- Date Night -

story by  Jemima Lewis


Our capital cities are home to some of the finest establishments in the world, but sometimes committing to a spot to take your loved one, or a potential suitor, can be a daunting task. We’ve narrowed down some of our favourite date night, or day, spots for you city dwellers, to take the hassle out of your next adventure. 



Long lunch | Stokehouse

It's been a long wait, three years to be exact, but Stokehouse has returned home and hasn't disappointed. A Melbourne iconic restaurant and bar is perfect for a long lunch possibly for discussing wedding plans. You may even have other motives trialling the food and drink as it's on your list of venues you love. Dining in a designer dressed room by Pascale Gomes-McNabbthe, it has a laid-back style with a menu that complements its surrounds. With Port Phillip Bay as your backdrop whether its warm or cold outside you can settle in and simply enjoy!

Fun Night Out | Holey Moley

With a tag line ‘No Iffs, No Putts’,  you can tell this place is a hole-­in-one. Brought to you by the team behind Strike Bowling, Holey Moley Golf Club on Little Bourke Street is a mini golf course and bar that turns traditional putt putt into a multi-­sensory labyrinth of unique holes that’ll keep you and your date on your toes across the craziest round of golf you’ve ever played.

A little healthy competition can bring out the best – or worst – in couples, so enter with caution! Even if you do have a little lovers' tiff, you can always lick your wounds with some delicious pizza snacks, or a couple of stiff drinks at the Caddyshack Bar!


Drinks | Misery Guts, St Kilda

The name might scare any first date off, but once you get them through the door your date will be in love with this St Kilda bar.

Owned and run by one of the most stylish and cool women you’ll ever come across, Misery Guts is a cosy neighbourhood gem just off Fitzroy Street fitted out with 80s inspired furnishings, awesome artwork and a cocktail list that is the gift that keeps on giving. Give the Gin Martini a crack if you want to knock your (or your date’s) socks off, otherwise the Bloody Mary with giant pickle included (which you can also buy for a measly $1 straight from the jar should your tummy grumble) on a sunny Sunday afternoon goes down a real treat, especially when Jules opens up the big bay windows allowing some eclectic people-­watching.

Misery loves company after all, and we love Misery (Guts)!


Inside out | Howler, Brunswick

It’s hard to imagine Melbourne nightlife without Brunswick’s Howler Bar, but it’s only been on the scene for a few years. In that short time, this multi-functional, multifaceted arts hub and bar has cemented its position as a true Melbourne stalwart.

Howler offers a huge greenhouse-inspired beer garden and auditorium-­style band room, where the view is spot on from any point in the room. It's a true northside gem so wear your best Adidas trackpants and hipster vintage shirt. Don’t let the alternative crowd intimidate you, because the best thing about Howler is that it's always got something going on. If you’re a bit tight on funds, they do a bang for your buck $12 burger, beer AND fries night on Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

There is always cool local or international act playing on any given night of the week. Check online for announcements – good vibes guaranteed.


Movie night | Coburg Drive In

If it ain’t broke, why fix it? We’ve never met someone that doesn’t love the movies, and if they didn’t love movies then we wouldn’t trust them. However, real deal drive ins are far and few between these days, with only two still running in Victoria! Coburg Drive In makes up for this being the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere.

With three functioning screens, it sticks to tradition with a funky American-­inspired diner whilst keeping up to date with latest movie releases. Side note: bonus date points if you pick your partner up in a fun ride.



Designer Digs | The Dolphin


The décor makes you feel like you’ve gone through an artistic time warp while the modern Italian menu is fresh and inspiring. The Dolphin Hotel is owned and run by Maurice Tsezini, a Sydney dining stalwart (Icebergs) who recruited Sydney architect George Livissianis to channel Keith Haring and Christo through twine, calico and rope finishings nestled amongst paint splatters and whitewash.

It was the place to be this past summer, and we’re sure that winter will be just the same for The Dolphin so unless you’re chasing a house party vibe for your date night, head here for lunch and munch on some ‘proper sandwiches’ – guaranteed, these are legit and frequently sell out, so get in early.

Harbour ride | Taronga Zoo (strictly via Ferry)

It wouldn’t be a date in Sydney without incorporating the water and scenery that only one of the most beautiful cities in the world has to offer. Go one better and add animals to the mix and you’ve secured yourself the dream date – sounds challenging but fortunately, it’s a very easy one to score.

