New places to drink, dine and shop at Christmas

From finding the perfect present to enjoying a perfect night out, keep the festive season fresh at Melbourne’s hottest new destinations. Check out our hit list that will put you ahead of the pack.

New night-time hot spots

Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq

Six bowling lanes, 67 arcade and ticket games, an XD theatre and dodgems. Indulgent fairground comfort food like hot dogs and waffle fries, and cocktails that are boozy and bright. If this sounds like the right grown-up playground for your reindeer games, check out Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq in Docklands.

Archie Brothers Cirque Electric

Cheek

The guys behind Preston’s slow-smoked barbecue joint, Dexter, have just opened a CBD outpost that’s made for lingering well into the night. Cheek’s menu is inspired by American, Chinese and Korean barbecue, and the drinks list is meat ‘n’ spice friendly. A quick cocktail and pork cheek could evolve into a whole baby snapper and a bottle or two with your Christmas crew.

Geddes Lane Ballroom

A pop-up venue in a 170-year-old bluestone building is helping King Street get its groove back. Geddes Lane Ballroom has live bands upstairs, cranking out the tunes through a world-class PA system. Downstairs, there are A-grade drinks and snacks by the Vue de Monde team (and remnants of this building’s previous strip club incarnation!). Tap into the fresh vibe of the city’s west end this holiday season.

Red Piggy

Melbourne loves living it up on a rooftop, so here’s a new one for your Christmas wish list. Red Piggy’s South-East Asian fusion menu is designed for sharing with friends and drinks (including exotic crafty cocktails) into the wee hours. Stellar central city views, festoon lights and an 11-metre hanging wall garden are the icing on this tropical cake.

Red Piggy

Top Yard Rooftop Bar

Burgers, beers and beats. What more could you want? How about all sorts of other drinks, like Australiana-themed cocktails, decor inspired by classic Aussie backyards, outdoor cinema and 360-degree views? Top Yard Rooftop Bar has got everything you need to kick back during the silly season, including a Not Cho’ Cheese burger. It covers all the holiday food groups, even corn chips!

Riverside Garden Pop-Up

Common Man’s outdoor area has been transformed into the Riverside Garden Pop-Up once again for another summer of alfresco fun. Its AstroTurf, white picket fence, container bars, barbecue and awesome Docklands backdrop of river and city skyline is perfect Christmas tipple territory.

The Common Man’s Riverside Garden Pop-up

State of Grace

Former Collins Street favourite State of Grace has been resurrected on King Street with a mix of chandeliered splendour and speakeasy eccentricity. If you’re hungry try the dining room’s smart-casual Euro dishes. Thirsty? Discover basement bar Fall from Grace hidden behind a sliding bookcase, and work through a cocktail list worthy of The Great Gatsby. The news gets better: a rooftop bar is also opening this summer!

A bookcase  next to a door in a bar

Fall from Grace, the basement bar behind a sliding bookcase at State of Grace

New foodie hot spots

King and Godfree

Established in 1884, and in the same Italian family since 1955, Carlton gourmet grocery King and Godfree has undergone a major transformation, and has just reopened. Downstairs, the K & G Espresso Bar offers coffee and all-day dining, while the deli does a brisk trade in the finest cheeses, salumi and imported Italian stables  pasta, extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar), an exclusive foodie selection created in collaboration with local producers, and take home meals including lasagne and fresh pasta sauces. S Upstairs is stunning 360 degree views at the newly opened rooftop-bar, Johnny’s Green Room. Agostin0, a wine bar, shop and cellar, is due to open shortly.

Lune

Fitzroy’s legendary croissanterie has expanded, so now you can get your fix – or indulgent gift card – in the CBD. It’s strictly standing room only, but who cares about seats when you can eat some of Melbourne’s most celebrated pastries? Get yourself a Lune Yuletide treat, from almond or ham and gruyère cheese croissants to lemon-curd cruffins and pain au chocolat. The Paris End of Collins Street never tasted so good!

Che Desserts Australia

Have you tried chè? It’s a catch-all term for Vietnamese sweet drinks, dessert soups and puddings, loaded with yummy things like coconut, pandan and tapioca pearls. You don’t need to fly to Hanoi for a taste, because Che Desserts Australia is now open on Lonsdale Street. Nice!

New shopping hot spots

Timbuk2

San Francisco’s coolest bag brand has landed in Melbourne. Whether you need a Christmas shopping tote bag or luggage for a getaway, Timbuk2 has got something stylish, durable and environmentally friendly. Made with urban adventurers in mind, the diverse range, from backpacks to laptop briefcases, is also great for gifts.

Toms

Want to get a gorgeous, practical present for everyone on your list while helping those in need with every purchase? It’s easy at Toms. Buy their casual footwear, sunglasses and bags for men, women and kids and they will take care of the rest. Toms works with more than 100 organisations around the world to provide shoes, sight, safe birth and bullying prevention programs.

TOMS