Must-do after dark events this winter

Prowl around after the sun goes down and see a different side of the city.

NGV Friday Nights

With a musical line-up presented by the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, this NGV Friday Nights series celebrates New York, the city that inspired the artists and their work presented in the huge MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art exhibition. Book early as tickets for these evenings of art, music, bars and dining tend to get snapped up. 15 June to 5 October.

Mont Plonk at Melbourne Public

Mont Plonk is a complete Alpine-themed takeover of Melbourne Public’s terrace, promising an authentic après-ski experience. Get snuggy with fur blankets, sheepskin rugs, and deliciously cosy fire-pits and imbibe amaretto injected mulled wine, alcoholic hot chocolate and signature warming cocktails. Go the whole hog with cheese fondues and Bratwurst sausages. At South Wharf from 28 June to 26 August.

Four people dressed up in fur hats and winter clothes drinking shots off a ski

Mont Plonk at Melbourne Public

Nocturnal

Definitely an event for adults-only, Nocturnal takes over the Melbourne Museum on the first Friday night of the month. With a sharp line-up of local bands and DJs playing in front of the eerily lit Forest Gallery, along with bars, food stalls and surprising pop-ups, plus roving talks and demonstrations from museum curators, this is one night at the museum you don’t want to miss.

People walking past a big skeleton of a whale at an event in a museum at night

Nocturnal at Melbourne Museum Photo: Daniel Mahon

Wonderland Late Nights

Things get curiouser and curiouser over at ACMI on the last Friday of each month with Wonderland Late Nights. Go down the rabbit hole as Australia’s leading and emerging musicians, electronic performers, VJs and DJs set the scene for you to explore the intriguing (Alice in) Wonderland exhibition. Dress ups encouraged. Until 5 October.

Docklands’ Firelight Festival

The opening weekend of the Docklands’ Firelight Festival (Friday 29 June to Sunday 1 July) will reflect the traditions of the Winter Solstice, bringing together art, food and feasting, music, fire and light in a weekend of family-friendly celebrations. A month-long program follows, featuring long-table dining experiences, progressive dinners inspired by fire and smoke, and live music throughout the precinct.

A person holding up a sign shaped like a sun in front of a huge crowd of people at night

Docklands Firelight Festival

MIFF Festival Lounge

Not just for film fanciers, the Melbourne International Film Festival’s official hub can be found in the spectacular environs of downstairs at the Forum Theatre. Luxe booths, table seating and great food, plus coffee and cocktails are on offer, alongside a program of free film-related events and music. With a red carpet photo wall often set up in the foyer, you never know who you might spot heading to a film premiere. Come in from the cold to debrief about the film you just saw or meet friends for a pre-screening vino. From 2 to 19 August.

A group of people talking and drinking at a bar inside an old theatre

Melbourne International Film Festival

Fire Garden Pop-Up on the Lawn at Common Man

Head down to South Wharf this winter, where Common Man’s fire garden on the lawn highlights all the things to love about this time of year. The bar’s riverside space will host live music and entertainment, beer sessions, specialty tastings and a bespoke menu highlighting smoked meat and rotisserie. Gather round the fire pit for toasted marshmallows, whiskey flights and mulled wines. It opens Friday 1 June and runs until Sunday 30 September.

An outdoor bar with a airstream trailer as a beer bar, and a heater with flames

Common Man’s pop-up fire garden on the lawn

Progressive dinners at South Wharf

No need to choose just one of South Wharf’s exceptional restaurants when you can go to five in one night as part of a South Wharf Progressive Dinner. You’ll be welcomed with a glass of champagne on arrival, before embarking on an adventure filled with seasonal fare and plentiful vegetarian options, taking in riverside views of the Melbourne skyline. South Wharf Promenade, 25 July to 22 August.

Live Latin music and performances at Vamos

Tucked upstairs on Little Bourke Street behind the Princess Theatre, Vamos is a very Melbourne take on a traditional Latin American and Spanish tapas bar and restaurant. Winter specials include mulled wine with a mouthwatering Black Angus brisket on potato mash or pork belly with beetroot puree. Live music and performances are on every night the venue is open.

Every Sunday evening there’s a Spanish Flamenco performance, with an instrumental set from guitarist Alejandro Florez at 7.30pm, then Flamenco dancer Aya Kitaoji performs at 8.45pm. Vamos is open Wednesday to Sunday, 5pm to 11pm.

A woman mixing a cocktail at a bar

Vamos