Halloween and The Day of the Dead Meet Melbourne Cup Weekend

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Melbourne is once again living up to its reputation as place that will take any reason to have a party and run with it. Last years Halloween went off and as this years falls into place with a (sort of) long weekend, it promises to do the same.

Northside 

Acqua E Vino (18a Ballarat St, Yarraville) – Halloween Fancy Dress Party at  Acqua e Vino. $20 entry with complimentary 1st drink on arrival. DJ playing sexy 90s mixes from 6pm till 12am. Tickets on door or pre sale call 96879006.

B.E.A.S.T (80 Lygon St, Brunswick East) – This October 31st, The B.EAST is throwing a MASSIVE cocktail and Mariachi infused Day of The Dead Party with a little help from Espolón and a LOT of tequila.  They’re putting together a full tequila cocktail menu, Mexciana-style B.East eats, Mexicali Djs and Mariachi band LOS ROMANTICOS in full Mariachi dress, there’ll be FREE facepainting from 7pm-9pm, so paint your face, dress up and come and drink some tequila! Best Calaveras makeup (not done by our face painter!) will win a $100 voucher.

Carwyn Cellars (877 High St, Thornbury) – Carwyn Cellars “Taco of the Dead” party is right around the corner (Tuesday Nov 1st), and they’re teaming up with Melbourne Hot Sauce, Garage Project, Wolf of the Willows Brewing & Rogue Ales & Spirits to throw one hell of taco & beer filled party. Enjoy a menu of four different mind blowing TACOS. Plus the official launch venue for Garage Project’s 2016 Day of the Dead Beers and a one-off collaboration keg between Wolf of the Willows and Melbourne Hot Sauce – A Mango & Habanero spiked India Saison.

Flem-Ken Bowls Club (Smithfield and Racecourse Rd, Flemington) – Hendo from BrewCult and Fraser from Exit Brewing, jointly known as Frendo, are returning to Flem-Ken Bowls Club on Cup Eve. Given the date is October 31, they are calling it “Halloween with Frendo”! Tickets are just $12 for two 330ml stubbies of your choice from BrewCult’s Spoiler Alert Pale Lager or Reset Robot Pale Ale, or Exit’s Saison, Amber or India Pale Ale. Get more info and tickets here.

Howler (7-11 Dawson St, Brunswick) – Things are going to real spooky in the beer garden for HOWLERWEEN on Sunday 30 October! Put on your best costume and get down to tunes spun by Lotus Moonchild and friends from 2:00pm until late. Entry is FREE! If their tunes don’t make your skin crawl their puns will. With the official murder on the dance floor crew.Costumes encouraged, puns are a must.

The Kodiak Club (272 Brunswick St, Fitzroy) – The Kodiak Club is celebrating Halloween the American way, so bring your scariest costume and join them for a spookylicious night full of booze and jams. Drinks of the night: Rogue: Dead Guy Ale, Cam’s Punch, Bloody Mary (Caesar) and lots of treats and Apple Pops. Make sure you don’t miss this one!

3 Ravens Brewery (1-3 Theobold St, Thornbury) – A Halloween party that will leave Wes craven turning in his grave! 3 Ravens Brewery & Ironbark BBQ reunite for one night of terrifying beers, Halloween dress, barbecue and live music from: Vulgargrad – Russian Criminal folk music, The Dead Amigos – Blues, rock and funk, Pugsley Buzzard – Blazing boogie and stride piano. Dress to scare! Prizes will be awarded

The Retreat (280 Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – Venture to the dark side and celebrate Halloween on Cup Eve! Hosted by The Knave, Shack Shakers will take over the pub, spinning Howlin’ Wolf inspired old school tunes and serving up prizes for best dressed along with drink specials, espresso martinis and more. Gothic-country will be supllied in the front bar by Jemma Nicole and a collection of friends and foes. FREE ENTRY – all kicks off at 7pm and won’t shut down until the wee small hours.

The Rum Diaries Bar (334 Brunswick St, Fitzroy) – It’s the spooky season again! Get your freak on with plenty of Rum filled fun this Monday. Trick or treat your way into some scary assed Haloween cocktails and many a spine chilling tune.

The Park (12 Watton St, Werribee) – Doors open 5pm, DJs running from 7pm, drinks and food specials running all night with a special trick or treat on the door.

The Penny Black (420 Sydney Rd, Brunswick)  –  When two beautiful holidays roll into one, why not add another? Welcome to our DAY OF THE DEAD Halloween, Cup Day, long weekend extravaganza.  Spot prizes for best, most outrageous costumes on the night, drink specials flowing all night thanks to Espolòn Tequila and to top it off Woodlock playing LIVE and FREE in the bandroom. Live artwork and face painting so get down!

