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By Imogen Baker
April 11, 2018

Five Spots Where You Can Channel Your Inner Child in Melbourne

For those weeks when you've had enough of adulting.
By Imogen Baker
April 11, 2018


in partnership with

For those weeks when you've had enough of adulting.

If you've ever found yourself slumped in front of your laptop on a weeknight, neutralising an endless stream of utility bills, a steaming plate of veggies in your lap and making a mental note to take the bins out, you know you're officially an adult. 

You also know that it officially sucks. While adults deal with climate change, busy trains, body odour and junk mail, kids get all the good stuff. They get velcro shoes, officially sanctioned daytime naps, Saturday morning cartoons and sugary cereal you just can't stomach as well with a mature digestive system. Sure, adulthood has its perks (like espresso martinis and personal liberty) but sometimes you just want to get away from it all and fall down the rabbit hole into a simpler time.

Thankfully there are ways to relive the glory days of our youth and be overwhelmed with childlike wonder again. We've teamed up with American Express to help you with those moments when you've officially had it with the whole adult thing. Let's journey through Melbourne's best outlets for tapping into that uninhibited glee of childhood (with the benefit of an American Express® Card and some hard-earned adult privileges).

Got yourself in another dining situation and need some guidance? Whatever it is, we know a place. Visit The Shortlist and we'll sort you out.

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    Playtime arcade in Melbourne

    Although Crown Casino is not where we would suggest going for happy blissful fun times, you can find them if you make a beeline to Playtime and Kingpin Crown. The space has some serious nostalgic gaming options, so give yourself a bit of time — and perhaps a good feed from Kingpin’s eatery — if you’re going to immerse yourself in it. This is birthday party-level fun right here.

    It’s got traditional arcade games (over 150 of ‘em, to be precise), laser tag, sports games, VR, escape rooms, table tennis and bowling. And, maybe the coolest of all, is the Vortex. Do you remember Vortexes? Most science centres had them with the express purpose of farming child vomit. It’s a tube you walk down and the walls spin (seriously, if you have a weak stomach, don’t do it). Fun times.

    But best of all, you earn tokens to exchange for prizes. Remember that shiny thing on the top shelf you could never hope to win as a kid? Now’s your chance.

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    Pixel Bar & Cafe

    Not to be confused with Pixel Alley, Pixel Bar is a venue down south in Huntingdale and it’s all about a different kind of gaming. At Pixel Bar you’ll be transported back to your wasted youth with all manner of board games and video games. It’s got PCs hooked up so you can play all your favourites from Smash Bros to Overwatch. And communal gaming tables for games like Settlers of Catan and Cards Against Humanity. Best of all — all the games are free.

    It’s decorated kind of like your parents’ basement to bump up the nostalgia and, as if you weren’t already feeling the vibes, it’s got an all-jaffle menu. Oh, and beer. And milkshakes. And no parental figures around to stop you.

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    Storyville is a bar on Lonsdale Street that’s inspired by fables, fairy tales, and all the fantastical things that captured your imagination as a kid. It’s decked out for peak literary nostalgia — a golden birdcage, novel-filled library, Narnia-inspired lounge and magical toadstool bar with giant glowing fungi all feature. But it’s not just children’s stories on show here. Parts of Storyville nod to darker chapters in our literary history like Orwell’s Animal Farm and Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange.  It’s a truly magical place that’s fast becoming a must-see on a typical Melbourne itinerary. If you were a bookworm as a kid, prepare to be enchanted by Storyville (and its extensive and cleverly named drinks menu).

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    Pixel Alley on Smith Street is your typical barcade — that is, it’s part bar and part arcade. But that’s where it stops being typical. On a buzzing night, Pixel Alley will help you remember what it’s like to be a kid working with your friends and single-mindedly focused on the objective at hand. It’s escapism at its finest. 

    In these hallowed halls, you’ll find an impressive array of arcade games and pinball machines (including Donkey Kong, Street Fighter II, Pac-Man, Daytona and Tapper), all housed amongst original pixelated art by illustrator Justine McAllister. And, of course, a retro game-themed drinks menu with cocktails like Kirby’s Dream ($15), made of fresh strawberries, Pimms and happiness. Or Peach on the Beach ($18) with tequila, peach, grapefruit and no bad guys (totally fair, Peach). 

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    Holey Moley has basically become a household name in the past year, with venues popping up all the major cities on the east coast. We, as a nation of kidults, just cannot get enough of mini-golf — apparently. 

    Melbourne’s Holey Moley has 27 holes of club swinging antics across two levels. That’s three nine-hole courses for you to unleash your inner child —just mind where you swing your golf club. It also serves wood-fired pizza for $14 a pop and, more importantly, has a pun-laden drinks list that includes the Sugar Caddy, the Teeyonce Knowles and a Long Island Iced Tee. Time to start practising your best Happy Gilmore impression: “Are you too good for your home?!”

    Image: Lucas Dawson


As you drink and dine with your American Express, reap all the sweet rewards of being a Card Member. Explore the many ways American Express has your back here.

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