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Melbourne CBD area guide

The best restaurants, bars, shops and events in Melbourne

Photograph: Roberto Seba

From the shopping precincts of Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne Central and the glitzy Paris End of Collins Street, to the markets and galleries of Federation Square, the CBD is a hotbed of activity.

Jump on the free City Circle tram if you’re a newb, which will trundle you past sights like the Melbourne AquariumOld Melbourne Gaol and Parliament House – and of course you’ll want to jump out and explore the coffee, boutiques and street art of the laneways and old arcades.

When you're spent and hungry try to find Izakaya DenCookieCumulus IncMoVida or one of the many iconic Melbourne hangouts. Need a drink? The CBD's best bars and pubs are listed below.

So do the time-honoured thing: meet someone under the Flinders Street Station clocks and explore.

Melbourne highlights

Things to do

The Melbourne bucket list

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Restaurants

Where to eat lunch in the CBD

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Bars

Four bar crawls in the CBD

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Restaurants

The best Flinders Lane restaurants

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The best restaurants in the CBD

Restaurants

Kappo

Simon Denton and business partners Takashi Omi and Miyuki Nakahara have euthanised lunchtime bolthole Nama Nama for something far more ambitious. And in that they’ve succeeded. Kappo catapults itself to the apex of Japanese dining in Melbourne. Bravo. Kappo reveals itself slowly. The entrance is not the obvious door on Spring Street but the discrete side door tucked away on Flinders Lane. As you do for entry to Hihou, the very grown-up bar from the same operators upstairs, you push the buzzer and wait to be admitted. A black-clad waiter will lead you down a darkened corridor into the bijou space - maybe 30 seats, max, the majority of them clustered around the bar (all the better to watch the food being prepared, my dear). It’s a hushed space of elegant textures – rice paper banners on the ceiling, painted glass, and a plush, sound-squelching charcoal carpet. It’s the kind of place diners murmur to each other but there’s really no need. Denton and co bring an ebullience to the role. They’re here to have fun. So is the sommelier, who likes talking up the crazy bubblegum notes in a sake and making provocative matches. Go with it. It’s an omakase restaurant. That either translates here as “no menu – but you get to flag likes and dislikes” or “slow”. Choose from five, seven or nine courses, but commit yourself to the cause for at least two hours. It shouldn’t be a bother. Chef Kentaro Usami comes from Kenzan and his food demands the kind of attention only achieved by setting th

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

The Press Club

It’s high noon, and just like the days of old, the Press Club is filled with a crowd for whom doing lunch is a part of the job. A couple of equine models blouse in and out to smoke and across from us, a group of Amex-toting chunky men are boasting mateship with owner George Calombaris and jocularly baiting the waitress. But this isn’t the Press Club of old. It’s a smaller, smarter operation with a fresh menu, just ten booths, and zero need to suffer fools to fill them. A fact so excellently proved by Calombaris himself, who emerges from the kitchen, gives the men some souvas and bids them all good day. It’s the classiest and only sandwich-based shaming we’ve ever seen, and it says everything you need to know about the all-new Press Club: it’s back. It’s great, and it deserves your damn respect. Gone are the $35 express lunches – you’ve got Gazi for that now. A la carte lunch has a two-course minimum for $50; the degustation is $120 ($140 at dinner) for five courses or $190 for eight, and an odyssey you won’t be coming back from for hours. That’s a solid cash and time commitment. So is it worth it? If you value the sound-vacuum hush you only get from the softest of furnishings, innovative, tweezer-sharp cooking and balletic service from a crew at the top of their game, then the answer is, absolutely. Each dish is delivered by two waiters moving in unison, and the door is so fancy nobody can find it – a seemingly solid wall of gold pipes beyond which lies a deep, narrow pod o

