New openings this spring

Garden State Hotel ©smg

Garden State Hotel ©smg

This spring, flowers aren’t the only thing in full bloom. A number of new places to eat, drink and stay in Melbourne have popped up over winter, with more to follow throughout spring – alongside a flurry of new cultural offerings.

Places to eat and drink

Garden State Hotel
Laneways, gardens, eating and drinking combine at Melbourne’s newest pub, the Garden State Hotel. Located on Flinders Lane and bordered by Duckboard Place and AC/DC lane, the impressive four-level venue features four bars, two restaurant spaces, a private dining room, a kiosk, and a function space. But the highlight has to be the beer garden where every care has been taken to enable the plants to thrive in an urban environment. The latest venture by the team behind some of the city’s most popular pubs (such as The Terminus, Prahran Hotel and Bridge Hotel), the 840-pax venue is bound to be popular for lunches, late night cocktails and everything in between. 101 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, +61 3 8396 5777

Ricky & Pinky
Iconic Fitzroy pub, Builders Arms Hotel will welcome a new Chinese restaurant in August – the latest by Melbourne restaurateur Andrew McConnell – Ricky & Pinky. The reimagined space will reference Chinese traditions in its design: tables will be equipped with lazy susans, fish tanks will form part of the decor and the busy kitchen will be visible from the restaurant. The menu will feature Asian cuisine that is ‘elegant and accessible’ and will include shared snacks, smaller plates, larger dishes and a full Chinese family banquet for sharing. 211 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, +61 3 9417 7700

Wilson & Merchant
Chef Paul Wilson will launch Wilson & Merchant this September, a new luxe-but-affordable eatery and bar at the Prahran Market, five kilometres from the city centre. The seasonal menu celebrates modern Australia’s food culture and draws on produce from the Prahran Market’s finest traders and benchmark Victorian and Australian producers. Wilson & Merchant will be open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and bar celebrations, six days a week. Prahran Market, Shops 809 – 812, 163 Commercial Road, South Yarra.

One of Melbourne’s most-loved dining venues is set to reopen its doors this spring, after a fire devastated the original building in 2014. Rebuilt in its original position on St Kilda’s foreshore, the new venue will open almost directly onto the beach with front entrance on Jakka Boulevard. Stokehouse Restaurant will occupy the first floor and a beach-side kiosk will open at ground level. 30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda, +61 3 9525 5555

The Crux & Co
A new café and patisserie has arrived in Melbourne, enticing brunch-goers to venture slightly south to soak up the spring sun. Serving buttery pastries like croissants and ‘croggles’ (cross between a bagel and a croissant) alongside Korean-influenced savoury dishes, The Crux & Co introduces an alternative to the hugely popular Kettle Black – located just across the road. Conveniently situated near to Domain Interchange it is easily accessible by tram, and just down the road from the Botanical Gardens. Ground level, 35 Albert Road, Melbourne, +61 3 9820 1081

Higher Ground
The team behind some of Melbourne’s most popular cafes (Top Paddock, and  The Kettle Black) has opened its first city venture. Higher Ground brings the neighbourhood-style cafe to the centre of town, with 150 seats, split over two levels and a mezzanine. The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week and also for dinner Thursday – Saturday. The heritage-listed 19th-century powerhouse in which it is housed retains an industrial feel, with 15-metre ceilings and plenty of natural light during the day. Upstairs, a lounge invites visitors to sit back and relax, with a coffee and book in hand. 650 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, +61 3 8899 6219

A new Thai-influenced bar and grill is set to open on Melbourne’s Little Bourke Street in the city centre, with owner and chef David Moyle at the helm. It will be more bar than restaurant, to create a marked point of difference to its downstairs counterpart, Longrain – which was, when it opened more than 10 years ago, one of Melbourne’s first upmarket Thai restaurants. The focus will be on a Thai inspired grill, served alongside a selection of beverages by Australian brewers, distillers and winemakers. LongSong is slated to open in November 2016. 40-44 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, +61 3 9671 3151