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Nieuw Amsterdam (106-112 Hardware St, Melbourne) -Halloween is almost here and this is one party worth coming to! This years Halloween theme is Dead Celebrities, so whether it’s Kurt Cobain, Marilyn Monroe or Michael Jackson, you can live out your wildest dead celebrity fantasies at this party. And if you don’t have a favourite dead celebrity, why not come as a celeb you wish was dead – Kimmy K or Donald Trump anyone? There will be big prizes for best costumes on the night, as judged by management. Also, there’ll be running competitions throughout the night where you could win a heap of bar vouchers! Expect the creepy and the spooky throughout the venue – running ’till dawn, this is going to be epic. Free entry.

Asian Beer Cafe (Level 3, Melbourne Central) – Join The Asian Beer Cafe for their day of the dead Halloween party and grab your chance to win a $1,000 abc bar tab for best costume! This year’s Halloween party is going to be the biggest one yet, thanks to sponsor Tiger Beer, they are giving away HUGE GIVEAWAYS you won’t want to miss!

P.J. O’Brien (Southgate, Southbank) – Cup eve becomes ‘All horrors eve’  this Halloween at PJs. Have a horror of a time with the Hi-Jacked Penguins live on stage from 9pm. $10 shocktails that will haunt your mind, free entry and horror face painting  from 7-9pm. With shocks & horrors around every corner its sure to be a killer night.

Spice Market (Beanley Lane, Melbourne) – Join Spice Market this Monday for our annual Herradura Day of the Dead Halloween Party! Free entry! | Doors from 8pm. Complimentary Herradura Cocktail for everyone in costume! Day of the Dead Face Painting available!Best dressed will win a bottle of Herradura Ultra Tequila with mixers, announced at midnight! Enjoy Insta-photobooth to capture your memories on the night by @littlepixelbox

Vamos (1/37 Little Bourke St Melbourne) – Vamos has been open for two years and they are going to celebrate with a Day of the Dead party! Come along dressed in your best “Dia de los Muertos” costume and make up and enjoy a range of great entertainment to make even the dead come to life on the dancefloor! Cocktails include Zombies and Corpse Revivers! Tickets $10 presale

The Wharf Hotel (18-38 Siddeley St, Melbourne) – The Wharf Hotel presents their 6th Birthday Halloween Bash! Join them Friday 28th October, from 5pm for Spooky cocktail specials plus a Complimentary Trick or Treat Candy Bar. Live acoustic from 6pm  Dress in your Halloween best and go into the draw to win a $200 bar tab.  Complimentary drink on arrival for the first 50 RSVP’s here.

Southside

Antique Bar (218 Glenhuntly Rd, Elsternwick)  – Come! Enter the graveyard if you dare, go past the ghosts to the demon’s lair. Hold on, hold on with all your might do all that you can to survive this night. If you are strong and brave and bold, join us in fun, but be always aware that terror and fright will also be there! Grab your costume, everyone is welcome. Dress up for your chance to win one of five $50 drink cards!
Drink specials all night long.

Hats and Tatts (78 Cecil St, South Melbourne) – Hats and Tatts knows that Melbourne likes an excuse to get dressed up! So this is just for you….. Sunday 30th October at Hats and Tatts, are throwing a Holloween party. They’ll have drink specials and of course the Final of FAMOUS LAST WORDS. So get your thinking caps on for some crazy costumes as there will be some prizes for best dressed

Holy Grail (67 Chapel St, Windsor) – Its that time of the year yet again! Join Holy Grail on Saturday 29/10, for the ultimate Halloween party held at holy grail chapel st, presented by Plantation Rums and The Westwinds Gin.  Come dressed up and get ready to wake the dead! They will be running all night Halloween inspired cocktails, photo booths and free drinks. Sharpen your fangs everyone!

Lulo Latin Kitchen and Bar (798 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn) – Lulo Presents: Halloween on Glenferrie Road! Dress Code: As scary as you dare: Door prizes and prizes for the best dressed. Kids Trick or Treat from 4pm , Adults after dark…Cheap thrills and cheap drinks like $10 Cocktails and $8 Butcher’s Bride Pale Ale Pints

Moondog (17 Duke St, Abbotsford) – Moondog is opening on Monday so as to celebrate Halloweeeeeeeen with a party at the brewery bar! Come on down for spooky pumpkin ale, a zombie face painting station, scary pizzas, trick or treating, and disco tunes galore. Boo!