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Coda

The energy of Coda. If there were a way of bottling it you could solve the world energy crisis. It billows out the door onto the cobblestone laneway then drifts along the street where it mingles with the crowds outside Chin Chin. It’s the Flinders Lane fairy dust. Not that the real estate alone is a reason to visit. Not a bit, although it certainly helps. Six years after taking over its sexy basement space where diners can happily cast judgment on the fashionistas’ footwear passing above, the Projects of Imagination fit-out remains razor-sharp. The chicken wire lightshades, a ghostly filigree in pastels, have proven their genius by remaining as cutting-edge today as they did back then. Posing moodily against the subterranean gloss of dark wood, their dim glow makes Coda one of the city’s best options for a first date – although the flipside is that you might want to use the torch option on your smart phone to read the menu. The concept has evolved since chef Adam D’Sylva and his front-of-house partners Mykal and Kate Bartholomew flung open the doors in 2009. Back then it was a slightly tentative approach, mostly Asian with a sub-major in French, with nothing significant by way of the middle ground. It’s more confident now, more resolutely Asian with the snails and parfait kicked to the curb, although it’s held onto the steak tartare with mustard cress as well as the buffalo mozzarella (from local heroes That’s Amore) and zucchini fritters on a pea and mint salad. A Cod

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Tipo 00

Let’s start with the pasta. This is a pasta bar, after all, although that seems to sell Tipo 00 short. Pappardelle, thick ribbons boasting the suppleness of Nadia Comaneci and the right resistance to the teeth, is jumbled up with rabbit braised in white wine, with the toasty crunch of hazelnuts and green specks of marjoram. This is happiness in a bowl. Carb-dodgers be damned. Melbourne’s a town that does pasta either really well or terribly badly. Tipo 00 is a stand-out member of the first category and just as well for them – naming your joint after the high-protein flour the Italians use for making pasta has got to raise expectations somewhere near sky-high. And maybe it’s the result of being on a GI-high, but for anyone who loves not only pasta, but the whole Italian kit and caboodle, this is a darned exciting proposition. It’s a compact spot tucked away on Little Bourke Street and blessed with classic mid-century looks, including a lovely white marble bar with a stage-lit section where the pasta is made (performance art alert!) and a concrete floor cleverly painted in faux-tiles. A hony-tonk version of Moloko’s 'Bring It Back' plays on the stereo while the young staff – led by co-owner Luke Skidmore – schmooze their elegant way through a small but sexy wine list with its heart in Italy and a flirtation with the orange side. It’s hard not to leap from the bentwood stool and grab a plate of fat, textbook tortellini heading to another table, but the Moreton Bay bug risotto

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Izakaya Den

It’s hard to find and has minimal signage. So far, so Melbourne. But find the doorway, descend the stairs, push aside a black curtain and this dark basement venue could be in Tokyo. Owners Simon Denton, Miyuki Nakahara and Takashi Omi opened Izakaya Den six years ago. Their Japanese food empire now includes fine dining restaurant Kappo and elegant cocktail bar Hihou, but Izakaya Den is still the wild child of the family – a less formal place where you come for good times. Minimalists will love the long, moodily lit room with concrete walls and floors, wooden tables and exposed beams. But it’s not all cold, stark angles: black leather couches invite late-night lounging with drinks and the wooden bench-style seats are surprisingly comfortable. The bar has front row seats to watch the chefs in the open kitchen. Dressed in black with patterned bandannas, they move intuitively around each other as they fillet, chop, fry and plate up. It’s near-silent mastery at work, set to the beat of funk music. Once seated, unobtrusive, efficient staff quickly set you up with oshibori (hot towels), water and menus written on scrolls. In Japan, izakaya are informal drinking venues that also serve food. Brush up on your Japanese drinks knowledge with the bar staff, who can help you choose from the extensive offerings. There are Japanese beers – from Asahi to Kirin, with Orion on tap – umeshu (plum wine), sake, shochu (distilled liquor) and a Victorian-focused wine list. Often erroneously ca

