Going to a show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival? Whether you want food before, between or after, or drinks to keep the good times rolling, you’re spoiled for choice in the city.
Fatto Bar & Cantina
With yummy, crispy $10 pizzas and $5 Peronis, this casual Italian quickly hits the spot rather than your wallet. Fatto Bar & Cantina also has some fancier pre-theatre options: two courses for $45 or three for $55. Relax on the riverside terrace and enjoy pretty city views before strolling to your Arts Centre Melbourne show.
If you’re catching a gig at the Melbourne Town Hall, Hana is the girl next door you want to meet. Named after a winding coastal highway in Hawaii, this restaurant-bar is a tropical escape specialising in raw seafood and tiki cocktails. Think poké bowls and snapper ceviche, Hoki Beach Daiquiris and Honolua Bay Sharknados. You’ll be giggling even before the show starts!
George Calombaris’ Gazi, named for his favourite Athens neighbourhood, offers smart, fun takes on Greek classics. Pop in for a superior souva, like the soft-shelled crab version with Japanese mayo, herbs and honey, or some dips with attitude. There’s wine, both local and Greek, and crafty cocktails with a Hellenic twist to keep you primed for the next show.
Tazio Birraria & Pizzeria
Surely there’s no faster, tastier meal on the planet than pizza. Tazio Birraria & Pizzeria ticks both boxes, going the extra mile with toppings like Tassie smoked salmon and Meredith goats cheese. They have frequent specials, including $20 jugs o’ beer on Thursdays and $15 cocktails on Saturday. Saluti!
Peter Cook Bar
Only have time for a quick drink between shows? Look no further than the Peter Cook Bar, the festival’s official watering hole within its primary venue, the Melbourne Town Hall. Named for the late, great British comedian, it’s a popular spot for festival talent to chill.
Hairy Little Sista
Right next door to the Town Hall, Hairy Little Sista is also a favourite haunt for the festival’s jokers. The menu looks to Latin America for inspiration. We’re talking burgers with corn-chip-crusted chicken and salsa rojo, Mexican bowls and Mayan chocolate self-saucing pud. Keep the laughs coming with a jug of sangria.
The Festival Club
The show’s over but you’re still hungry for comedy. Get your fill at The Festival Club opposite the Town Hall, where laughs and drinks flow. There’s a mixed bag of entertainment, from comic lip-synch battles to Thursday night’s 10 hand-picked emerging comedians for $10. Big festival names also hang out here. In fact they often let it all hang out, whether on stage for unscripted, possibly X-rated stand-up, or on the dancefloor.
Nam Loong Seafood Restaurant
Chinatown’s a good bet for late-night bites. Nam Loong Seafood Restaurant is open until 1.30am, serving tasty, affordable Cantonese classics including sang choi bao and 11 types of congee. When it gets really late, maybe you’ll crave their old-school Aussie-Chinese favourites, like dim sims and special fried rice!
Melbourne Supper Club
Among the city’s classiest bars for 20 years now, the Melbourne Supper Club helps you keep things nice as the night continues. The obscure entrance leads to a wood-panelled space filled with big armchairs and couches made for settling in with drinks and snacks. It’s got one of the most impressive wine lists in town, and is open until the wee hours, so take your time.
For even more ideas, check out our guide to late-night dining.
The Melbourne International Comedy festival has also compiled its own handy own guide for dining and drinking. Head to their website, to find out about festival dining specials and more.