If you’re the kind of person who frantically makes New Year’s Eve plans in the fleeting no-mans-land between Christmas Day and the end of the year, we can relate. But, as they say, failing to plan is planning to fail.
Get in early this year with our round-up of parties worthy of your entry into 2020, including a pét-nat party, a subterranean soiree and a Mexican banquet.
Descend the stairs from Lonsdale Street to usher in the New Year with Parisian flair at this new basement bistro (by The Everleigh and Heartbreaker crew, and one of the best new openings of the year). To start the night, Margaux is hosting a sit-down champagne dinner that includes a glass of the bubbly stuff and a menu of comté-and-onion puffs; veal tartare; beef fillet with truffle, and more. Afterwards there’s a cocktail party with all-inclusive beer, wine and spirits and canapes (think scallop ceviche, smoked salmon blinis and prawn-cocktail lettuce cups). There’ll also be a jeroboam (three-litre bottle) of champagne for the midnight toast. Save yourself the aimless wandering and stay put – it’s open until 5am.
The champagne dinner runs from 6pm to 8pm and costs $110 per person (one drink included). The cocktail party runs from 8.30pm to 12.30am and costs $175 per person. Bookings and more information here.
On New Year’s, Chris Lucas’ Richmond diner is doing a $66-a-head Italian banquet that’s carb-loaded in the best way. The menu is still being fine-tuned, but you might kick off with rosemary flatbread, cured meats and arancini, then move onto pizzas, rigatoni with beef ragu, and meatballs with polenta, and finish with tiramisu. And if you trade up to the $88-a-head option, expect off-menu items such as lobster tagliatelle. Drinks are additional.
Reservations from 12pm. $66 to $88 per person (food only). Bookings and more information here.
On Flinders Lane, Cumulus Inc’s upstairs bar has become an eating destination in its own right. And you know you’ll be dining on refined, produce-driven fare when Andrew McConnell is involved. On the agenda for New Year’s Eve are four shared courses (each with multiple plates) created specifically for the occasion, such as raw tuna with green olive and pickled onion; Crystal Bay prawns with eggplant tahini; slow-roast sirloin with rocket and bone marrow, and chocolate slice with cherry jam and coconut. Drinks are additional.
Reservations from 6pm. $110 per person (food only). Bookings and more information here.
Get your night started at the city’s buzziest Mexican diner. In Mamasita’s recently refreshed dining room, looking out over Collins Street, expect a New Year’s-specific banquet that includes ceviche with beetroot, lime and jalapenos; a calamari taco with salsa verde; and a main-course choice of short rib or whole snapper. The vegan option is a macadamia-and-cashew “chorizo” tostadita with mole verde, and a jackfruit taco with pineapple. Everyone gets a crack at the shared dessert platter, and there’s a welcome cocktail and digestif for each guest, too. Salud!
Reservations from 6pm. $89 for the early sitting, $99 for the late, and $10 less for the vegan option. Bookings and more information here.
Want to avoid the CBD? This polished St Kilda spot has floor-to-ceiling windows and a killer view of Port Phillip Bay. On New Year’s Eve, it’s hosting a live band and serving up a four-course, seafood-heavy menu that includes clams with burnt citrus; seared yellowfin tuna with radish and wasabi; and ocean trout with fennel and seaweed butter. And there’ll be a one-off dessert, “Midnight Passion”, by pastry chef Lauren Eldridge, which combines dark chocolate with passionfruit caramel and passionfruit semifreddo. There’s currently a waitlist for the 8pm sitting, which includes five courses.
Reservations from 6pm. $130 per person (food only). Bookings and more information here.
Melbourne’s favourite floating bar is open again – complete with a fresh art deco-meets-Miami Vice makeover – and it might just be the best fireworks viewing platform in the city. General admission gets you access to the main deck with all-inclusive tap beer and more than 20 by-the-glass wines, plus spirits and bites for four hours. Upgrading to the level-two deck will get you a better vantage point, summer spritzes (choose from a peach number, one with Four Pillars pink gin, and a classic Aperol version), and access to the much-talked-about new pool. No matter which ticket type you go for, there’ll be wood-fired pizza, pulled-pork tacos, ceviche, oysters, prawn cocktails and more on the menu.
From 8am to 1pm. General admission is $195, access to the upper deck costs $270. Bookings and more information here
Colour is a new two-level club with a 24-hour licence in the Queensberry Street space that once housed notorious ’90s S&M club Hellfire. This New Year’s, expect a heaving dance floor downstairs and chill-out zone upstairs as well as pink champagne available to purchase, and a line-up that includes a DJ set from seminal Melbourne post-punk band HTRK (formerly Hate Rock Trio). It’s also a not-for-profit event with proceeds donated to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and the Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy.
9am to sunrise. $15 per person (entry only). Bookings and more information here.
Boogie your way into the new decade at this special instalment of Soul-A-Go-Go, PBS 106.7FM’s monthly soul-and-funk night. Headlining the event is Cookin’ on 3 Burners – a stalwart Melbourne jazz trio known for its deep funk and raw soul – with vocals by alternative R’n’B artist Thando and the soulful Raleigh Williams. There’ll also be a cracking line-up of DJs. Good times guaranteed.
9pm to 3am. $45 per person. Bookings and more information here.
A stunning view of Melbourne’s north is a unique asset of this rooftop bar on the corner of Lygon and Faraday streets in Carlton. Take in the fireworks while conveniently avoiding the hordes in the CBD, and enjoying the all-you-can-eat-and-drink arrangement. Start with a glass of Louis Roederer champagne, then move onto beer, wine or a special New Year’s cocktail. Food-wise, feast on scamorza-stuffed arancini balls; freshly shucked Sydney Rock oysters, and thin-crust Neapolitan pizza. There’ll also be dance and disco tunes courtesy of local DJ Danny Hotep.
8pm to 1am. $220 per person. Bookings and more information here.
If you love the natural fizzy stuff, you’re in luck. It’s all about pèt-nat this New Year’s at one of Footscray’s best neighbourhood bars. Producers on pour include Jauma, Tom Shobbrook, Commune of Buttons, Brave New Wine, Dormilona and more. Slice Shop Pizza is on food duty, and resident DJ Woli Wols will be spinning classic hip-hop, funk and soul from 8pm.
7pm to 1am. Free entry, or a $47 package includes guaranteed entry and four glasses of pèt-nat. Pizza costs extra. Bookings and more information here.
Make like Tarzan at this giant north side beer garden and food-truck park, which is throwing a huge jungle-themed party for New Year’s. As far as drinks go, the base package ($99) includes bottomless beer, wine and sparkling, plus canapés. Add spirits to all that for a total of $135, or spirits and tiki cocktails for $159. Go on, you can start saving in 2020. Bring your best costume game.
12pm to 1am. $99 to $159 per person. Bookings and more information here.
For the past five years Melbourne DJ collective Wax’o Paradiso have been moving dance floors around the city with their unique brand of cosmic-disco and Australiana. For their last party of the decade, they’re doing a full-venue takeover of Collingwood’s favourite party pub, The Gaso. It’s Wax’o Paradiso’s first time there, so to help run the night they’ve enlisted the help of Nuestro Planeta DJs. Plus, there’ll be a secret special guest. Expect a heaving dance floor.
From 9pm to 3am. $15 for first-release tickets, $20 for second release. Bookings and more information here.