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Cumulus Inc

Andrew McConnell once did work experience in a hair salon. He asked us not to tell anyone, but we just can’t imagine what Melbourne dining would be like if the man responsible for Three One Two (RIP), Cumulus Inc, Cutler and Co, Cumulus Up and now Golden Fields had gone all Vidal Sassoon on us. All eyes have been on the ’Fields lately, but with the pending release of a Cumulus cookbook, we decided to go back and see if all is still well in Flinders Lane. To McConnell, Cumulus is the sort of place where he likes to hang out, serving the sort of food that he loves to eat. Which incidentally, is pretty simple stuff. But don’t let that fool you. The beauty of Cumulus is in its restraint - the décor is minimal, letting the natural light and the food on the plate do the work. Oysters are left to rely on their natural charms save for a cheek of lemon, and a bites menu lists unembellished bowls of olives and a straight-up tin of Ortez anchovies (the rockstar of cured fish). It was going to be a lunch and dinner affair only, but upon seeing the beauty of the lofty space in the morning, he decided to go all day long, offering one of the finest breakfasts in town – we’re talking smoky sardines with slow-poached eggs - and damn decent espressos. The service is intuitive, thanks to a crack team of staff lead by Jaden Ong, who always allows the diner to dictate the pace. To do the menu justice, we recommend rolling four deep so you can try everything. From the lengthy charcuterie sectio

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Supernormal

You get a strange same-same-but-different feeling when you walk into Supernormal, Andrew McConnell’s new Japanese-y diner in Flinders Lane. To an extent, it’s everything we’ve come to expect of McConnell – the man behind fancy pub the Builders Arms, Cutler and Co and Cumulus Inc, eateries all defined by understated excellence and simple plates that belie a world of skill. The concrete bunker is atypically artistically sparse and focused on a kitchen bar, behind which the crew are shucking oysters and stuffing steamed buns at warp speed. In vibe, however, this is a restaurant built for the crazy end of Flinders Lane where diners queue for curries, tacos and meatballs like they’re bread rations in a depression. Looks-wise it fits the strip. A pair of glowing neon cherries marks the entrance. Inside, one of the few concessions to décor among the blonde wooden benches and stools is a vending machine of Japanese crack snacks. Downstairs is a private karaoke room so you can smash pork head croquette bao and Bon Jovi simultaneously. Bring the fun. You’ll find a few Golden Fields refugees in the menu mix (the St Kilda restaurant has become wine bar, Luxembourg) including the sweet and squishy New England lobster rolls and the twice-cooked duck – a half or quarter bird with anise-fragrant meat and shatter-crisp skin for tearing up and eating in soft steamed buns. Dumplings by comparison are a little hit and miss. You can’t argue with the Chinese pot stickers – pan-fried pork and pr

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants Book online

Flower Drum

A decade is a long time in restaurant years – especially in Melbourne, land of the fickle diner. So what is it about this high-end Cantonese restaurant that’s kept it kicking strong through 38 years, two recessions, the digital age and a plague of screechers decreeing the death of fine dining? There’s the unwavering attention to detail to start: service at Flower Drum is a carefully choreographed dance, which some of its waiters have been perfecting for 20-plus years. There’s not a second you’re not in someone’s scope from the moment you step into the Market Lane foyer. Hands are shaken. Regulars are greeted by name – they have their own tables and order dishes long gone from the menu. But it’s allowed. So long as executive chef Anthony Lui has the ingredients, he’ll still pull a lemon chicken out of the hat if he’s asked. These days it’s Anthony’s son Jason marshalling the floor with cool, calm efficiency, keeping track of faces and commanding the six to eight waiters who serve each table. With Jason has come a new era for Flower Drum. There’s a long-held myth that to do it right you had to come prepared with a list of secret, retired off-menu dishes. But this is Cantonese, and some Sichuan, rooted in tradition but with all the vitality of chefs who move and flex with the seasons. It’s a mistake to write the current menu off. And that’s something Jason has helped to fix. He’s ushered the restaurant into the digital age (they even have a Facebook page) and revitalised t

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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The best bars in the CBD

