Award-winning cocktail bar and number 61 on last year’s World’s 50 Best Bars list, Byrdi, has just launched “Early Byrd” – a new lunchtime offering that features filter coffee, low-ABV iced coffee slushies, fluffy shokupan fried chicken sandos and more.

Owner Luke Whearty says having a lunchtime offering is the “future of cocktail bar culture”, and was adamant about creating a space where “you can come and not feel pressured – [you] don't have to have a cocktail; have a coffee, have a meeting, grab a crumpet.”

The Melbourne Central bar is known for its experimental seasonal menu that uses exclusively Australian ingredients. For its lunchtime and late afternoon offering, head chef Aki Nishikura (Whearty’s partner in business and life) has created a menu that draws on her Japanese heritage and love of Australian dining culture. Crème fraîche crumpets with Yarra Valley caviar sit alongside tomato carpaccio with shiso and smoked passionfruit smashed pavlova.

Never miss a Melbourne moment. Make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter today.


Like the evening menu, everything that’s part of the new offering is sourced from Australia – and that includes the coffee beans. They come from Nat’s Coffee in Byron Bay and are hand-harvested before they’re brought to Melbourne green, then roasted locally.

Head bartender Sam Thornhill, who has been instrumental in the daytime menu, says Early Byrd is the venue’s “take on Australian aperitivo”. He adds, “The drinks are lower ABV [than Byrdi’s evening offering], the snacks are less fussy and more fun, but you still get the same service and experience you expect from a trip to Byrdi.”

Unlike the night-time menu – which is incredibly concept-driven and receives a full overhaul every season – the daytime offering will largely stay the same. Mainstays include the Nice One Gary (the team’s take on the classic Garibaldi), and the iced coffee slushie, made with frozen nut milk and Melbourne-made whisky from Starward Whisky.

Early Byrd at Byrdi is available Tuesday to Saturday from midday to 6pm.