The Nash (344 Victoria St, Richmond) – A National state of emergency has been declared as the afflicted threaten to take over.. Hungry for a good feed, the bait has been set. Unarmed and unaware, they can’t keep to themselves..Come and celebrate the end of the world, stock up on moonshine & munitions at the last remaining safe haven. You’d be brainless to miss this.  Free Entry, Dress up for a free drink on arrival! Halloween inspired games!

The Royston (12 River St, Richmond) – Check out the tap list for The Roystons Cup Eve Pirate Life tap takeover on Monday night. Pretty damn exciting.
In fact they are planning on having such a good time they are closing Cup Day to recover. See you Monday from 4pm!!!!

 

 

Warming up in Melbourne During July

Half way through the year already and the Middle of Winter but Melbourne is still going strong. Not only is it the best time of year for oysters but it’s also truffle season (if you’re a bit of truffle novice, here’s a good place to start). The weather is perfect for pub meals by the fire, roasts and red wine, all things I adore.

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This month kicks off with 4th of July festivities showcasing an absolute stunning array of beer, whisky and cocktails, starting from the 2nd and going all through the week, it will be a great chance to try something new over a few hamburger and wings, perfect for this weather, no?

Bastille

Keeping to the red, white and blue theme, July is also Bastille Day on 14th July, a day for all the Francophiles and lovers of French food and wine. Melbourne being the lovely beast that she is, is blessed with some truly magnificent French restaurants who are pulling out all the stops to make the day sparkle with  joie de vie.

Cocktaisls

The weekend of the 16th and 17th July is given over to the Australian Drinks Festival. Your ticket gives you access to pop up bars, tastings and masterclasses with some of Australia’s foremost experts on spirits, wines and beers. You can also get tickets which allow you to distill your own gin, have a tipsy afternoon tea

The Food Truck Park are heating things up this Winter with a Bollywood themed food truck festival running from 22nd July-24th July. They will be bringing the colour and glam of Bollywood to Preston with dancers, Indian music and classic bollywood flicks playing all weekend on the big screen.

All this cold weather and heavy food can make you feel a little lethargic and out of shape so why not shake it off at a midwinter dance, 30th July in Brunswick East? Money raised from ticket sales goes towards raising literacy levels in our youth. There will be food and drinks for sale on the night including pies from Boscastle and  beers from Temple Brewing who have kindly sponsored the evening.

If you think that 6 months is far too long to wait until Christmas or maybe your one of those who have always felt that a hot Christmas day just isn’t right? Why not grab some mates and book into one of the many Christmas in July being hosted around town. Check out a few of them here.

BOH
Photo via Bendigo on the Hop

Just putting this here, Bendigo on the Hop is on once again. Yes it is in August (20th August to be exact) but I didn’t want you all to miss out. I made the trek last year and it was so much fun. You can take the Vline up and stay over night, I stayed at The Schaller Studio which is so lovely (bike hire and umbrellas for you to use as you wish as well as free wifi which is as rare as hens teeth in Australian hotels) and made a weekend of it. Bendigo is such a gorgeous place and this event gives you a chance to wander your way around while sampling some fabulous beers. I had such a great time, I am doing it all over again this year.

 

 

June in Melbourne – Whisky, Wine, World Gin Day and Winter

So I am a little late for my June wrap up of happenings and events? Alas I was bought asunder by the shenanigans of Good Beer Week but am now ready to get back on the horse so to speak which is lucky as there are so many things happening this month, most of which are winter friendly.

Negroni

Starting from the 6th June to the 12th June is Negroni Week, a week started back in 2013 as a way for people to enjoy their favourite cocktail but also to give back to the community. Each bar chooses a charity of their choice and donates a dollar for every Negroni sold. Last year they managed to raise over $320,000 for charities around the world. As well as straight out Negronis, 1806 and Nieuw Amsterdam are hosting classes on how to make your own perfect Negroni. Find your nearest bar and their charity on Negroni Week’s online map, drink up and do some good.

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On the 11th of June, we all get together to celebrate World Gin Day, another one of my favourite days of the year. a day where bars and distillers get together to put on gin events for the people of Melbourne and it’s surrounds. Some of my picks of the day and where I am going to try to get myself to are Four Pillars who are serving pulled ‘Four Pillars’ pork rolls by Burn City Smokers as well as releasing their Bloody Shiraz Gin at their Healesville Distillery. The Gin Palace are hosting a Lunch with West Winds Gin and a High Tea with Four Pillars. Craft and Co are Hosting their first World Gin Day event, releasing their first gin to the public. MGC are hooking up with Bad Frankie for a masterclass on Botanical. Bass and Flinders are showing off their gins by the banks of the Yarra at Pilgrim bar.

