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Embla Rooftop

The Embla team's openair cinema and bar is serving up Mediterranean snacks, a hefty wine list and a program of cinematic gems.
By Libby Curran
March 19, 2021
By Libby Curran
March 19, 2021

Christian McCabe and Dave Verheul's Russell Street wine bar Embla scored a sibling and neighbour when the team opened Lesa right upstairs in 2018. Now, the family has welcomed another new addition, this one making its home in the sunny openair space atop the Melbourne Theosophical Society next door.

Embla Rooftop Bar & Cinema is the city's new destination for wining, dining and big screen movie magic, aiming to level up your usual dinner-and-a-show scenario. Up here, yellow-striped deck chairs, picnic tables and a vibrant aquamarine paint job set something of a breezy Mediterranean tone to match the food offering of seasonal share plates and snacks.

While the enormous five-metre screen fires up as the sun goes down, both the kitchen and bar are open from 3pm (5pm on weekends) right through, for anyone wanting to sate their appetite and kick back with a tipple or two. Get ready to tuck into bites like raw kingfish with cucumber, cumquat and a pumpkin seed miso; snapper rillettes with fennel toast; or perhaps the veal rump tartare finished. Meanwhile, the bar's got that summer thirst quenched with a 50-strong lineup of wines, a range of cocktails — such as negronis and margaritas — and tinnies from Bodriggy.

Kelly Thompson

While the bar operates on a walk-in basis, you can snap up cinema tickets in advance over on the website. Once each evening's flick starts rolling after sunset, guests can settle in and enjoy candy bar treats like cultured butter and sea salt popcorn, house-made pineapple lumps and Piccolina Gelateria gelato pops delivered straight to their chair.

The folks from events company District Agency (Gourmet Cinema) are taking care of the film programming, with weekly themes running from high school-themed flicks to classic Euro titles and classics such as Pulp Fiction and The Big Lebowski. Coming up, you've got favourites like Vicky Cristina BarcelonaPretty in PinkWhiplash and more.

Unfortunately, Embla Rooftop Bar & Cinema is here for a good time, but not a long time. The pop-up will run temporarily until the site is shut and developed into a boutique hotel.

Embla Rooftop Bar & Cinema is open for drinks and snacks from 5pm-7pm Mon-Thu & Sun and 3pm-7pm Fri-Sat

Images: Kelly Thompson

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