The best of summer that's still happening in March

As they say in Westeros, winter is coming, but Melbourne hasn’t settled in for footy and fireside mulled wine just yet. From alfresco films to cool drinks by the water, hold onto summer’s good times for another month at least.

NGV Friday Nights

Experience the summer’s blockbuster exhibition, Escher X nendo | Between Two Worlds, with added beats, bites and booze at NGV Friday Nights. Check out the line-up of guest DJs and live music, including Confidence Man and Wax’O Paradiso. Plus the nightly Bach X Reimagined, which brings together Australian composers and performing artists to radically reinterpret Escher’s favourite composer. Until 5 April.

An outdoor garden at night with bright fairy lights hanging from the trees

NGV Friday Nights

Arbory Afloat

A Mediterranean-inspired alfresco haven of beachy stripes and potted orange trees, Arbory Afloat is perfect for sunny afternoons deep into autumn. This buoyant bar’s food also has Med class: think lobster spaghetti and caprese salad. Drinks chase the sun, from Prosecco to watermelon sangria. Order like you’re on holiday and watch the day drift by.

A long bar on the water with red and white umbrellas

Arbory Afloat

Adelphi Hotel Rooftop Gin Sessions

The cantilevered, glass-bottomed swimming pool peeping over Flinders Lane is the centrepiece of the Adelphi Hotel Rooftop Gin Sessions. The city views are also pretty cool at this space usually reserved for hotel guests, and then of course there’s the gin. Enjoy cocktails by Four Pillars distillery and Moorish snacks from Om Nom Kitchen downstairs on Thursday and Friday evenings until 29 March.

Spritz and Snack Party

Based in some historic Federation Wharf vaults, Pilgrim Bar’s really all about what happens out the front, by the river, alfresco-style. Which is why it’s a great place to be when the weather’s fine, especially during a Saturday afternoon Spritz and Snack Party. For $25 you get a spritz on arrival, classy Aussie snacks like wallaby tartare and outback curry bean dip, and homegrown DJs. These sessions hold onto summer’s good times until 6 April.

Open Air Trivia

Pub trivia is an awesome way to escape winter’s chill, but even better outdoors on balmy evenings by the water. Gather your brainiest buddies, put on your thinking caps and get down to Open Air Trivia on Tuesdays until 26 March. Specials include $10 frozé, $28 jugs of sangria and, of course, classic parmas with a bottle of Coopers for $20.

Summer Night Market

International street food, cool drinks, 100-plus curated stalls, live entertainment and party lights. All good reasons why the Summer Night Market is Melbourne’s Wednesday evening summer essential – right through until 20 March! This season’s tasty new traders include Colombiantojos for traditional Colombian treats, and The Garden Bar, where tipples include the Cider Mojito.

A wide path with market stalls on either side

The summer night market

Moonlight Cinema

An instant summer classic when it began 20+ years ago, Moonlight Cinema is so popular it continues until the end of March. The alfresco film experience perfected, it has a licensed bar and catering on-site, and bean beds for hire (but get in quick!). You can BYO of course, from cushions to Champagne, and friendly four-legged guests are welcome too.


Nothing says summer more than outdoor cinema, but QV’s Flick/Fest sessions on Thursday to Sunday evenings keep saying it until 24 March. They are nicely priced too, so you can spend the savings at Scrolls Ice-cream or the Prosecco Van (including $10 themed cocktails!). Or maybe even on dinner before at one of the restaurants a few steps away. Get along for some movie gold, from cult classics to Hollywood blockbusters.

An outdoor cinema at night

QV Outdoor Cinema

Rooftop Cinema

One of Melbourne’s first sky-high movie venues, Rooftop Cinema pays homage to classic Art Deco drive-in design. As always there are stunning city views, a bar, burger shack and deckchairs for everyone. And of course cool films for hot nights right through until 31 March – so the blankets for hire might be handy.