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If Gin isn’t your thing or if, like me, you’re not adverse to variety, Hawkers Beer are wisely launching their Imperial Stout on the 9th of June. No matter if you drink it, make a casserole with it or bake a cake with it (seriously, chocolate stout cake is the bomb!) stout is the perfect beer for this weather and if Hawkers Stout is anything like their other beers, this one will be a winner. See it launched at The Terminus in Fitzroy North, The Local Taphouse in St Kilda and Carwyn Cellars in Thornbury.

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June is also when Wine is Coming with Game of Rhones hitting Melbourne on the 18th June at Meat Market in North Melbourne. Celebrating the grape varieties from the Rhone Valley, as well as beer, cider and food for you to buy on site. Dress code is casual but don’t be surprised if you glimpse a few Westeros cos players in the crowd.

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Whisky is getting it’s fair share of a attention this month with Whisky and Alement announcing a fantastic limited addition Japanese Whisky Masterclass on the 26th June, The Nobel Experiment are celebrating women in whisky with a masterclass hosted by Laura Hay from William Grant and Sons on the 29th June and Boilermarker House not only have a tasting of Speyside whiskies on the 28th June but are celebrating their First Birthday as well with $5 shots of Jameson and boilermaker specials featuring the Newstead Brewing Co. X Boilermaker House Rivet Red Ale (with a public holiday the day after this, oh yeah, I’m there).

For more events including dinners, masterclasses, tastings and more, head to my events calendar as there are some very swish events with pork, pinot and other winter delights with more to come.

My Pick of the Best Free Entry Events During Good Beer Week

Good Beer Week is on again from May 13th – 22nd. And while I always will be a big fan of the ticketed event (check out the events calendar for more of these), there are plenty of things on which will cost you  absolutely zero to get into. You can meet the brewers try some amazing snacks and learn a few things without having to book. To help you shuffle through them all (yes, there are THAT many) I thought I’d run through some of my favourite free to attend events that I am hoping to drop into. Hope to see you there!

Beer gobletWe couldn’t start this list without starting with the first event of the week, The Good Beer Week Opening Party! Held at the Festival Hub which is Beer Deluxe on 13th May, there will be live music, a host of brewers, both local and international as well a special tasting paddle of the Festival Beers.

Colonial Brewing Co have moved into a new place in Port Melbourne and are using Good Beer Week as an excuse to throw a house-warming party. They are opening their doors on the 14th May, putting on some tunes as well as some Spanish cuisine from the Robert Burns Hotel as well as the world-famous $4 pizzas from Lucky Coq & Bimbo Deluxe. There will be heaps of games and activities for everyone as well as live street art from Mitch Walder, can’t wait to see the new place!

My old Local, The Grape and Grain are hosting a bunch of brewers from south of the Yarra on Sunday 15th May. meet the brewers from Bad Shepherd, Dainton, Kaiju, Exit, Riders and Wolf of the Willows and join them to chat about their beers and b the first to taste the fruits of their one off collaboration brew. Quality beers with quality people in one of the best beer shops in town.

The Local Tap House have invited  over New Zealand’s Garage Project for a fun Monday night speakeasy soiree. Boilermakers and beer cocktails will be the star attractions with Garage Project’s co-owner and Head Brewer, Pete Gillespie,  getting among the straining and stirring.

Also on the Monday and also cocktail focused (what can I say? I like to mix my drinks) is the craft beer based industry cocktail competition where with the only rule being the cocktail must contain some form of beer or hops hosted by Monkey King Bar and Dainton Family Brewery and judged by some of the industry’s leading cocktail bartenders and Dan Dainton. This is a great chance to watch some of the finest cocktail slingers in Melbourne fight for a chance to be crowned King or Queen of the Hoptail.

I’m very much looking forward to spending some of my beer week time at Two Row this year, the headquarters for the Pink Boots Brewers. Taps will rotate all week long with different beers made by women from all over Australia and the world There will be an opportunity every day to learn more about beer from the women who work in it with free educational and tasting seminars at 5:30pm.

A Bar Above in Richmond are hosting the team behind some of Australia’s best craft beer brands on their rooftop across Good Beer Week.  They will also have a food and booze special, with your choice of Buffalo wings or pork ribs as well as a schooner or bottle of the host’s finest brew for only $15. Check out their schedule and reserve your spot here.