The award-­winning Taronga Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals, not only Australian native wildlife, but endangered and rare species too. Best of all, the best way to get there is via the Mosman ferry – just a 12 minute ride from Circular Quay – and it’s a knockout view from the bay going in. The zoo also offers a chairlift ride from bottom to top, and if you’ve got some cash to splash and really love camping, you can purchase Roar and Snore package to stay overnight!



Fine Dining with views | Bennelong

Iconic harbour views, historic homage, innovative Australian dining, and renowned chefs – this is an idyllic spot to take someone very special. Bennelong, a part of the Fink Group’s spectacular ventures, sits nestled amongst Sydney Harbour’s Opera House, and boasts some of the finest dining in the country.

Brush up on your local architecture knowledge and impress your date, or let the food and views do the talking for you.


Casual brew up | Young Henry’s Tasting Bar Newtown

Good beer, good music, good times – that’s how Young Henry’s describe their Tasting Bar in Newtown, and they’re not wrong when it comes to their opinion on themselves.

Located in Sydney’s artsy Newtown precinct, Young Henry’s are a relatively new brewer to the block, but their age in operation has proven no bounds.

Sample one of the six beer taps or two hand pumps (or all of them, if you dare) whilst enjoying the graffiti-grunge atmosphere pumping with local bands, DJs and artistic performers on any given weekend day.

They don’t have their own kitchen, but they don’t need it, as the city’s most famous food trucks park out the front for a variety of snacking experiences. Perfect for a couple of day drinks in the sun, Young Henry’s will impress all beer connoisseurs, and even the non-­beer-­drinker too.



City Views | Bar Otto

If you’re not completely distracted by the Les Danseuses fans, sourced from the 2015 Venice Biennale, hanging from the ceilings at Otto, then you’ll most certainly be impressed by the dining view overlooking Storey Bridge.

The Sydney-based Fink Group has finally ventured into Brisbane with Otto, and they’ve blown it out of the park – or bay – with the magenta fans costing $9,000 a pop!

Enjoy modern Italian that captures the essence of occasion and place, amongst bursts of bright yellow and blue. Otto is certainly something special, so grab your loved one and enjoy the ride.


Sunset Paddle | Riverlife Brisbane

Winter in Queensland doesn’t translate to inhabitable outdoor adventures like the southern states, so why not make the most of Brisbane’s golden sunset hour from a different point of view?

Riverlife is Brisbane’s standout lifestyle and entertainment venue, located right on the river in the CBD, and it’s constantly updating and improving list of activities is made for date night options with a hint of adventure.

One of their most recent additions is the Sunset Paddle. Take your own pace through a 90 minute illuminated kayak journey along the twists and turns of the romantic Brisbane River. Stop for some snaps before pulling back to shore for a feasting platter complete with a selection of local beer and wine.

River romance – tick! Calorie-­burning – tick! Skill-­bragging – tick!


Staycation | Tryp Hotel

Staying in is the new going out, but when it comes to impressive hotel vibes, this place is a real trip – or trype.

Brisbane may not be famous for indie-­cool, but the recently opened Trype Hotel offers its visitors the ultimate urban accommodation experience. Treat your King or Queen like the royalty they are through Trype’s philosophy of ‘Owning The City’ with each stay.

Located in Fortitude Valley on the fringe of the city’s entertainment hub, there is plenty to do and see however the option of staying in, dining in the impressive hotel restaurant and enjoying the  architecture all curated by local artists is a just as good option.


Cultural Appreciation | GOMA

  Pictured: Exhibition by Yayoi Kusama­ 'The Obliteration Room’ at GOMA Brisbane

Pictured: Exhibition by Yayoi Kusama­ 'The Obliteration Room’ at GOMA Brisbane

The Queensland Art Gallery, more fondly known as Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is one of the most impressive galleries in Australia; constantly churning out interesting, relevant and exclusive exhibitions for young and old alike, holding a collection of over 17,000 works of art at any given time.

Located across two adjacent riverside buildings in South Bank, even if you’re not a history or art buff, it’s a fantastic place to hang out, learn something new, and appreciate the wonders of classic and modern art forms from around the globe.


The Golden Pig Cooking School

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had an argument or passive aggressive conversation about who’s cooking dinner? Now that’s settled – let us offer you a solution.

