Joanna Hunkin discovered the garden terrace when she signed up for an Airbnb Experience to explore Melbourne's Laneways and Liquor.
Madame Brussels, 59 Bourke St, Melbourne CBD
This rooftop terrace doesn't offer sweeping views of the city – rather it's overlooked by a number of towering office blocks – but that doesn't make it any less charming. Particularly on a crisp winter's day, when you can enjoy the open sky while snuggling up with a hand-crocheted blanket and hot water bottle, which is offered on arrival.
With staff in polos and 70s tennis shorts, Madame Brussels serves up an ode to Wimbledon garden parties of the past. Think vintage furniture, 70s floral fabrics and cocktails served in teapots. The bar is named after one of Melbourne's most infamous madames, who ran several establishments close to Melbourne's Parliament in the late 19th century. The menu is full of bawdy innuendo as tribute to the enterprising German immigrant.
The chat: We were welcomed warmly by a hostess and the bar's resident's canine – a gorgeous black lab who wanders freely, looking for pats and food. A major bonus for dog lovers suffering withdrawal from their pups at home.
The menu: With seasonal offerings that change with the weather, you can treat yourself to a selection of autumn punches and hot cocktails in the cooler months, including a Dirty Chai (think a chai latte with vodka and pear liqueur) and Hot Buttered Rum (featuring spiced rum, butter vodka, honey and spiced butter).
We had never heard of the roof terrace and wouldn't have found it without the help of our guide, Karina, who took us on a tour of Melbourne's best laneways and liquor, which we booked through Airbnb Experiences. This was the second stop of the afternoon and another hidden gem.
The reality: Even on the coldest day in Melbourne history since 1985 (freezing!) we managed to stay warm and cosy thanks to the great hospitality and wickedly good concoctions served up by the team. Add to that a friendly pooch and you really can't go wrong.