No matter how you spin it, Melbourne has had a pretty terrible run in the last 18 months. However, the city is as resilient as it is enthusiastic to get out and about this summer, which is naturally the best time of year to enjoy events in Melbourne. When the city’s appetite for awesome new places to eat and drink, pairs with balmy summer nights there is no stopping it.
This summer boasts a slew of epic events and openings planned to get Melbourne back up and running, even with a cheeky discount for mid-week punters. Here are seven events to get around in Melbourne this summer to send off a rough year in style.
Higher Order x Scott Pickett
Details surrounding Higher Order x Scott Pickett are purposefully vague and confusing AF. But don’t let the marketing spin deter you. In essence, it’s a 90-minute gallery walkthrough that blends food, art, theatre and quality tipple. In fact, it is hard to differentiate between the art on display and the food on offer, which is a five-course Asian-inspired tasting menu by Scott Pickett, of Longrain, Matilda and Estelle fame.
To quote Pickett on opening night, “to expect something like this when you enter off the street just blows your fucking mind.” It’s an event that feels like it’s been pulled straight out of MONA’s Dark Mofo program, more so than Melbourne’s CBD. It’s one you won’t want to miss, and that won’t be around forever. Higher Order is warming the site for Beulah’s upcoming $2 billion project, STH BNK By Beulah, which is expected to become Australia’s tallest building.
It will set you back a minimum of $148 per person, including dishes and paired drinks that match each of the curated spaces. Consider it a steal because you aren’t breaking a hundred to dine at any of Pickett’s other restaurants. Extra drinks are available for purchase including the first pour of Mountain Distillers new Red Gum Single Malt, awarded Gold in the 2021 International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC).
The original event dates sold out but you can join the waitlist to cop tickets for an anticipated extended season.
When: 6 PM, or 8:30 pm, Wed-Sun 10th November to 19th December.
Where: The Attic (Level 5), Hanover House, 158 City Rd Southbank, VIC 3006.
Cost: Wed-Sun general $148, Fri-Sat general $168, VIP $198.
NGV Friday Nights
If you want to earn the title of Date King (and dethrone our very own Johnny Mac), tickets to the NGV Friday Night series ft. Gabrielle Chanel is an absolute must. There’s even a staycation promotion in partnership with the newly renovated Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street, to seal the deal.
The exhibit comes direct from the Palais Galliera in Paris, and after-hours access can be enjoyed alongside local DJs, French-inspired snacks and elite bar setups by Four Pillars Gin, Yering Station and Pommery Champagne. Basically, there is enough distraction for you to feign your interest in Coco Chanel’s legendary clothing, jewellery and accessories while earning serious brownie points.
Be sure to check the entire five-month program because each Friday boasts a different local DJ, pumping out pop, soul, disco house and funk. Join DJ Jimmy James, IN2Stellar, Afrodisiac, Hot Wax Sound System and more for a boogie in the garden or museum ground floor. If you’re flying solo, take a mate because this is sure to be one of the most fun events on the summer calendar.
When: Timed sessions from 6-10 pm, 10 December through till 22 April.
Where: National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3006.
Arbory Afloat channels the Turkish Riviera
Arbory Afloat is back for its limited summer season, commandeering the best piece of real estate in the CBD. After five successful years, Melbournians know that stepping on board the Arbory Afloat guarantees you a good time. This rendition has been absolutely heaving since its debut.
This summer’s design, menu and drinks are inspired by where you’d rather be… The Turkish Riviera. Two bars offer eight different cocktails on tap including a biting Turkish Delight, with Tanqueray Gin, Vedrenne Rose Liqueur, Maidenii x Arbory Rose Vermouth, Sour Cherry, Lemon juice, Aquafaba and Davidson’s plum.
Stand out menu items include, butterflied king prawns in falafel crumb, enjoyed solo or atop the Karides pizza, with herb salsa, Tulum cheese and isot biber, a dried Turkish pepper with a smoky flavour.
