Halloween and The Day of the Dead Hit Melbourne

SkullThis time last year, all the thoughts were on racing with barely a hat tip in Halloween’s direction but this year it seems that Melbournes’ bars have done an about turn and have fully embraced their dark side with day of the dead shenanigans galore. From dive bars to tequila joints to chocolate surprises, Melbourne is donning it’s costumes and capes and getting ready to show off it’s spooky self.

Northside Nightterrors

Catfish Bar (30-32 Gertrude St, Fitzroy) – Starting at 7pm in the upstairs bar at The Catfish there will be 3 One off Halloween themed kegs from Dainton, Exit and Kauji! Dressing up is highly encouraged as door prizes will be awarded on the night and the BEST DRESSED will receive a free brew day with Dan Dainton at the soon to be complete Dainton Family Brewery.

Two Row Bar (351 Smith Street, Fitzroy) – Two Row are putting on 5 Halloween inspired taps as well as goodie bags, treats, tricks and prizes for great costumes! The party will kick off at 2pm and spook on through til close… $30 will get you the first 2 beers of your choice and treats to take home! You can get tickets here.

Mr Wow’s Emporium (97b Smith St, Fitzroy) – Day of the Dead rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors have been observed perhaps for as long as 2,500–3,000 years. Mr Wow’s rituals include drinking Tequila Tromba, eating tasty treats provided by The Voodoo Jerk Truck, paying homage to their favourite dead celebrities with handmade shrine and painting faces to celebrate this deadly holiday.Dress in your best Day of the Dead costume and join them for a night of macabre madness

Foresters Hall (64 Smith St, Collingwood) –  Join Foresters for an old school Monster Mash/Kaiju tap takeover (I’ve meet these guys and they are spooky as all get out). With an additional upstairs haunted house with a spooky band (Ooooohhooo)and prizes for best dressed, you are assured to have a monsters ball.

Carwyn Cellars (877 High St, Thornbury) – 5 different tacos, 6 amazing Day of the Dead/ Taco/ Chilli inspired beers on tap, Mexican inspired drink specials, inc. jugs of Paloma, a Mexican Food Market presented by El Cielo, inc. free food tastings across their range and free tastings across a range of 15 Mexican craft beers & a range of Mezcals, you should be scared stiff to miss this one!

The Brunswick Hotel (140 Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – Come to the Carn-evil and bear witness to 14 live and untamed bands summoned from the darkest corners of deepest Melbourne to perform over two stages! If that isnt getting you monsters drooling we have two devilishly good DJs on both stages for you to shake your bones and rattle your chains too. Old man gully beef burgers will be serving up mouth-watering burgers from 5pm-late (may or may not contain traces of old men)  Prizes will be given to the best costumes the carnies see, so think heart attack and work your way up!

City Critters

Nieuw Amsterdam (106-112 Hardware St, Melbourne) – Celebrate the most tantalising and horrific night of the year by traveling down the rabbit hole and experiencing Alice in Amsterdam. Dress to your heart’s desire. Drink specials, late night food menu till 2am, DJ’s and cocktails till 5am. No cover. Best dressed can win a voucher to te value of $100.

Fed Square (Flinders St/Swanston St, Melbourne) – Join Melbourne’s Mexican community at Fed Square for the world-known tradition of Day of the Dead. Day of the Dead is a beautiful cultural tradition that celebrates life and remembers loved ones who have passed away. Head to The Square from 11am – 5pm to meet one-on-one with the Mexican artist who creates ephemeral ground tapestries and be part of the creative process. From 5pm – 8pm, bring your friends and family to enjoy the main event – a colourful celebration with music, dance, activities and plenty of selfie opportunities!

Asian Beer Cafe (Level 3, Melbourne Central) – The Asian Beer Cafe are throwing a Halloween Costume Party that’s going to be bigger and better than ever before! There will huge prize giveaways all night long, and entry is free! Don’t forget to dress to impress!

