Do it wrong and Melbourne’s CBD can be a big bad city full of pit falls and locked doors; you’ll find yourself queuing up for hours like sheep in hope of landing a table at that new ‘it’ restaurant, or walking aimlessly down Swanston street and settling for that ‘famous’ pub full of tourists.
Do it right, and Melbourne’s CBD can be a city full of hidden secrets ready to be explored. I’ll bang on a bit about this, but do your research, take that extra bit of time and you’ll find yourself a place to eat or drink that is truly amazing. In Melbourne’s CBD you should never settle for second best.
Ok, so for the date in the CBD that is sure to impress, cocktails and tapas. There are some places in Melbourne that just ooze cool; they don’t even feel like they are trying. Walking into Bar Lourinha has that effect, from the moment you walk in and meet the staff you know you’re in safe hands and a good night is certain to follow. The waiters exude that effortless charm that is sure to counteract any possible ‘awkward silences’ on your first date. Order a glass of vino and have them recommend some tapas to start the night off. Don’t rush the order, you’ve got all night.
Important to remember: Bar Lourinha is tiny, so make sure to always start the night off here as it’ll be rammed later in the night. If you can’t get in, walk around the corner to Senioritas.
Once you’ve had a bit of tapas and a few glasses of wine, the conversation should be going ok. Next you suggest a cheeky cocktail around the corner. Melbourne is full of cocktail bars, some take themselves a bit too serious and the atmosphere can be a little stale, others like your next destination are a little more relaxed, and can be the perfect vehicle to kick your date into the next gear.
Walk to the end of Little Collins and head right down Spring Street. This is a great little walk as you pass Treasury Gardens and Parliament House. At night Spring Street looks a little baron, so your date might be starting to think you’re lost. When you get to Flinders lane cross the road and turn right. Again there’s nothing there but a big black door with a doorbell.
After a small delay (you won’t hear the doorbell) you will be greeted by a sharply dressed Japanese man who will bow and take you upstairs. You are at Hihou, Melbourne’s newest Japanese Cocktail and tapas bar. The place is unlike anything else in Melbourne and you’ll think to yourself, ‘why have I not heard of this place’. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will tell you the cocktails are delicious and the rest you shall see for yourself.
Important to remember: You can actually book at Hihou so I’d recommend being safe you book a table but try not to tell your date.
After a few Japanese cocktails, you might be after something a little stronger to finish off the night. Your date might be thinking you’ve taken them to 2 little gems and surely you can’t outdo yourself with a third. Little do they know is that just around the bend is one more cocktail bar that you would have never known existed. Head left down Flinders lane and on your left will be Malthouse Lane. To the bottom right of the lane will again see an unassuming door and light. Walk through to find a jazz inspired cocktail bar, EDV or (Eau De Vie).
Yes they do take themselves pretty serious here but unlike other bars they won’t make you feel stupid for not knowing what to order. With all manner of gadgetry, not only will their drinks taste amazing, they will look spectacular with the help of liquid nitrogen and electronic smokers. They do pack a punch so I’m tipping by the time you leave here it’ll be teeth and bed on your very successful date.
Important to remember: Don’t get too drunk and order the ‘cocktail matched molecular gastronomy degustations’ … it will cost you $130 a head.
- Bar Lourinha – 37 Little Collins Street
- Hihou – First Floor, 1 Flinders Lane
- EDV – 1 Malthouse Lane