Tired of the classic movie and dinner date night combo? Us too. That's why we're always on the hunt for new things to do, scouring the city for not-boring Melbourne activities — ones that are guaranteed to take your next date way beyond done-before beers at the pub. Whether you're taking someone on a second date or doing your 100th with your significant other, we've got some killer (and, yes, cute) ideas for dates to go on this week, no matter how much money you've got to spend. Just think of us as your cultural wingman. You're welcome.
CATCH A FREE GIG TOGETHER AT THIS MUSIC FESTIVAL
An annual celebration of the people and the music of the City of Yarra, the sixth edition of Leaps and Bounds Music Festival presents a captivating jamboree of diverse Melbourne music talent.
Held over ten days, venues from across the area will be brought to life with more than 30 events. With a focus on promoting the next generation of talent, there's a gig to suit fans of pretty much every genre, from electronic to hip hop and jazz to queer and Indigenous music.
Some of the free gigs on offer include Women of Country — starring five up-and-coming female country artists — The Catfish's blues night and the annual Smith Street Dreaming, which celebrates Indigenous culture and history with MC Leila Gurruwiwi, Dave Arden and Band, Benny Walker, Birdz and Alice Skye, plus loads more. You can check out the full lineup here.
REQUEST YOUR FAVOURITE TUNES AT A POP-UP PIANO BAR
At least once and likely much more than that, a certain line will be uttered at Hightail over the next six weeks. "Sing us a song, you're the piano man" will be rather a fitting thing to say, admittedly — because the Melbourne hangout is hosting a pop-up piano bar between Tuesday, July 17 and Thursday, August 23.
On Tuesday and Thursday nights across that period, Matt Ganim will tickle the ivories and play whatever you ask for — including the Billy Joel track you might now have stuck in your head, we're guessing. But if you're there with your loved one, go on, suggest their favourite — and yours. He really will play whatever you wish, whether its your lover's fave piano classic or that pop track you have stuck in your head.
Singing along is both encouraged and expected. That's one of the joys of piano bars, after all.
SPOOK EACH OTHER AT THIS CONFRONTING INSTALLATION
A big, white container — with dark curtains and black letters splashed across its side — has popped up at the Queen Victoria Market. It's possibly Melbourne's most unnerving installation. If you and your beau or belle love a thrill, we suggest heading to Séance.
If you're not familiar with the installation, a word of warning: its aim is to mess with your senses. Participants take a seat inside the tiny space, put on a headset and are told to place both hands on the table. The lights go out leaving the container in absolute darkness and, for 15 uneasy minutes, participants are taken on an immersive journey led only by touch and sounds. Expect to feel confused, repulsed and struck with temporary claustrophobia.
If you and your significant other are feeling a little freaked out after, head into the Queen Vic and unwind over a pint or a mulled wine. The installation run on Wednesday 18 (as part of the Winter Night Market) and Saturday July 21 — tickets cost $20 each.
ENJOY GREEK EATS AND CATHARTIC PLATE SMASHING
You both might not be jumping on a plane anytime soon, but you can still enjoy those European summer vibes, with a spot of Greek-style plate smashing right here in Melbourne.
This month, the guys at The Food Truck Park and The Break Room have joined forces to offer a dedicated plate smashing space, as part of the Greek Food Festival running from July 20–22. In between smashing serves of moussaka, souvlaki and haloumi chips, punters can head in here to let their hair down, alleviate some stress and show that crockery who's boss.
Open from 5pm each day of the festival, The Break Room pop-up will offer made-to-smash plates at various prices. Grab six for $15, 12 for $25, or get extra destructive with 18 plates for $30.
ONE BIG BLOWOUT
EAT FOUR COURSES OF FANCY DESSERT
Shannon Bennett's Iki-Jime is putting seafood on the back-burner for three nights as it puts dessert front and centre.
The restaurant is hosting a series of dessert degustations, taking place on Wednesday, June 20, Wednesday, July 18 and Wednesday, August 15. On each night, four courses of dessert will be served up to the sweet-toothed guests sitting at Bar Jime.
While exactly what desserts you and your favourite will be eating will change each time, expect interactive and theatrical dishes — such as chocolate domes that melt in front of your eyes and plates that look like paintings.
Different cocktail pairings will be available each night, too, with the first degustation featuring matched rum cocktails, the second tequila and the third whisky. The dessert degustation itself will set you back $55, with cocktail pairings an additional $20.