So you swiped right and got a match. The next step is harder: finding somewhere both of you can feel at ease and focus on getting to know each other. We're not into quiet, romantic spots – not early on, anyway. At these fun, energetic restaurants and bars there's rarely a chance for an awkward silence. Good luck.

Related pages:
Best Restaurants in Melbourne
Best Wine Bars in Melbourne
Best Cocktail Bars in Melbourne
Best Neighbourhood Bars in Melbourne

First Dates

First dates require a particular kind of venue. We're not into quiet, romantic spots – not early on, anyway. At these fun, energetic restaurants and bars there's rarely a chance for an awkward silence. Good luck.

Cumulus Up Wine Bar


The slimmer version of Andrew McConnell's Cumulus Inc. has the same elegant charm.

Level 1 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Neptune Food & Wine


Canned seafood, wine and a moody, low-lit ambience. Perfect.

212 High Street, Windsor
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Tapas on a rooftop, with vermouth on tap and killer city views.

103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Lay Low Bar


The lights are low and the cocktails are good.

93 Buckley Street, Seddon

Leonardo’s Pizza Palace


A rollicking good-times pizzeria from the Leonard's House of Love crew.

29 Grattan Street, Carlton

Bar Romantica


The late-night bar that replaced a pizza institution pays respect to its legacy, and has an atmosphere of romance.

52 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
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Shadowboxer Bar & Kitchen


A trio of hospitality lifers is behind this smart wine bar, which is equally good for snacking as a full, sit-down dinner.

302 Toorak Road, South Yarra

Bar Margaux


Walk down the nondescript staircase and let your eyes adjust. There’s no natural light at this bistro – that’s why it’s so easy to lose track of time.

Basement 111 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Park Street Pasta & Wine


Fresh, handmade pasta rolled from the best possible ingredients is the draw at this intimate osteria.

268 Park Street, South Melbourne

Archie’s All Day


This all-day diner serves the goods any time you need.

189 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Prohibition Food and Wine


This bar is helping out with the liquor drought in sober Camberwell.

1395 Toorak Road, Camberwell
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Look up at the wall and pick a bunch of shared dishes from the day's menu. Order some wine with help from the switched-on staff. The format's simple, but as we've come to expect from Andrew McConnell's restaurants, everything is just right.

53 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
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Bellota Wine Bar


A quintessentially European dining and drinking experience.

181 Bank Street, South Melbourne
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Radio Mexico


This spot just off St Kilda Beach is one of Melbourne's original Mexican restaurants, and it's still one of its best. That's thanks to an uncompromising commitment to quality ingredients. The drinks list, which includes a handful of Margaritas, complements the fun, shareable food.

11-13 Carlisle Street, St Kilda

Bar Josephine


A welcoming space filled with craft beer and classic books.

295 Barkly Street, Footscray

Hotel Jesus


Fun, informal and always vibing.

174 Smith Street, Collingwood

Los Hermanos Mexican Taqueria


Tacos, tequila and a party atmosphere.

339 Victoria Street, Brunswick

Joe's Shoe Store


The most comfortable bar in Northcote.

233 High Street, Northcote

City Wine Shop


A bottle shop and bar that hasn't forgotten the Europe of yesteryear.

159 Spring Street, Melbourne

The Valley Cellar Door


Get to know each other over one of 230 bottles of wine.

18 18-20 Hall Street, Moonee Ponds

Uncle Joe's


Cosy booths, great drinks and genuine service to set the mood.

325 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Izakaya Den 2029


The best seats are at the bar in this subterranean Japanese restaurant.

Basement 114 Russell Street, Melbourne

The Everleigh


Skip dinner and head straight to the cocktails.

1 150-156 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
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Black Pearl


Order cocktails; have them delivered to your plush seats.

304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy



Two-parts Danish minimalist furniture store, one-part Italian wine and cocktail bar.

318 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North

Joanie's Baretto


A bar that's all about Italian aperitifs and salumi boards.

832A High Street, Thornbury

Heartattack and Vine


Eat cicchetti (Italian tapas) then head to a movie at Cinema Nova.

329 Lygon Street, Carlton

Ombra Salumi


Share a crisp wine over some aged meats.

76 Bourke St, Melbourne

Bar None


A speakeasy-style bar that's all about cocktails.

72 Auburn Parade, Camberwell

Goldy’s Tavern


This charmingly refurbed pub feels like it’s been around forever. Park yourself in the sunny, plant-filled atrium or nab a spot out front, then order a riff on the Chiko Roll, spicy mussel “schnitzels” and a Goldy’s Gaytime for dessert.

66 Gold Street, Collingwood

Date Night

These casual restaurants and bars all have excellent food and drinks, but it's the atmosphere and service that really shine – letting you focus all your energy on having a great night out with your partner. The tempos are a bit more relaxed, the music is softer and there's more of an emphasis on food.



A modern take on the classic Italian enoteca, a 50-seat wine bar with house-made pasta, hard-to-find wines and waiters clad in head-to-toe white Japanese denim in an iconic heritage-listed building.

297 Lygon Street, Carlton
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Copper Pot


A Euro-trip to take again and again.

105 Victoria Street, Seddon

Old Palm Liquor


The follow-up to Neighbourhood Wine is cool and comfortable. Take a seat at the bar or in front of an open fire and feel the tension melt off your shoulders.

133b Lygon Street, Brunswick East
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Thirty Eight Chairs South Yarra


Small, intimate and delicious.

4a Bond Street, South Yarra



Asian fusion from morning through to night.

5 Gamon Street , Seddon

Gerald’s Bar


For a quieter, less flashy date that's more about comfort.

386 Rathdowne St, Carlton North



This neighbourhood bistro and wine bar keeps going from strength to strength. Its latest incarnation, guided by the steady hands of owner co-owner Hannah Green and head chef Rosheen Kaul, is one of the best places to eat and drink in Melbourne.

60 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Tipo 00


Tipo 00 has an offering too good to refuse: carb-loaded, butter-drenched pasta.

361 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Bar Romanee


This swish bar – decked out in emerald marble and plush velvet – was once a Bakers Delight. Now, it's a buzzy bistro and wine bar from a former Fitzroy Town Hall head chef and the owner of nearby wine bar Barkley Johnson. Visit for a caramelised-onion baguette, whole fish swimming in miso butter and a peachy aperitif cocktail.

25 Anderson Street, Yarraville



Pairs a mid-century European fit-out with modern, effortless cool. Try toasties and coffee in the morning; and oysters and wine at night.

149 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Belles Hot Chicken Fitzroy


The Colonel’s got nothing on this fiery Nashville-style fried-chicken joint.

150 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Special Occasions

If you're celebrating a milestone, one of these restaurants will do the trick. The staff at these restaurants are happy to accommodate special requests – from something as simple as arranging an off-menu birthday cake to helping you orchestrate a perfect proposal.



The big gun classic in Italian dining in Melbourne.

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Vue de Monde


Some of the best dining and views in the country.

Level 55, Rialto Building 525 Collins Street, Melbourne



A bold, contemporary diner dedicated to cooking with fire and smoke, from the owner-chef of Estelle and Saint Crispin.

159 Domain Road, South Yarra
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This once-esoteric fine diner has a more approachable format under executive chef Elijah Holland. It’s serving chic, accessible food that defies any one cultural influence.

226 Coventry Street, South Melbourne

Cutler & Co.


The flagship of Andrew McConnell's restaurant empire.

55-57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
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Di Stasio Citta


Restaurateur Rinaldo Di Stasio is back in the city with an extraordinary restaurant that blends high art, high drama and high cuisine.

45 Spring Street, Melbourne
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