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Dine out on culture events

/ 17 May 2021
With Melbourne’s cultural events in full swing, here are the best new places to fuel up in the morning, sip on an afternoon tipple or play under the stars during the new RISING Festival, Disney: The Magic of Animation at ACMI and Good Beer Week.


Whether it’s kicking on from a night of RISING festivities or getting in the first session at ACMI, start the day right at Bowery to Williamsburg across Flinders Street on Oliver Lane. Step into the NYC style coffee shop to pick up a bagel with a side of pretzels and Brunswick’s own Padre coffee as the kicker. For some serious coffee with a conscience, sit and enjoy a fine pastry whilst watching the morning crowds on Flinders Lane at Dukes Coffee Ross House. A percentage of café sales go back to the social justice work of the Ross House community. Rise and shine with expertly roasted coffee and a delicious pastry at Seven Seeds in Carlton, on Melbourne's city fringe before moving on to RISING’s program of events at Melbourne Museum.


Located within the recently redeveloped ACMI, Hero offers a seasonally driven menu developed by iconic Melbourne chef, Karen Martini. The contemporary day-to-night food and wine bar is the perfect (and closest) place to dine in before or after the exhibition. Also located a short walk from ACMI within Federation Square is Lebanese street-food kiosk, Atiyah which opened in November last year. This is Australia's first zero-carbon street food kitchen with a 100% renewables-run kitchen (solar panels and generator powered by waste cooking oil), the first of its kind in this country. Grab and go a range of traditional dips or manakish (handmade flatbreads) served with sweet or savoury toppings. For a ‘surf n turf’ lunch paired with craft beers and simple, real food showcasing the best of Victorian artisan producers, Three Blue Ducks in Tullamarine serves up unmatched views of Australia’s first surf park – URBNSURF Melbourne.

Afternoon tipples

The Yarra River will be bought to life with RISING’s large-scale sonic artwork The River Sing and a giant, glowing eel will undulate beside on the banks of Birrarung, with hundreds of lanterns floating on the river's tide, in Wandering Stars. For front row seats, enjoy a sundowner beneath the plane trees and watch as the Southbank lights come to life at Arbory Bar and Kitchen or lap up Palm Springs vibe with Melbourne weather at the newly revamped and city’s first floating bar Ponyfish Island.

Sunday (or Saturday) sessions at Collingwood’s Stomping Ground, are a common pastime for beer enthusiasts where there's no question how much the amber brew is revered here. There's a 30-tap bar and tasting notes for the uninitiated and the food menu comes with beer-pairing suggestions. (Beer) hop along to Bodriggy Brewing Co in neighbouring Abbotsford for live music on Sundays and pair craft beer, wine or cocktails with Latin American fare.  


Step into a world of nostalgic Chicago-style glamour (also home to the birthplace of Walt Disney), lavishly re-imagined as Andrew McConnell's latest hospitality venture. Gimlet at Cavendish House brings classic European charisma to the heart of Melbourne in a landmark 1920’s building on leafy Russell Street. The menu, like the space, suits any occasion – from drinks, with oysters and snacks, to substantial shared mains.

The spotlight is on Chinatown for RISING at the Golden Square Car Park where there’ll be a rooftop pop-up bar with drinks by Fancy Free and a taste of contemporary art with performance pieces, video and sculptural works. Follow the red lanterns up Little Bourke Street to Longrain, a restaurant rescued in 2020 by powerhouse chef Scott Pickett swooping in to save this iconic Thai institution. Diners will still find South East Asian influences with top-notch Victorian produce fused on the menu.  

Frozen fans will rejoice with the return of the magical snow-covered Winter Village (13 May – 29 August) at Federation Square with a wonderland of ice skating, food trucks and pop-up bars, as well as an igloo village.


As the moon shines brightly and RISING brings Melbourne’s night-life back into the light, there’s no better time to get back into the city’s late-night scene. Fuel up at The Mess Hall, a bustling food hub in Melbourne's Town Hall where pre-booked tickets will get visitors into bespoke communal feasts. Stack plates and bamboo baskets at Late Night Yum Cha, or grab a big bowl of broth at Stock Exchange.

After midnight, follow the neon size to Connie’s Pizza inside Heartbreaker for a New-York style slice, pull up a pew at Shujinko on Russell Street for a steaming bowl of ramen or a dig into a Bolognese jaffle at laneway bar Arlechin. Even later still into the wee hours of the morning, devour Butcher Diner’s cheeseburger or blood sausage and devilled egg roll at 3am or descend further downstairs to Parisian-style Bar Margaux for French comfort food such as duck frites until 5am.  

This content can be shared and edited for the purpose of promoting Victoria as a visitor destination. Not for use in paid advertising. Please credit Visit Victoria.


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