Good Heavens
Melbourne will welcome a new rooftop bar this September. Good Heavens will sit above recently opened barbarque joint, Fancy Hanks on Bourke Street in Melbourne’s city centre. It will serve American bar food along with a premium cocktail selection providing an ideal venue for balmy summer evenings. Visitors can enjoy a snack, long supper and a dance with local DJs spinning the decks and of course, a cocktail or two. 1/79 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie
Melbourne based chef and restaurateur Scott Pickett is set to open Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie this September, at Melbourne’s iconic Queen Victoria Market. Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie will serve as the ideal daytime pit-stop for an early morning breakfast, eat in or takeaway lunch, transitioning into an intimate post-work bar for evening cocktails, wines by the glass, cheese and charcuterie alongside a succinct dinner menu. Pickett is passionate about this latest venture, highlighting the incredible local produce of Victoria and, in particular, that of his neighbours within the Market.
507 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, 

Places to stay

Melbourne is set to welcome its first QT hotel in September and with it, a suite of new destinations where visitors and locals can mingle. Along with 188 hotel rooms, QT Melbourne will house  a signature bar and grill restaurant, a laneway bar, rooftop bar, and a café. Located in the former ‘Greater Union’ cinema complex on Russell Street in Melbourne’s city centre, it is within walking distance of Bourke Street Mall, Emporium Melbourne, Regent Theatre and Collins Street shopping precinct133 Russell St, Melbourne, +61 3 8636 8800.

Comprised of six chrome air-stream trailers perched on the roof of a Melbourne city carpark, Notel is anything but a conventional hotel. With a hidden entrance, keys delivered via smartphone and a virtual guide in place of a concierge, this new take on accommodation offers a luxury alternative to traditional hotels and is not quite glamping either. Each airstream has been fitted out with its own bathroom, a split system air-conditioner and more wifi than guests could ever need. A common area will enable guests to lounge around but the focus is firmly on exploring the best that the city has to offer. Harper Lane, Melbourne, +61 428 952 559

381 Cremorne
For sports fans and concert-goers, this is the place to stay. Conveniently situated near Melbourne’s sporting precinct, Cremorne 381 offers one, two and three bedroom luxury serviced apartments. Free wifi, full kitchens, open plan living, plenty of natural light and on-site secure parking make this an easy place to stay. Located, as the name suggests, in Cremorne, just three kilometres from the city centre, it is within walking distance to the Yarra River, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne Olympic Parks, Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena, AAMI  Park as well as Richmond’s many eateries. 381 Punt Road, Cremorne, 1800 381 381

Things to do

MPavilion is back for summer 2016 (5 October 2016 – 18 February 2017), this time designed by renowned Indian architect Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai. MPavilion 2016 will be 12 metres high, made of bamboo with a roof encased in earth representing the Australian landscape. The temporary pavilion will be located in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens, and will act as a design and cultural hub, where a series of talks, workshops, performances and installations will be hosted. Queen Victoria Gardens, St Kilda Rd, Melbourne.
Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) will present the fashion world of design greats, Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists (21 October 2016 – 26 February 2017). The exhibition showcases the Dutch duo’s 20-year career, presenting some of their most innovative work. More than 35 haute couture pieces will be on display, alongside some of their earlier designs and a selection of work-in-progress. Developed in close collaboration with Viktor&Rolf and international guest curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot (curator of the NGV’s blockbuster exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier) this will be the first time the exhibition has been on display in the Southern Hemisphere. NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, +61 3 8620 2222

Kinky Boots
The feel-good, multi award-winning musical Kinky Boots will make its Australian debut at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne in (from 23 October 2016). Featuring music and lyrics by pop icon Cyndi Lauper, and directed and choreographed by two-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots is renowned for having audiences dancing in the aisles by the end of the show. The production has been embraced worldwide since its official launch on Broadway in April 2013, winning six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Her Majesty’s Theatre, 219 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, +61 3 8643 3300

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