Those who are familiar with old Lady Midnight and the sight of neon symphonies while night walking in Melbourne town will no doubt appreciate that, come the early, early hours of tomorrow’s morning, finding that quiet venue to wind down can be a challenge. Yet, after a late supper or film, or even after some dancing, Melbourne does offer some great venues for the insomniac or night owl.
The grand dame of very late nights and very early mornings is doubtless The Melbourne Supper Club. Open until 4am on weeknights and 6am on the weekends, this laidback, comfortable and subdued atmosphere is a perfect hideaway spot to see in the morning. Especially if you’re seated next to the impressive arched windows overlooking Parliament House and Spring Street. Just don’t fall asleep in their soft, well-loved, leather couches (it happens). The Melbourne Supper Club offers a tome-sized menu with an international range of wines, aperitifs, spirits, liqueurs, tea and coffee. Food is focused on rich, continental European fare with an emphasis on warm, comfort food (think toasted sandwiches, cheeses, pâté, crusty bread and warm olives) as well as guilty deserts like tiramisu and sticky date pudding. The service is knowledgeable and surprisingly friendly given the early hours. You can easily spend several quiet hours here either with friends or a good book, or venture upstairs to Siglo Bar for a quiet cigar and a brandy in their open air, rooftop bar.
Further uptown, hidden 15 floors up on Queen Street, is the Blue Diamond Club. Put your smoking jacket on for this place as it offers a large selection of cigars and serious champagnes to celebrate that new promotion or special night. Take in the wonderful views of the Melbourne skyline whilst sampling a wide array of musical performances from cabaret acts to jazz. It is open late but if you want to keep going then just a short stroll away is the Paris Jazz Cat and Bar. On Goldie Place, it offers live nightly performances of up and coming Melbourne Jazz artists in an intimate setting.
If, however, you are after somewhere with a more upbeat, dance-the-night-away atmosphere, there are other options. One is the relative newcomer to the Melbourne bar-scene, 24 Moons (initially intended to be open for just 24 Moons but management is re-thinking this). Hidden away on AC/DC Lane, 24 Moons describes itself as a modern speakeasy where you have the opportunity to personally tailor a cocktail to your specifications or select one from their changing menu of new drinks and old favourites. 24 Moons caters to a young, urban crowd and offers theatre nights and DJs, but don’t worry, you can still hear yourself think. The décor is slick and dark with the bathrooms echoing jungle sounds and birdcalls. This place is fun and relaxed.
Another option for the serious cocktail drinker is the award-winning 1806 on Exhibition Street. Named after the year the word ‘cocktail’ first appeared, this bar has a conga line of awards adorning its walls and very capable bar staff able to whip you up a classic or make something to suit your mood. Open until 3am on weekdays and 5am on weekends, it can get a bit busy come Saturday night but the service doesn’t change and the music jumps from sombre jazz numbers to upbeat melodies and (depending on the bartenders) a bit of rock ‘n’ roll.
Also worth a mention is the well-kept secret of New Gold Mountain on Liverpool Street. Hidden behind a heavy wooden door with no signage are two levels of ornate, Oriental-inspired bars that won designer Matthew Board the awards for the interior architecture. The red-room transports the drinker to early 30s Shanghai or an opium den. There is no menu up here; simply tell the attentive staff what you feel like.
Finally, just before that inevitable taxi home (or walk to the office), there’s the question of early morning nourishment. If 7/11 or fast food isn’t for you, then head straight to Stalactites. A Greek institution going back over 20 years, it is open 24 hours and serves some of the best souvlaki and Greek fare in town. Also try Mamasita for Mexican food; it’s open until 2am serving tacos on Collins Street.
A visit to any of these venues will assure the hesitant night owl that being up late isn’t just for the clubbers. So go out and reclaim the night.
The Melbourne Supper Club
1st Floor, 161 Spring Street
(03) 9654 6300
Mon–Thu, Fri–Sat 5pm–6am, Sun 5pm–4am
2nd Floor, 161 Spring Street
(03) 9654 6300
Tue–Fri 5pm–3am, Sat–Mon 8pm–3am
Blue Diamond Club
Level 15, 123 Queen Street
(03) 8601 2720
Thu 4pm–late, Fri 4pm–late, Sat 7pm–late, Sun 5pm–late
AC/DC Lane (Off Flinders Lane)
(03) 9650 0035
Wed to Sat 5pm–3am
169 Exhibition Street
(03) 9663 7722
Mon–Thu 5pm–3am, Fri 4pm–5am, Sat 6pm–5am, Sun 7pm–3am
New Gold Mountain
Levels 1 & 2 21 Liverpool Street
(03) 9650 8859
Mon–Thu 6pm–late, Fri 5pm–late, Sat 6pm–late, Sun 5pm–late
Paris Alley Cat Jazz and Bar
Basement, 6 Goldie Place
(03) 9642 4711
Level 1, 11 Collins Street
(03) 9650 3821
Mon–Wed 12pm–12am, Thurs 2pm–12.30am, Fri 12pm–2am, Sat 6pm–2am
177 Lonsdale Street
(03) 9663 3316
Open 24 Hours