With its masses of restaurants, bars and clubs, Chapel Street is one of Melbourne’s most bustling hubs. In spring the iconic strip will score Studio Amaro, a new two-level Italian restaurant and bar courtesy of the Commune Group, already behind some of the area’s most popular spots, including Firebird, Hanoi Hannah and Tokyo Tina, plus Moonhouse in Balaclava and New Quarter in Richmond.

“We’ve been in the area for about 10 years now, so when the opportunity came up to take the space, we couldn’t really say no,” says the group’s creative director, Simon Blacher.

The venue, designed by Wendy Bergman (Chin Chin, Mr Miyagi and Hawker Hall), will be split over two levels, with a 100-seat dining room at ground level and a more upbeat basement bar with space for another 60 people.

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While the precast concrete façade has a brutalist feel, the interior will feature comfortable, worn-in materials. Expect yellow corduroy booths, recycled timber floorboards and a central granite bar that dissects the dining room. There’ll also be an open kitchen where you can see head chef Daniel Migliaccio (previously of Hanoi Hannah) in action. He and his team will serve a large selection of antipasti, handmade pastas that change with the seasons, and chicken and whole fish cooked over charcoal.

Naturally, Studio Amaro will also make extensive use of the bittersweet Italian digestivo it’s named after. The liqueur will appear neat, in cocktails and liquid desserts. This focus is a good hint as to what sort of place Studio Amaro will be: one for quick aperitivo drinks and weeknight dinners, yes, but also late-night partying in the basement, where DJs will spin vinyl.

“It’ll be upbeat, a bit of disco, some funk, nothing too deep or house,” Blacher says. “Just good music to eat to, chat to and have a little boogie if you want.”

Studio Amaro will open at 168 Chapel Street, Windsor this spring

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