Vamos (1/37 Little Bourke St Melbourne) – Vamos is celebrating its first anniversary on Oct. 31st, come and celebrate this very special night, full of invited guests and surprises! Bands and flamenco dancing are to be part of the event, as well as a Dj expert in Latin American music playing some gems in vinyl Live Latin American music and flamenco dancer and it’s HALLOWEEN so dress up and join the fun. Expect some surprises! It’s going to be an amazing evening! Tickets are $30 a head and you can get them online here.

South of the Yarra Screams

Collection Bar (328 Bridge St, Richmond) – Another Halloween is upon us and all the over indulgent pumpkins have been itching to get out. This year The Collection are turning things up a notch with a $100 tab going to the best dressed!  The All Hallows’ punch will be flowing all night along with other drink specials and a late night burger menu to keep the stomach lined.

Ormond Hall (557 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne) – Put your sanity to the test and dare to be admitted to The Asylum, Melbourne’s most thrilling Halloween event. For the first time since its closure in 1895, Melbournians are now able to walk the halls of one of Australia’s oldest insane asylums. The history of The Asylum is enough to sicken the stiffest of nerves. Renowned for being run by sociopathic matrons and sadistic neuro-surgeons; very few patients treated in these wards ever left with a cure of their psychosis. Sanity was not the mission. Hysteria was the goal.Tickets are $25 and you can book them online here.

Halloween Outdoor Cinema (St Kilda Primary School, 2B Brighton Road  St Kilda) – St Kilda Primary School will be transformed into an outdoor cinema showing, The Minion Movie, Hotel Transylvania, The Original Rocky Horror Show and Inside Out. There will be a range of Halloween based activities to get the kids involved along with mobile food trucks , vendors and entertainment. Entry is gold coin donation

Cadbury Treat Street Party (Maitland St, Glen Iris) – Glen Iris will be at the heart of Melbourne’s Halloween  celebrations this year as Cadbury prepares to free the joy on the spookiest day of the year by turning one lucky suburban street into an enchanting Cadbury Treat Street for the community to enjoy.  Maitland Street in Glen Iris will be transformed into a magical Halloween-themed destination, which will become one of Melbourne’s biggest and most joyful Halloween street parties. Residents and visitors to the Cadbury Treat Street will celebrate as a community at a street party hosted by Cadbury, featuring non-stop entertainment, party games, a community BBQ and thousands of Cadbury treats to be given away to bring the festivities to life. Melburnians are invited to head to Maitland St in Glen Iris from 4.30pm-6.30pm on Saturday 31 October to visit the Cadbury Treat Street.

What’s on in Wine this Weekend

I know I usually do a post covering some of the highlight events in the coming month but as I have been absolutely awash with wine events this weekend, I decided they deserved a post all of their own. So without any further delay…lets get winey.

Starting with Saturday and Pinot Palooza is back in town! It’s changed venues this year to the more accessible (and roomy) convention centre. There’s more to this outing than just Pinot (though that is reason enough in my book) there will be sparkling, cider and food from the likes of Huxtaburger, Jack Horner, Sample Brew and Burn City Smokers. Tickets are just $60 and you get a free glass as well as all the wine tastings (no tokens here). Get all your ticket info here.


If you fancy something a bit more out of town, Woodend Wine Store are hosting their annual Grand Tasting at Macedon Ranges Hotel and Spa. With a range of exhibitors including Michael Hall Wines, Craiglee, Epis, Calender Cheese, Chambers of Rutherglen as well as beers from Exit, Tooborac and boatrocker, and gin from Kangaroo Island spirits all for just $25 a ticket ($30 on the day) which includes a shuttle from the wine shop and your very own tasting glass. More details here.

If you fancy kicking back for lunch, Luke from Vinified has just the thing for you. He is hosting a Champagne and Chardonnay by the Sea lunch at Captain Baxter in St Kilda. A great chance to take in the foreshore while learning more about the flavours and styles of Chardonnay from around the world. Lunch is $79 a head and you can get more information here.

