Published on April 11 2019.
Di Stasio Città
Everything you like about the original Café Di Stasio and everything you love about the bar have been brought together on Spring Street in a space where crisp, cool architectural lines meet wild splashes of creativity. Push the boat out with some serious lunching, or dip the toe with a seat at the bar, an icy Martini and some anchovies fried crisp in sage leaves from what might well be the hottest bar menu in town.
45 Spring St, Melbourne, (03) 9070 1177
Denton Wine Bar
The corner of Spring Street and Flinders Lane that was once a temple of Japanese refinement thanks to Hihou, Nama Nama and, later, Kappo has been undergoing a slow transformation. Hihou remains but it’s now joined by a ground-floor wine bar from the same owner, Simon Denton – it’s his name on the shingle and wines from his family estate are on the list, as he gets back to basics with a wine bar for the people. Ten-dollar glasses, a short list of snacks and a tight roster of cocktails offer a reminder that sometimes less is more.
1 Flinders La, Melbourne, (03) 9639 9500
Scallops at Di Stasio Città
At last, Melbourne has its very own venue dedicated to that snack of the moment, the katsu sando. Fulfil your cravings for this Japanese convenience-store staple at any time of the day (but sadly not the night) at Saint Dreux. It might be in the St Collins Lane building, but Saint Dreux’s is not your average food court fare. A sleek fit-out, high-end packaging and made-to-order sandwiches make this a more elevated weekday lunch pick.
Level 2, 260 Collins St, Melbourne, (03) 7016 8973
Angel Music Bar
Wine bar. Bistro. Late-night watering hole. Diner. Is there anything Con Christopoulos hasn’t turned his hand to? Now this don of Melbourne hospitality extends his reach with Angel Music Bar, a venue for DJs and the people who love them. It’s open late, serves strong cocktails and, like all Christopoulos’s venues, is just the right amount of dark. Since opening in January, Angel has hosted international DJs as well as local selectors playing everything from jazz to funk and everything in between.
12 Bourke St, Melbourne, (03) 9654 6249
Perhaps you’ve heard good things about Super Ling’s mapo tofu jaffle – it’s all that and more – but this offshoot from popular Carlton watering hole The Lincoln has plenty of other great Chinese food going on, whether it’s the saucy clams tossed in a wok with chilli, dried shrimp, garlic and ginger, or the deeply soothing pork and cuttlefish wonton soup with winter melon. The value is outstanding, not least when chef Michael Li busts out his $12 menu of hand-cut noodles for weekday lunch.
138 Queensberry St, Carlton, (03) 9347 5878
The Hardware Societé
It’s no longer on its namesake laneway, but the DNA of this leader of Melbourne’s breakfast pack remains the same following its move to larger digs on Katherine Place. You’ll still find excellent coffee and elevated all-day fare, such as 64-degree eggs and lobster Benedict, but the bigger space means an evening menu and Friday drinks are possible, featuring French-accented snacks and classic cocktails. The very 2019 fit-out features marble-topped tables and rattan chairs, complemented by pastel pink and bright green accents.
10 Katherine Pl, Melbourne, (03) 9078 5992
At last, Melbourne’s original laneway bar has returned, albeit in a new and cosier location. When it was announced that Meyers Place was closing in June 2017, the city mourned, but now residents are more likely to shed tears about not getting a seat. The new space is considerably smaller than the original but the same unpretentious vibe and prices, combined with warm design touches, have survived the move. Add it to your list and make sure you get there early.
7/24 Crossley St, Melbourne, (03) 9650 8609
A pink-hued haven from Melbourne’s busy Swanston Street, Peaches is anything but minimalist. From the giant mirror ball and peach lights hanging over the lower bar to the faux pear table numbers and velvet banquettes, fun is the name of the game here. While the range of wines and beers is tight, the cocktail menu overflows with choices. Start with the G&T-inspired Apollonia crafted with sloe gin, violet and blackberries and take it from there.
Levels 2 and 3, 301 Swanston St, Melbourne, (03) 9994 8582
By Emma Breheny, Pat Nourse and Chris Edkins
Presented in partnership with City of Melbourne