Words by Nikeetha Gamage Art by Hayley Sinnatt
Coffee at the same old café, movies at the same old cinema or dinner at the same old restaurant. It’s easy to be unimaginative when it comes to deciding where to go on a date. Why not do something different for that guy you matched with on Tinder, that cutie you’ve been crushing on for what feels like forever or your long-term lover? I have compiled a list of the best date spots, ideas and activities in Melbourne to spice up your next date!
The Astor Theatre – St Kilda
The last of its kind operating in Melbourne, the Astor Theatre is a classic, single-screen cinema that upholds the rare tradition of showing two movies for the price of one. It has been renovated since its 1936 opening, but still retains its traditional two-level auditorium design and grand golden curtains that part in the middle. A Melbourne landmark listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, the Astor Theatre is renowned for playing cinematic classics, cult favourites and select new releases, perfect for dates who are cultured and artistic. So if you DO decide to go to the movies for your next date, go all out with the Astor Theatre rather than your run-of-the-mill cinema.
Coburg Drive-In – Coburg North
Another member of the endangered cinema species are drive-in movie theatres. The Coburg Drive-In boasts the widest screen in the Southern Hemisphere and provides much needed snacks with its ever-popular Half Moon Café and ‘50s style diner. Enjoy the night sky and huge outdoor screen for some old-fashioned movie fun with your date. What’s more vintage and dreamier than a drive-in cinema anyway?
Rooftop Bar – Melbourne
Located in the heart and heart of Melbourne, the Rooftop Bar is seven flights at the top of the Curtin House. It has a full bar, live music, heated outdoor seating and food that is available at the Burger Shack, which is vegetarian-friendly as well. With metallic overhangs that light up at night with glowing neon rings, the Rooftop Bar is an ideal place for a first date and its relaxed environment will also calm your nerves. And what can beat its impressive view of Melbourne?
Gelato Messina – Fitzroy/Richmond
Have a sweet tooth? You really cannot go wrong with Gelato Messina! The gelato joint prides over 35 fixed flavours and five rotating weekly specials, all of which are produced by unique recipes and ingredients created in-house. Nothing has pre-made bases or mass-produced flavour pastes in them, and there are also vegan and gluten-free options. So if you know your date is a bit of a food snob, which is not hard to find in Melbourne, bring them to Messina. Enjoy lip-smacking flavours like white chocolate hazelnut and pistachio praline while hopefully getting some lip-smacking in with your date.
Pizza in the Park – Windsor
There are not many date ideas that are cuter than a picnic. Small Print Pizza Bar revamps this idea with their Pizza in the Park service. During the summer months, order one of their pizzas and then take a numbered flag and picnic rug to Windsor’s Victoria Gardens. Small Print Pizza Bar then brings the pizza to you, so you can bask in the summer sun, enjoy good food and relaxed conversation with your date, not to mention there are dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Pizza in the Park is a perfect idea for first dates because it is simple and casual, and who doesn’t love pizza?.
O’Brien Icehouse – Docklands
Take a break from quiet, inactive dates and do something lively and mobile with O’Brien Icehouse: a world-class ice sports and entertainment venue that has two Olympic-sized ice rinks. Play out classic rom-com scenes with some obligatory hand-holding and goofy ice-skating-there is always the St Moritz Bar or Igloo Café if either one of you is feeling hungry later on. Although the Icehouse is kept at a frosty 16°C, if your date heats up later on, you can always re-enact Rose and Jack’s ‘I’m Flying’ scene from The Titanic.
Hardrock Climbing in Melbourne
If you and your date are the athletic, active types, another energetic date option is rock-climbing! Hardrock Climbing offers this chalky sport, as well as floor-to-ceiling views of Swanston Street and its multiple intersections. Don’t worry about falling or not having enough experience, because an automated cable system will catch you and instructors will guide you along the way. And don’t be concerned about embarrassing yourself in front of your date, because it’s actually a great way of showing you are not afraid of trying new things. And it will enlighten them on how you are supple and flexible (wink wink) in ways they may not have realised.
Salsa Foundation in Melbourne
For those who love to dance or perhaps want to be put on a brave face and impress their date with some new moves, try the Salsa Foundation! Get your boogie on with free Salsa classes for beginners on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Not a Salsa fan? There’s also Bachata, Zouk and Reggaetón. Break the awkward silences of first dates or the routine predictability of date night with something sexy and adrenaline-rushing. Just try not to step on their toes.