Partying on? Head to these latest Melbourne hotspots.
Above: The Rooftop at QT – image credit QT.
The Rooftop at QT – the place to be seen right now
Spots don’t come hotter than this vast, uber-glam perch atop the CBD’s brand new QT Hotel. The just-unveiled, indoor-outdoor, eleventh-story space with Milan-meets-New York sensibilities and a skyline panorama that just won’t quit opens from 4.30pm to 1am, ensuring sunsets in this city just became a whole lot more fabulous.
Designed by QT public areas designer and stylist, Nic Graham, the bar invites Melbourne’s beautiful people (as many as 185 at a time) to elegantly lounge on contemporary outdoor furniture by Australian designer Tait, against a colour palette of olive green, red and matte black.
While you’re there, take time to check out the furiously cool hotel beneath. It’s the first QT to be built from scratch and possibly the most original and opulent yet. The Cake Shop, a café and aperitivo bar, and Hot Sauce, a Japanese-Korean laneway bar, are among the hotel’s other cool and quirky hangs.
Tipple of choice: The QT Rooftop G&T, made from West Winds Sabre Gin, elderflower quinine syrup, fresh lime, sugar, cucumber sparkling water, rosemary and cucumber.
133 Russell Street, Melbourne
Embla – for wining and dining
While the wine adventures at Embla are as exotic as you like, with an eclectic menu from French natural wine guru Eric Narioo and Aussie winemaker legend Patrick Sullivan, the surrounds are comfy and inviting. In the dimly lit, rustic space you can explore your way through esoteric Europeans, drops known only to the maker and more accessible favourites – all alongside wine-friendly eats that are more substantial and enticing than you’d normally find in a wine bar. It’s a tough call in a city filled with contenders, but those who know their grapes are hailing this as Melbourne’s current best CBD wine bar.
122 Russell Street, Melbourne
Loretta’s – for hipster Americana
In North Fitzroy, Melbourne’s axis of hipsterdom, the newly relocated Blue Bonnet Barbecue boasts this little beauty at the front. Loretta’s complements the main restaurant’s smoked barbecue fare and owes its name to chef/owner Chris Terlikar’s original smoker, Loretta. She’s sadly no more, after igniting the fire that necessitated the restaurant’s relocation, but the new bar is the happy byproduct – a phoenix from the ashes, you might say. If you love whiskeys and craft beers in a gloriously grungy, dive bar setting helmed by ex- Eau de Vie cocktail rockstar Oscar Eastman, this is your spot. Eastman’s vision of a ‘waste free bar,’ means excess ingredients are used imaginatively, resulting in gems such as The Bulldog, made with pepperberry infused Melbourne Moonshine, dry sherry, homemade nut liqueur and absinthe.
32 St George’s Road Sth, North Fitzroy, Melbourne
Above: Sagra – image credit Simon Schiff.
The rooftop bar at Sagra – for all things Italian
On your way up to the panoramic rooftop bar in restaurant/bar/deli/art gallery Sagra you’ll encounter plenty of delightful distractions; on the ground floor there’s a spectacular central open kitchen surrounded by a 120-seater dining room with theatre aplenty as the chefs rustle up juicy lamb, pork ribs, calamari, heirloom tomatoes, eggplant and more from the roasting oven. You’ll also see a an alimentare and enoteca offering all the wines on the menu and an array of produce – cheese, salumi, ready-made meals – from local suppliers.
On the mezzanine is a gallery with rotating exhibitions and a contemporary furniture showroom. Browse awhile, then ascend a tucked-away staircase and you’ll find a 100-seater rooftop bar with wow-factor views across Melbourne and an extravagant menu of Italian prosecccos, wines, grappe and craft beers. This semi-secret eyrie is a standout, especially with a plate of Josper roasted chicken wings and a Birra del Borgo ReAle APA from Lazio. Sagra’s rooftop bar has also been specifically designed to cater for Melbourne’s whimsical weather. The floor to ceiling glass walls open right up, creating a sun-drenched terrace, but can also enclose revellers completely on chillier days.
256 Glenferrie Road, Malvern, Melbourne
Above: Montereys – image credit Montereys.
Montereys – for sailing into spring
Lobster rolls and rosé, anyone? Oysters and Champagne? If you’re feeling nautical, here’s where to bask in a seafaring vibe evoked by pastel blue walls, hanging rope, plastic fish and pictures of old ships, while sipping the delicious signature cocktail: Monterey Spray. Perfect for warm spring evenings, this potion is a gently herbaceous mix of minty cucumber apple, elderflower and vodka and it pairs perfectly with Daniel Salcedo’s fresh seafood specialties. The owners of this new star are the genius couple behind Swedish seventies log cabin-inspired Leonard’s House of Love.
218 Chapel Street, Prahran, Melbourne