After months of anticipation, Rising is finally upon us. We trust you’ve sorted tickets, or at least a vague hit list. Not that it matters – Rising is full of free events you can wander into or past, like the cloud of bioluminescent sparks over Fed Square, the ethereal vocalisations inside St Paul’s Cathedral or the Haitian Vodou-meets-cyberpunk exhibition at Alpha60 Chapter House. Now’s the time to start thinking about food. Where – and what – are you going to eat before, during and after your shows?

The breadth of Melbourne’s dining scene means your options are pretty much limitless no matter how late your Rising festivities run. But there's also a bunch of special pop-up dining destinations – courtesy of Rising food and beverage curator Zowie Minchin – you won't want to miss. Allow us to help.

Night Trade
Have you ever noticed the large car park beside St Paul’s Cathedral, opposite ACMI? The big square is surrounded on three sides by handsome gothic architecture, forming a piazza, and surely takes the cake for the CBD’s most underused space. Throughout Rising, it’s being activated as Night Trade, a free-entry party with food, drink, music and interactive visual art.

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Stop in for smoky charcoal-fired Filipino skewers from Hoy Pinoy, plus hot pies baked by social enterprise Free to Feed with participants from Ukraine, Sri Lanka, Egypt, and Colombia. Drinks will be served lightning-fast thanks to a huge Archie Rose Negroni tank with 11,000 pre-mixed serves of the cocktail inside. Plus, icy Bodriggy tinnies pulled from an actual tinnie boat; and wines from Jamsheed and Fin Wines curated by Collinwood's Glou.

The Rink
Down at Birrarung Marr, one of last year’s most joyous attractions has returned – and it’s twice the size. The Rink, as you might’ve guessed, is a big ice-skating rink, covered in a sculptural canopy to guard against bad weather. The underside is lit with a cosmic projection by Matthew Adey (House of Vnholy).

Whether or not you’re skating, it’s a snug, family-friendly place for a bite and some quality people-watching. Look how many times the word “hot” appears in this sentence about the Rink’s food and drinks: hot buttered popcorn, hot dogs by Hot Dog Deli, hot Pie Thief pies, hot jam doughnuts by Manny’s Doughnuts, boozy hot choccies by “Mörk Chocolate, Fugazi woodfired pizza (served hot), loaded fries (also served hot) and Crepes For Change (a not-for-profit organisation fighting youth homelessness) served, well, you get the idea.

Moon Bites
A festival like Rising is always an excellent excuse for a pre-show drink in the city. Don’t pick just anywhere – Moon Bites is an early drink and snack offer from 5pm–6pm every night, curated by Broadsheet specially for Rising. We’ve picked Nomad, Hazel, Cumulus Inc, Eau de Vie, Mabu Mabu, Hero, Farmer’s Daughters and Bar 133 at QT, all of which have put together custom, all-inclusive snack menus to send you off into the night feeling good. See all the details here.

Dine at Dusk
If you’re keen for a longer and more experiential dinner, book something from Rising’s Dine at Dusk program, presented with just three restaurants in the city (plus one that's already sold out). Each venue is running a multi-course set menu on a specific day, with limited places available. What’ll it be? An intimate seafood kaiseki with executive chef Yonge Kim at Kisumé’s Chef’s Table? Four courses of native goodness at Mabu Mabu? Or a luminous lunar feast at Hazel? Book into Dine at Dusk here.

Rising runs from June 7 to 18, 2023.

Broadsheet is a proud media partner of Rising. Rising is an initiative of the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria and Visit Victoria.