Rating Melbourne’s best and worst date spots and ideas, from stressful to scrumptious

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Rating Melbourne’s best and worst date spots and ideas, from stressful to scrumptious

Melbourne date spots and ideas
Words by Arielle Richards

Here's our fun guide to Melbourne's best and worst date spots and ideas, where we try to rank the romance.

Do you remember when the government tried to enforce a COVID bonk ban?

No? Blocked it all out? Fair enough, I’m still trying to myself.

Anyway, in July 2020, amidst the first lockdown, the Victorian government attempted to enforce a bonk ban – meaning copulation was strictly forbidden unless you happened to cohabitate in the same house. And cohabitation isn’t really the nature of the bonk, is it?

Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.

Anyway, the love-drunk souls of Melbourne caused such an indignant uproar that the ban was immediately lifted. As the law had it from then on, if we were ‘going steady’, the bonk was on. Around Victoria, people everywhere looked up and realised they were in a ‘thing’, turned to their other simultaneously, and asked, ‘What are we?’. 

Whilst the bonk was legal once again, there was still something amiss. Romance! 

Or, our haphazard 2021 attempt at such a thing – which is more like the clueless orbiting the hapless until by some fate they happen to bump, go on a date then ‘go steady’ till’ they die? 

Wait… why am I on a tangent about bonking and bans? No one uses the ‘R’ word any more. People are terrified of romance, about as terrified as they are of love. 

Because today we have the pleasure of rating some of Melbourne’s finest establishments, specifically for their propensity to host a fabulous date. We are celebrating the return of the date, the return of that ‘R’ word. 

It’s true, the venue does not make the date –  the date makes the date – but the choice of venue, activity or even the aesthetic does really come into play.


The instant I contemplate the mere concept of a date, Amarillo flits to mind. I simply can’t explain it – Amarillo just has the vibes. With a fine selection of local and international wines, aperitifs, digestifs and small to large, delicious plates, Amarillo covers all bases – whether it’s a drinky-type date or a dinnery-type date.

The cozy, understated atmosphere of the bar is complete with its brilliant, mid-century design. Amarillo is quiet and chic, beautifully mimicking the bars of Italy that I have never seen but know are out there.

Whilst gorgeous, Amarillo is, well, Amarillo. It’s a nice little bistro, where’s the flavour?

I rate Amarillo 32 exquisite furniture items out of 40 – scrumptious.

Berry picking

Every time I read those words, ‘berry picking’, I am filled with indescribable, inescapable joy. So cute! A stunning date concept. It’s thoughtful, enjoyable and even edible. While we can praise it for all of those things, be warned. Berry picking is more suited to a third or fourth date, because it reeks of romance.

Yes, the dreaded ‘R’ word – some people love it, some people hate it. It takes a bold character to flirt with romance on the first date, someone whose mission is to live on the edge. Berry picking, whilst cute and cottagecore, also whispers, rather urgently, “marry me”. 

Huge points for originality here, and the concept itself has a high recyclability factor!

Ratings-wise, until someone has the gall to take me on a berry picking date, my hand is forced. 

I rate berry picking 35 assumed blackberries out of 19 strawberries – delicious.

The pool

Nobody goes to the pool on dates. 

But maybe they should? 

I rate the pool five aqua play aisles out of ten – interesting.

Bar Oussou

Hmm, you’ve done this before? A great call on this one, either way. Cozy, artsy, intimate. Bar Oussou it’s a surefire way to show your date you know what’s good, plus with French-senegalise food and live music almost every night, it’s a good spot to kick off proceedings for whatever may come.

It’s a good date spot for a good old time.

I rate Bar Oussou ten jazz hats out of ten – fabulous.  

The Parkview

A friend of mine once told me they went on a date at the Parky. When I asked why the heck they’d gone there, my friend told me they had in fact been the one to suggest it.

“Because I wanted to seem chill, and where’s more chill than the Parky?” they confided. We do love the $6 pints. 

As it turns out though, the Parkview is actually a pretty terrible date spot. 

I rate the dear old Parky six out of ten $6 pints – it’s not it’s fault it’s so chill.

Ice Skating

This one is unique. Suspiciously so… 

I’ve been thinking about ice skating a lot. It’s too bad that Melbourne’s Ice Dome is overrun with children, and that you can’t really ice skate anywhere else. Heading to the Ice Dome on a date is a very interesting concept. You would have to be prepared for the inevitable catastrophe, that your date might not know how to ice skate. You also must know how to skate yourself. At least one of you should know how to skate.

It’s not for the faint-of-heart, and we simply have to admire your gusto.

I rate ice skating 0.5 slips on the ice out of 0.6 glides – fun!


Mmm, you’ve got good taste and a finger on the pulse. You’ve chosen the wining and dining type of date, and we have to respect you for that. But we’re not here to review you, we’re here to review the venue based on ambiguous and inconsistent factors – like what I decide is a good date spot.

For starters, it’s a gorgeous setting for a date. Great food and reviews all around, whichever way you try to spin it, really. And who doesn’t want to down a Wet Poodle every once and a while.

I rate Poodle seven out of seven glass chandeliers – bougie!

The Casino


But also kind of a vibe?

I rate the Cas 0 money out of 0 interest – stressful.

Sub Club

This one is audacious. If you’ve done it before, please tell me, how does one pull off a date at the club? Do you kick it off at pre drinks, or do you link up on the dancefloor? This one is mysterious, and I’d like to know what kind of person sets up a date at the club. In fact, while we’re here, does anyone actually do that? 

Does anyone go on dates to the club? I’d like to live in a world where they do. 

I rate dating at Sub Club (or any club, really) a fantasy out of 20 – unlikely!