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

Bar

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

Level 1 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Neptune Food & Wine

Bar

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

212 High Street, Windsor

Bomba

Restaurant

Tapas on a rooftop, with vermouth on tap and killer city views.

103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Lay Low Bar

Bar

The lights are low and the cocktails are good.

93 Buckley Street, Seddon
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Leonardo’s Pizza Palace

Bar

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

29 Grattan Street, Carlton

Bar Romantica

Restaurant

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

Bar

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
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Bar Margaux

Restaurant

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

Restaurant

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

268 Park Street, South Melbourne
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Archie’s All Day

Cafe

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

189 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Prohibition Food and Wine

Bar

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

1395 Toorak Road, Camberwell
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Marion

Bar

A place for serious grape lovers.

53 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
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Bellota Wine Bar

Bar

A quintessentially European dining and drinking experience.

181 Bank Street, South Melbourne
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Radio Mexico

Restaurant

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

Bar

A welcoming space filled with craft beer and classic books.

295 Barkly Street, Footscray

Hotel Jesus

Restaurant

Fun, informal and always vibing.

174 Smith Street, Collingwood

Los Hermanos Mexican Taqueria

Restaurant

Tacos, tequila and a party atmosphere.

339 Victoria Street, Brunswick
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Joe's Shoe Store

Bar

The most comfortable bar in Northcote.

233 High Street, Northcote

City Wine Shop

Bar

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

159 Spring Street, Melbourne
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The Valley Cellar Door

Shop

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

18 18-20 Hall Street, Moonee Ponds

Uncle Joe's

Bar

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

325 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Izakaya Den 2029

Restaurant

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

Basement 114 Russell Street, Melbourne

The Everleigh

Bar

Skip dinner and head straight to the cocktails.

1 150-156 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
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Black Pearl

Bar

Order cocktails; have them delivered to your plush seats.

304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

LongPlay

Bar

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

318 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North
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Joanie's Baretto

Bar

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

832A High Street, Thornbury

Heartattack and Vine

Restaurant

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

329 Lygon Street, Carlton

Ombra Salumi

Restaurant

Share a crisp wine over some aged meats.

76 Bourke St, Melbourne
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Bar None

Bar

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

72 Auburn Parade, Camberwell

Goldy's Tavern

Bar

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. Plus, very Aussie cocktails such as the Bloody Oath and Bob’s Your Uncle, and weekly pool comps.

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.

Agostino

Bar

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

Restaurant

A Euro-trip to take again and again.

105 Victoria Street, Seddon

Old Palm Liquor

Bar

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

Thirty Eight Chairs South Yarra

Restaurant

Small, intimate and delicious.

4a Bond Street, South Yarra

Luxsmith

Cafe

Asian fusion from morning through to night.

5 Gamon Street , Seddon

Gerald's Bar

Bar

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

386 Rathdowne St, Carlton North

Etta

Restaurant

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
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Tipo 00

Restaurant

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

361 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Amarillo

Bar

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

Bar Romanee

Restaurant

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

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.

Florentino

Restaurant

The big gun classic in Italian dining in Melbourne.

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Vue de Monde

Restaurant

Some of the best dining and views in the country.

Level 55, Rialto Building 525 Collins Street, Melbourne

Matilda

Restaurant

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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Lûmé

Restaurant

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.

Restaurant

The flagship of Andrew McConnell's restaurant empire.

55-57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
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Di Stasio Citta

Restaurant

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

35 Spring Street, Melbourne
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