Sunday is Vinitalia Day. I went to this last year and it was brilliant from the tastings to the masterclasses. This year the event is open to the public and promises to be more fabulous than last, featuring a selection of premium Italian wines presented by local importers and retailers. More than 40 companies  are expected to be there to offer their most prestigious Italian labels to taste and buy, all accompanied by delicious Italian food. Tickets start from $35 and you can get more information here.


If you’re hoping for a slightly more chilled  Sunday, Toorak Cellars are hosting Vinteloper winemaker David Bowley for a free BBQ from 3-6pm to celebrate the launch of his new vintage releases! All of David’s new releases will be on tasting with the opportunity to pick some up at some great prices. There will be tunes, food, great wines and good times and it’s free entry! Check out their Facebook page for more details.



What’s on in September

So how amazing was August? Starting with a weekend at Bendigo on the hop then tasting wine with Cellarhand as well as hanging out at Black Pearl with the Please don’t tell guys from New York and trying all the things at Top Shelf finishing with a blind beer tasting at Foresters Hall in an Australia vs New Zealand spectacular (The Kiwis won BTW), I am just a wee bit ready for a nap. Not that this will happen this month as it’s already far too full. So without further ado, here are some of my picks for September and don’t forget to check out the events calendar for more amazing dinners, tastings, masterclasses and festivals.

Pink Boots society are a fabulous group looking to promote women in the beer industry and once again are gathering for another brewday at Two Birds Brewing. This time they are brewing a Cherry Saison using proper fresh cherry juice.Mash in for Pink Boots Members and those interested in joining Pink Boots is at 9:00am, Two Birds Brewing will be open to the public from 12pm. Come brew or just pop in after midday and watch the ladies at work.


Jack Daniels is putting on a pop up bar in Fed Square with a difference. The difference being that the bar will be built by donation of materials and skills.  Donate items you no longer need such as paint, tools, wood and chairs and in exchange for them we’ll give you some of your favourite Jack Daniel’s products. “The Bar That Jack Built” will be open to the public a three-day Jack Daniel’s birthday extravaganza from 18-20 September. If you’re interested in getting involved or even if you just want to pop along for a drink, check out their facebook page here.

jack built

Melbourne’s top Mexican chefs, artists and musicians are preparing to take food and culture lovers across the states of Mexico when the Mission Foods Mexican Festival hits Melbourne to celebrate Mexican Independence Day on Sunday September 13th at Federation Square. A great day out for foodies, families, and anyone who loves a great taco! Entry is free, more info here.


Looking for a beer festival with a difference? How about one held in an old prison? Here’s a chance to walk through through one of Australia’s more notorious beer gardens in the grounds of the old Pentridge Gaol. Indulge in a fantastic journey of sampling and tasting some of the best craft beers and ciders available in Australia. Tickets are $15 and you can get yourself one here.


From the 18th September to the 25th September, Hophause are hosting their annual Oktoberfest festival with events featuring food specials, sausage eating competitions, Oompah music, Family Sundays with a kids menu and activities, plus plenty of prizes for the grown ups. Check out their full range of events here.




Mid July And Not So Dry

We are half way through what has turned out to be a semi dry July (thanks germs). The silver lining of which has been the chance to spend  time updating my blog with events that are coming up around town, something I have been faintly remiss about of late. Along with all the events listed in the calendar, I thought I’d give you the heads up on other food ad drink related happenings  that may be of interest.

Cocktails in winter are too fabulous especially when you partake at the fabulous Madame Brussels. For the month of July, the Madame has been hosting masterclasses each Tuesday, which sadly means you’ve missed the first two but happily, it means you can make the last two. The 21st will be rum based with our old friend gin showing off on the 28th. Tickets are $55 and you can book here.