Dr Morse in Abbotsford is putting on 4 fabulous free entry events starting with Californian Beers on the 15th, a Two Birds/Newstead collaboration launch on the 17th, Italian sours on the 18th and Japanese Beers and BBQ on the 19th. Expand you beer horizons with some limited edition beers served up with some great food.

Abbycollaby is 6 years old now, the traditional collaboration between the Abbotsford breweries, Moondog, CUB & Mountain Goat, raises money for Collingwood Children’s Farm and is launched on the Wednesday of Good Beer Week. Make a night of it by calling into the Royston Hotel on the corner for their Feral Vs Nail 10 tap combat where to of W.A’s finest put it all the line to see who comes out on top. Finish it off with a short walk down the road to see Slow Beer and indulge in some beers, boilermakers and  picklebacks.

One of my favourite parts of Good Beer Week is the chance to learn more about it from some of the industries best. Y & J is on board with this by hosting Beer School, a week of classes, talks and activities around beer. With the help from special guest stars from Australia’s top breweries, they will present a series of hour long sessions looking at the basics of beer. Sample beers while learning what makes them so tasty. Running from 2pm each day from Monday to Thursday, they are free for all.

I could not finish this post without talking about some of the great tap takeovers that will be happening around town. Some will be lasting all week like Exits takeover of Slow Beer with 4 one off releases, An Irish Craft Beer tap takeover at The Fifth Province in St Kilda, an all Northern tap takeover at The Stolberg with the guys from Hawkers, Kooinda, and 3 Ravens  as well as the ever brilliant PoO venues (thats Pint of Origin if your wondering). I always try to drop in to a few of these as it’s where you get to see the progression of a brewery as the chance to see a whole bunch of their beers in one spot tells you a story of where they are and where they are going.

Happy Good Beer Week all, let me know if I have missed your favourite out and I’ll add it to the list.

Whats on in May

So it’s been a while since I did this but as there is so much happening at the moment, I thought it was time to let you in on some of the cool stuff on this month.

Meat, Fish, Wine are throwing a Pinot Festival and you’re all invited, “Around The World in 80 Pinots in 80 Days” runs for the entire month of May and beyond, showcasing the amazing Pinot wines from Australia as well as a host of old and new world Pinots – Grand Crus from Burgundy, Pinot Noir from Oregon – all sure to delight the palate of the most discerning Pinot drinker. For just $80, you can buy yourself a passport that allows you to try as little or as much pinot as you like over 80 days – or just May 2nd – 31st if you prefer. Check out this link for more details.

Moving on to Tusk Day, the day when Feral Brewery load up a cold truck with fresh Imperial IPA and ship it across to the eastern states from W.A. It is a chance to taste this fine brew as it was intended to be drank…Fresh. This year, Tusk Day falls upon the 3rd May and is being held at 4 venues across Melbourne. The Royston, The Local TaphouseBoilermaker House and Terminus Hotel. Get in quick, there’s just one keg per venue.

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Cinco De Mayo is happening on the 5th May, and to celebrate, Tromba Tequila are matching up with Mesa Verde and Mi Corazon to bring a bit of Mexico to you. There will be plenty of tasty food and plenty of tequila along with music and mucho specials! Check the links for information.

Mothers 2

Also in May is Mother’s Day, the day where Mum’s get to sit back and relax while everyone else runs after them for once. If you’re looking for somewhere to take Mum but are out of ideas, look no further.  Here is a whole page of great places to take your Mum including high teas, lunches and cocktail afternoons.

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Speaking of Mother’s day, I have been dropping some massive hints all over the place for tickets to one of the 270+ Good Beer Week events. Good Beer Week runs from 13th May- 22nd May and it has something for everyone from the beer novice to the hardcore beer nerd and everyone in between. For more details on whats on, check out their guide here as well as in the events calendar for May.Euro v

One of the best things in May, is of course, Eurovision! To those of you who have played along for years before Australia got involved, I salute you (still miss you Terry Wogan). For all the new comers, welcome! If you’re looking for a crowd to share your Eurovision drinking games with (yes, this is a thing) may I suggest the Woolshed or Bella Union for your festivities? Join Woolshed for a night of laughs fun and Eurovision camp, be sure todress to impress in your favourite Euro creation, amazing prizes for best dressed. Where as Bella Union are breaking out the cocktail shakers and firing up the Big-Screen Bellavision Machine for three nights of slightly-delayed-simulcast harmonic wonderment. There’ll be in-house voting slips, classic Eurovision clips and even the occasional special guest live performance

Wine tastings, beer nights, cocktail sessions, degustations, festivals and food events happening in and around Melbourne