The rooftop pool is set to launch imminently once restrictions ease off, making it the ultimate Mediterranean beach club. There is a stack of live DJ sets and parties on the calendar including the Four Pillars Pink Gin Launch Party on Thursday 25 November, and New Year’s Eve and NYD parties.
When: 11 am – 1 am Mon-Sun
Where: 2 Flinders Walk, Melbourne VIC 3000
Skyfall in Concert with the MSO
Skyfall in Concert with the MSO
Be sure to see No Time to Die before December 8, because once you experience a Bond film score performed live to picture by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, there is no going back to pleb class at the cinema.
The eighty strong MSO will bring Skyfall (2012) and Thomas Newman’s accompanying score back to life for one night only at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. And you’re in for a multi-sensory delight. To jog your memory, Skyfall was nominated in 2013 for Best Original Score at the Academy Awards, and Adele and Paul Epworth’s haunting Skyfall took home Best Original Song on the night.
And fellas, you’re in good hands. Nicholas Buc, the MSO lead conductor, has chillingly brought other franchises to life in concert, including Bond’s Casino Royale, Star Wars Episodes IV, V and VII, Back to the Future and Jurassic Park. Come prepared because the show will go on in rain, hail or shine.
When: 7:30 pm Wednesday, December 8 2021.
Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
Cost: $74 to $144.
URBNSRF Outdoor Cinema Series
If it didn’t already tick all the boxes as the ultimate day out… URBNSRF has added an outdoor cinema series to its impressive summer lineup.
You can now melt into a beanbag after a long day of barrels for Friday and Saturday night movie screenings. The films are all surf based, naturally, and you can watch classics like Point Break alongside night surfing in the lagoon.
Tickets score you a reserved beanbag and access to a private lounge area from 2 pm, with live music and DJ’s from 6 pm. Load up on takeaway from the Three Blue Ducks, and cold tinnies from Gage Road Brewing Co before settling into the screening from 8:30 pm.
If you haven’t yet made it to URBNSRF this is a bloody good way to experience it. Block out your entire Friday or Saturday for a very out of Melbourne experience.
When: From 2 pm, 26th + 27th November, 3rd + 4th December, 10th + 11th December.
Where: URBNSURF Tullamarine, 309 Melrose Drive, Tullamarine, VIC 3043
Cost: Tickets general admission $30, members $20.
The Exchange Pop-Up Beach Club
Port Melbourne’s Exchange Hotel has revived its pop-up beach club, seven days a week until the end of January. It can feel like a forgotten part of town but $2 oysters on Tuesdays and midweek $6 daily happy hours make it deserving to be on your radar. It’s the perfect way to end a run or cycle along the Port Melbourne beach track.
There’s a mix of VIP Cabanas, day beds, picnic tables and lounges for your two-legged and four-legged mates. If Melbourne delivers cracking weather on a Sunday, Exchange will quid pro quo with a $60 Sunday bottomless brunch package. Round up your mates for a Sunday session including lobster and prawn rolls or Wagyu sliders alongside live music.
When: 6 November to 30 January, Mon-Wed 4 – 10 pm, Thurs – Fri 12 pm – 10 pm, Sat-Sun 10 AM – 10 pm.
Where: Port Melbourne Dog Beach
Cost: Free, or VIP Cabana for 2 – 4 of your mates with a $200 minimum spend Sunday to Thursday from 6 pm, and $400 Friday – Sunday until 6 pm.
The Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival
Registrations close this Sunday 21st November for the Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival. So if you had a mate who you wanted to sign up to the big dance, you’d better hurry.
Five races will go down on the second weekend of December. The 3km, 5km and 10km events round out Saturday, and the half and full marathon events fill Sunday. All distances finish in a coveted lap of the MCG, guaranteeing each runner a nice humblebrag for the gram no matter what their level of ability.
When: Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th December.
Where: Saturday start location is at the Yarra Park Path, parallel to Jolimont Station. The Sunday start location is on Batman Avenue, approximately 150m North of Rod Laver Arena
Cost: Free to $165