Cocktails Brus

Speaking of Madame Brussels, they’re getting ready to bring a little slice of Europe to the city this Winter and will be taking over Madame Brussels Lane every Friday from 24 July – 14 August for their European Night Market. Food, fun and festivities are on the menu as we partner up with Göz City,Frencheese, Cafe Babbo, The Fringe, Bretzel.biz, Cafe,Chooh La La, Eastern Bloc Catering, Frieda’s Flammkuchen plus many more to bring you an event to remember!

Euro market

Oysters and stout are an amazing pair and as the people at Mountain Goat have always loved a great pair, they are hosting an oyster night on the 24th July at the Goat shed. They will be shucking from 5.00pm and matching them with the Surefoot Stout. Don’t fret if you’re not an oyster or a stout fan, there are plenty of pizzas and all the Goat favs.


One thing you have to love about winter is that it’s perfect weather for drinking whisky while eating stew. Thankfully the fab crew at Them Bones are back again this July, serving up some of their classic stews this time at Carwyn Cellers in Thornbury. They’ll be popping up every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in July so getting on down, buy a drink and warm up with some hearty casserole goodness.

Via the lovely people at Them Bones

Via the lovely people at Them Bones

If trying new spirits is your thing (and why wouldn’t it be), the Top Shelf is the day out for you.  A two day festival on the 8th and 9th July, combining fun, education and sampling of premium beers, wines and spirits. In addition, there’s great food, soft drinks and cocktails created by the best bartenders in the country. Tickets are $25 online or $40 on the door so best to pre buy.


4th of July, Bastille Day, Bendigo Beers and More – What’s on in July

One of the best things about living in Melbourne is the way it’s so willing to embrace other cultures and traditions, especially if there’s a chance of getting a drink out of it. Starting the month with 4th of July festivities with an absolute stunning array of beer, whisky and wine events celebrating some of the best of US produces, from lunches to tastings to BBQ’s, from the south side to the north, it really is going to be a great day for both the ex pats and lovers of fabulous craft products alike.

For all the Francophiles and lovers of French food and wine, Bastille Day is on the 14th July. Being in Melbourne is no excuse not to join in the festivities as thankfully we are blessed with some truly magnificent French restaurants who are pulling out all the stops to make the day sparkle with  joie de vie.

Every Wednesday in July at Hihou Bar, The House of Santory is staging a take over. Simon Denton has prepared a bespoke menu for guests to perfectly balance with Suntory Whisky’s full portfolio. Prices are $55 per person for a 3 course tasting menu, while a 6 course dinner will cost $120 per person. Get your tickets and information here.

The Bridge Hotel is here bringing Europe to you on the 29th July!  Stroll down the famous laneway (mind the snow) and immerse yourself in the many sites, smells and flavours from Europe 12-5pm. And while it may not be quite as warm as the European sun at present, you can warm your belly with a tipple of mulled wine or cider. Entry is free! Food and bev tokens can be purchased at the bar for $6 each.

Heading to the end of the month, Bendigo on the Hop is back for it’s second year with 22 brewers showing their stuff at 11 of Bendigos finest establishments. Get your ticket, your glass and your guide and stroll your way around Bendigo while sampling some of Australias finest beers. Bendigo on the Hop is happening on the 1st August (yes I know, not July) and tickets are $50. Get more information and tickets here.

One of my favourite dinners around town is turning two! Young Guns Dinners, a celebration of Melbournes up and coming chefs and somms, is letting their founding lady, Ms Jerry Mai, lose in the kitchen to put together a feast. Tickets are just $99 a head with more info o how to book here. I’ve been to the last 4 dinners and they have all blown my socks off.

Don’t forget that Section 8 and Gravity Coffee are still running their amazing cans for coffee efforts in July . Go into Section 8 on a Monday in July and August between 9am – 1pm with a can of food (or two) and they will give you a coffee and then pass your can on to charity.