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New year, new aperitivo hour rituals to embrace in Melbourne and beyond

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New year, new aperitivo hour rituals to embrace in Melbourne and beyond

As we usher in 2023, spur-of-the-moment cocktails and fabulous dressing are two of the most exciting prospects for the remainder of your summer break. And while your aperitivo plans should be spontaneous, having a repertoire of ideal venues in mind is always useful knowledge. Being the ‘one in the know’ is our kind of New Year’s resolution.

Convening with loved-ones and friends is best done on beautiful backdrops, replete with crisp wines and decadent share plates. And with a wardrobe filled with technicolour, high-summer staples from Harrolds, you’ll have an outfit ready to go for impulsive happy hour plans all holiday long. Take a hiatus from the hustle and live a life of leisure with our destination drinking guide (and what to wear to each winning venue). Salute!

Convening with loved-ones and friends is best done on beautiful backdrops

Portsea Hotel

​3746 Point Nepean Rd, Portsea VIC 3944

​Open Wednesday – Monday, 11:30am – late

Whether you’re sojourning on the Peninsula for a week or dropping in for some daytime dalliances, The Portsea Hotel is an idyllic go-to for a cocktail before sunset. Park yourself on its picturesque terraces and gaze across the sparkling bay waters (with a different kind of sparkling in hand). January 2023 will also play host to Live Music Month, showcasing local artists and performers every afternoon throughout the month (and free entry). Plan ahead or prepare for a serendipitous sun-soaked visit to Portsea Hotel, where musical serenades and sublime bites and bliss memories are guaranteed.

Neighbourhood Wine

​1 Reid St, Fitzroy North VIC 3068

An inner-North gem, Neighbourhood Wine creates European food with seasonal produce and a wine list that leans into minimal intervention and lo-fi tactics. Pet Nat, anyone? For those looking to sip liquid gold at golden hour, there’s no going past a seat at the venue’s open-air, street-side parklet.

Chancery Lane

​430 Little Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000

​Opening Hours: Lunch: Tuesday – Friday 12pm-late Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday 6pm — late

Meander through Le Jardin before halting for happy hour in Chancery Lane’s dreamy outdoor courtyard. With walk-ins available, a spontaneous $15 glass of Laurent-Perrier knockoff is the ultimate primer for a good night. Pair with perfect $3 Southern Rock oysters, cauliflower croquettes, pissaladière, pommes frites and charcuterie plate to live out your Parisian summer fantasies in the heart of Melbourne.

Grossi Cellar Bar

​80 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000

​Open Monday – Saturday, 8am — late

For a quality plate of pasta and a decadent wine pouring, look no further than the intimate and charming Grossi Cellar Bar. Teeming with character (but set in a relaxed, casual dining backdrop) Cellar Bar takes inspiration from Grossi’s Italian heritage to serve exquisite regional and traditional recipes. Embrace an Italian-inspired menu, sip a delicious vino and sun yourself in front of the iconic Bourke Street establishment, alfresco style.

TarraWarra Estate

311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Yarra Glen 3775

For the picnic experience, plan Saturdays and Sunday stints, from 11:30am-4pm.

A vineyard date day is just the EOY treat you deserve. Dress in billowing silhouettes and lounge on TarraWarra’s sun-dappled outdoor deck for a stunning afternoon of wine and cocktails. Or if you’re planning a surprise for someone special, opt in for a new premium picnic pack offering on the lawn. With no bookings required, you can live in the moment and embark on your TarraWarra picnic at the drop of a hat. For $80, indulge in a two-person trove of cheeses, salami, beetroot dip, olives, nuts, pickled veggies, lavosh and bread. Recline, unwind and quaff beautiful wines with your lover — what better way to spend a midsummer Sunday afternoon. There’s also a $130 option that takes the fare up a notch, including anchovies, terrine and more boujee additions.

Matilda 159 Domain

​159 Domain Rd, South Yarra VIC 3141

​Opening Hours: Brunch: Friday–Sunday 8:30am–3pm, Lunch: 12pm–2:30pm, Thursday–Sunday, Monday–Wednesday opening from 5th December Dinner 6pm–late, seven days

As the thermometer rises, Matilda is offering guests a range of ultra-refreshing drinks specials for a darling aperitivo jaunt in the sunshine. This happy hour features Scott Pickett’s Crisp Lager, a classic gin and tonic and a 2015 Sidewood Chloe Cuvée sparkling, ready to recalibrate you for whatever the evening holds ahead. Pair your drinks with a selection of signature snacks, starting from $10, like luscious mount zero olives, Comte custard with finger lime and sourdough, or half a dozen Merimbula ​single origin oysters. It would be rude not to…

The Continental Sorrento

​1-21 Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento, VIC, 3943 ​

​Open Monday-Sunday, 12pm-late

With far-stretching vistas of Port Phillip Bay and a meticulously-restored limestone building from 1875, The Conti stays true to its legacy as a laissez-faire and vibrant destination for locals and holidaymakers alike. For your afternoon layover, the Promenade’s all-day street-side dining is an essential. Breathe in the uplifting seaside air as you enjoy Chef Restaurateur Scott Pickett’s take on classic Australian pub fare with a contemporary twist. Oh! And a cheeky Spicy Margarita to accessorise, naturally.

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