The Golden Pig is a Brisbane institution that not only smashes it as a restaurant, café and function venue, but also offers a wide variety of four hour cooking classes for all kinds of foodies.

Learn the basics of pizza and pasta essentials, or go top to tail with butcher extraordinare Chris Luxton for an afternoon of butchery – where you’ll be butchering a whole pig and cook up a feast using different cuts (not for the faint hearted; probably not vegetarians either).

There’s also a really great BBQ-ing option for the blokey blokes out there, who think  standing next to the flame sipping a cold beer and clicking the tongs together every two minutes is the epitome of fine dining.

Don’t limit yourself to a typical meal cooking class – there’s also pastry and bread making, cake decorating, wine tasting and food tour options available through this one-­stop-­shop of a venue.

Bon Appetit!




C Restaurant

Take your date sky high – literally – at Western Australia’s only revolving restaurant.

C Restaurant is located on the 33rd floor of St George’s Tower, and prides itself on a locally sourced menu combining classic European and modern Australian cuisine with beautiful beverage pairings. Although the sun set views is one of epic proportions, C Restaurant also do a fabulous High Tea package for a beautiful afternoon delight.

It takes just 90 minutes to complete a stunning 360-­‐degree panoramic view of the city, but why limit yourselves to just one? Take your time and enjoy the view.


High rolling | Crown Towers

It's a multi faceted all in one place kind of date. Crown Towers Perth, with its expansive lagoon-style pool set to perfect temperature is the ideal place to lounge. It is Perth's newest luxury hotel, which already includes the Crown Metropol and Crown Promenade hotels. 

Treat yourself with a visit to the day spa with hammam-style steam rooms then move onto dinner at one of the many restaurants on offer within the Crown complex  including Nobu, Bistro Guillaume and Rockpool Bar & Grill.


Beachside | Sets on the Beach

Combine one of the best stretches of beach in the country, with impressive international and national acts and a heaving atmosphere – and you’ve got Scarborough’s Sets on the Beach, and the pun is totally intended.

Situated amongst the picturesque Scarborough Beach, Sets on the Beach is a series of bespoke parties that happens over the warmer months. With a focus on solid production, carefully curated line-­ups, and beach-­cool styling – think inflatables, sun lounges and custom cocktail lists -  you’ve got yourself a perfect Saturday afternoon date.

You’ll have to keep an eye out for announcements and dates, but Sets On The Beach is well worth the wait.


Trivia Thursday’s |  The Local Hotel

Supporting your local has never been easier, thanks to The Local. And what better way to impress the pants off a date with some useless general knowledge?

The Local Hotel is a recently renovated public bar, casual diner and whiskey bar that hosts a wicked Thursday night trivia session, complete with a beachy clean cosy atmosphere – fireplaces included for the perfect post-­trivia cuddle.

If trivia isn’t your thing, they’ve also just recently established the ‘Local Garage Pop Up Bar’ – a converted drive-­through bottle shop and beer garden bar, open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings that plays host to a variety of local food trucks on Sunday afternoons.

The Local have also released eight boutique pub rooms perfect if you've accidentally had too much to drink and need to stay the night, or a calculated sleepover too! With names like The Snug Room, The Elephant Room & Dessert Sessions, each room is individually styled for personality fit, with beautiful views to boot.


Chilled | The Yoga Vine

Get in touch with your metaphysical side at The Yoga Vine. The Yoga Vine is a boutique yoga studio located in the heart of the CBD that offers a variety of classes and event programs seven days a week.

If you’re relatively new to yoga, try the Yin by Candlelight class and pop out for a wine afterwards – after all, life is about balance, right?

If you’re a seasoned Yogi, keep your eyes peeled on their website for upcoming events, such as the Karijini Cultural Retreat program, a four day cultural experience for those wanting to get in touch with the land, and their other half, through yoga.


Starry Night |  Perth Observatory

Living a busy city life typically means a lack of star sighting opportunities, but the country’s oldest continuously operating professional observatory and Western Australia's premier astronomical institution can be the cure to your night time ail.

Located 25km east of Perth, the Observatory has been operating for 119 years and is a great off-­the-­beaten-­track date idea. There’s the option to do your own thing, or if you’d rather someone else take the reins, they offer many tour options, including a Star Adoption tour if you feel the need to buy your date a serious piece of memorabilia.

Check their sun and moon calendar before locking in a visit, and let the Perth Observatory be the gateway to the universe for you and your partner.