A day at the races can be draining, so it’s important to fortify yourself beforehand - and fortify yourself again afterwards. We’ve compiled a list of a few places to have a coffee, a bite and a drink on the way to the track; and then somewhere you can kick on afterwards.
Prop yourself up at the bar or hang out on the terrace for drinks and nibbles at Trocadero before you head into the races. As one of the best venues for spring weather, Trocadero is in the perfect position to soak up the warmth and engage in some serious people watching.
The Middle Park Hotel is among Melbourne’s most impressive sports bars, with its authentic French Oak panelling and personal screens for VIP’s. There’s also Cumberland Sausage and Black Pudding on the menu, and although they organise buses to and from Flemington, you might end up just hanging around...
In South Yarra, why not honour tradition and pop into The Botanical for breakfast and bubbles? If you need another reason to go, the Bot offers live entertainment, drink specials, and live coverage of all the races throughout the course of the Spring Racing Carnival.
Drop into St ALi - in either its Southern or Northern iterations - for a fortifying cup before heading to the track. These guys specialise in matching food and coffee, so you can either eat something great in-house, or pick up a custom lunchbox to take to the races. They’re both fully licensed, too, so you can enjoy a glass before heading out.
Fitzrovia is offering specially designed picnic hampers replete with cutlery, crockery, blanket, glassware and a corkscrew for your day at the races. Featuring a range of sandwiches including butter poached lobster and Istra bacon, and sweet additions like Monbulk strawberries and clotted cream, these hampers really are the pinnacle of picnic. Remember to order them 48 hours in advance, and drop the basket back when you’ve eaten everything.
Since you’re already in Flemington, you might want to remain in the West. The Plough Hotel is a tasteful, straight-up-and-down pub in Footscray that serves honest pub meals. There’s also a great selection of Victorian wine and beer. What more do you need?
If you’ve managed to keep yourself looking presentable over the course of a long day at the races, why not keep it classy with a visit to The Everleigh? This New York-style cocktail bar does cocktail classics like daisies, fixes, fizzes, old fashioneds, sours and sazeracs, squeezes juice fresh every hour, and hand-cuts all its own ice in a walk-in freezer. Its marble bar and leather booths are also rather refined.
If you’re heading into town, why not go underground to Go Go Bar, Chin Chin’s in-house nightspot? Its seasonal cocktails will be perfectly suited to a spring evening. You can also kick on with a Do It Yourself Champagne Cocktail - and maybe even try your luck for a table upstairs.
It’s conceivable that after a day at the track, you’re not necessarily in the mood to kick on. If that’s the case, why not unwind on the southside with a glass of wine from Circa’s prodigious list? And, if you’ve had a good day at the track, celebrate by sampling their acclaimed menu as you look out over Fitzroy Street.
Northside, Albert St Food and Wine is a great spot to blow your winnings. Stuart Brookshaw’s wine list collects the best of France, Italy, Spain and Australia, while Philippa Sibley’s unfussy menu offers treats like jurassic quail, jamon, cantaloupe and fino sherry, and an impossibly delicious Meyer lemon tart. Albert St also features its own in-house foodstore, so get in the night before if you need a hamper for your day in the carpark.