an air of excitement, thanks to the chic decor and dynamic crowd. Hightail’s plush booths offer intimate seating, perfect for close conversation and perhaps a first kiss. The bar is known for its craft beers and signature cocktails like the “Hightail Hurricane” and “Southbank Sour,” making drink choices easy and impressive. Sharing the “Hightail Burger” or “Salt and Pepper Squid” shows thoughtful consideration and can enhance your date experience.

Taking your date to The Nixon Hotel promises an evening of charm and sophistication. Nestled on Bourke Street, it’s easy to find; just look for Marvel Stadium. The Nixon’s warm, contemporary décor sets a cozy mood, perfect for easing first-date jitters. The vibe is both chic and inviting with timber furnishings and modern touches. Dating back to its opening in the early 2000s, the Nixon has become a Docklands favorite, known for its lively yet comfortable setting.

Order their signature Espresso Martini or Nixon’s Mule—both are sure to impress. If you’re feeling peckish, try their Nixon Burger or Seafood Platter; they’re crowd favorites and delicious. The background music is a mix of modern hits and classics, creating a laid-back yet energetic ambiance that suits both budding romances and more established relationships. 

Platform 28 in Docklands, feels like a blend of modern elegance and cozy intimacy. Nestled on the corner of Bourke Street and Aurora Lane, it’s easy to find. When you step inside, the warm wooden décor and ambient lighting create an inviting vibe, perfect for a first-date. With its history as a converted railway goods shed, Platform 28 offers conversation starters about Melbourne’s transformation. 

The signature cocktails, like the “Docklands Delight” and “Platform Punch,” are must-tries. Share a laugh over their succulent sliders and crispy calamari, which pair well with the lively yet mellow background music. Platform 28 strikes a perfect balance for any date, whether it’s your first or fifteenth, ensuring a memorable and successful evening.

Bar Nacional’s sleek, modern décor sets a sophisticated mood perfect for a first date or a deeper romantic evening. The bar exudes a European charm with high ceilings and ambient lighting, making you feel both at ease and intrigued. Impress your date with trivia: the bar opened in 2013, a nod to Spain’s culinary culture. It’s known for its vibrant tapas and exceptional service. Choose a cozy corner booth for intimacy or the bar if you prefer a more casual, engaging setup.

Order their signature “El Clasico” cocktail or the delightful “Bar Nacional G&T” for a taste sensation. Their Croquetas and Patatas Bravas are must-try dishes that balance flavor and authenticity, perfect for sharing and sparking conversation. As the evening progresses, the lively, yet mellow tunes create a backdrop for deepening connections. Mention that the venue is ideal for savoring both drinks and each other’s company. 

A date at Cargo Bar & Eatery, offers a blend of urban charm and waterside allure. Nestled along NewQuay Promenade, finding the venue is a breeze—just look for the nearby iconic Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. Cargo Bar’s contemporary, yet cozy décor instantly sets a relaxed mood.

If you’re into history, you might impress your date by mentioning Cargo’s origins as part of the revitalized Docklands area, transforming old warehouses into stylish spots. For drinks, the Cargo Espresso Martini or their signature Cargo Sour are must-tries. To impress, order their gourmet pizzas; the BBQ Chicken and Margherita are crowd favorites. The easy-going music creates a conversational backdrop, for a promising first date or deepening an ongoing romance.

TAP831 in Docklands, is a stylish urban retreat. Located at 831 Bourke Street, it’s conveniently close to the iconic Victoria Harbour, a landmark your date will easily spot. The modern exterior with sleek lines immediately sets a contemporary tone. Walking inside, the bar’s industrial-chic décor—exposed beams, polished concrete, and warm lighting—creates a cozy yet vibrant atmosphere perfect for easing those first-date jitters.

Mention how TAP831 was designed with Docklands’ urban revival in mind—it’s a talking point that shows you’ve done your homework. Order their signature Espresso Martini or the Docklands Sour, both crowd-pleasers. For food, share their famed truffle fries or the crispy calamari, perfect for sparking a conversation about favorite foods. 

Taking your date to The Hof Downtown offers a slice of Bavarian culture right in the heart of Melbourne. Easily found near the iconic Marvel Stadium, you can suggest meeting your date at the tram stop on La Trobe Street for a convenient start. The vibe inside The Hof is warm and inviting, with traditional wooden furnishings and a lively, communal atmosphere. For a first date, I recommend snagging a cozy booth—perfect for intimate conversation without the distraction of the bar’s bustling activity.

Don’t miss ordering their signature cocktails, like the “Hofmeister” or a classic Munich Mule, which are both delightful conversation starters. Sharing a giant pretzel or the Wiener Schnitzel can add a fun, playful element to your meal. The staff, known for their friendly Bavarian charm, ensure a relaxed and enjoyable evening. If the night is chilly, a rooftop cuddle under the stars adds a romantic scene for a perfect first kiss.

The Wharf Hotel is a great idea if you’re aiming for a memorable night out. Nestled at 18-38 Siddeley Street, near the scenic Yarra River. You’ll find a relaxed, riverside setting with modern yet cozy décor. The wooden furnishings and waterfront views set a comfortable, inviting mood. Opt for the spacious outdoor terrace if the weather is nice; it’s the best spot for a romantic riverside view. 

If you’re there in the evening, bring a jacket to share; it can get chilly by the water. As for drinks, try their signature Wharf Pimm’s and the refreshing Yarra Spritz. Their beer-battered fish and chips or the Angus beef burger are perfect choices if you decide to eat—delicious and easy to enjoy while chatting. The Wharf Hotel is known for its live music on weekends, creating a lively but laid-back vibe. It’s a spot where you can get closer, whether you’re just starting to know each other or deepening a budding relationship.








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