Bars

Eau De Vie

Like all good underground operations, EDV takes some seeking. It’s hidden down Malthouse Lane behind a signage-free door that you’d easily mistake for a service entrance. Once you’ve made it through the clandestine entrance, you’ll be greeted by waistcoated staff and buoyant, boisterous jazz tunes. There's the incomparable sense of bonhomie among the drinkers within, as though everyone had stumbled into an exclusive, exotic club. But all of this energy and joie de vivre would be for naught if the drinks weren't up to scratch. In fact, the cocktails and whisky selection are among the country’s best – and although there has been a changing of the guard of late, the service hasn’t skipped a beat. Slip into the clubby, handsome whisky lounge for your choice of 200 single malts, or secure a seat at the bar for a slice of the mixing, shaking and stirring action. Dapper, suited staff hand-cut ice for a sultry EDV Old Fashioned, stirred with Zacapa Rum, Pedro Ximénez, muscovado sugar and spice, heady with warm caramel and chocolate notes. Or choose your own Martini adventure in the Noble Experiment: your selection of a dozen vodkas and gins, plus rinses, bitters and garnishes, served in a flurry of liquid nitrogen. Dirty it up with a slosh of olive brine, dry it out with a whisper of bitters, or funk it up with anchovy-stuffed olives. They’re also fans of tableside theatrics, here, so the absinthe for your No Sleep Till Brooklyn could be ignited right beside you, or your Smoky Rob

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Bars

Hihou

Wear your best socks if you plan on staying a while at Hihou. Once you’ve located the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it entrance on Flinders Lane, near the corner of Spring Street, you’ll be ushered upstairs to a sultry sake den. You can keep your kit on if you’re dining in the front room, home to padded bar stools and tiny, shrunken tables for two, with leafy views over Treasury Gardens. If you’ve booked a spot in the plushly carpeted top-tier dining space, however, you’ll be asked to slip off your shoes before sliding under one of the low-slung tables. Hihou has a stellar hospitality pedigree, hailing from Simon Denton and the crew behind Kappo (Time Out’s 2015 Restaurant of the Year) and Izakaya Den, so the risk of toe-exposure is a small price to pay for the remarkable Japanese fare. There’s the must-order Hihou hot dog, a smoky arabiki pork sausage on a sesame-dusted bun, served with sharp pickled onions and bottles of wasabi mayo and tonkatsu (barbecue sauce) to dollop as you please. ‘Cuban’ spicy tuna cigars are another staple: crisp brik pastry cylinders filled with a fine dice of tuna sashimi and seven-flavoured shichimi pepper. Teriyaki-sweet anago (eel) gets bundled into nori rolls with black rice and the refreshing crunch of cucumber. And golden lotus root chips make perfect beer fodder. You could happily make a meal out of these individual snacks, but if you’ve gone to the effort of untying your shoelaces, you may as well dip into mains territory, too. Pile slices of po

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Bars

Rooftop Bar

Many a Melburnian has weighed up the merits of waiting for the slow-moving Curtin House elevator or trudging the seven flights of stairs up to Rooftop Bar. Usually, the latter wins out, taking you past Cookie, the Toff in Town, and whichever curious design store has popped up since your last visit. Once you've made the hike, reward yourself with a pint of beer, a carafe of ruby-hued sangria or a mug of mulled wine, depending on the weather. Thanks to acres of AstroTurf, garden furniture and sturdy plastic glassware, there’s a chilled backyard-barbecue vibe to Rooftop, even in winter when you’re huddled around heaters. In summer, fair warning though, you might be kicked out once the movie starts at sunset. But once you have a few beers and a burger under your belt, the walk back down the stairs isn't nearly so bad.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Bars

Section 8

After squeezing past the huge bouncers to get into the much-hyped Section 8, you might be disappointed to find yourself standing in what amounts to a vacant lot in Chinatown. Odds are you’ll soon get over it though, when you discover that it’s loaded with booze, good-looking hipsters and enough intriguing graffiti to fill a whole other laneway. While some of the barstaff are more ornamental than skilled, the drinks selection is solid and ranges from top-shelf spirits to longnecks. The bar is housed in a converted shipping container, as are the toilets to the rear, while the rest of the lot is scattered with wooden pallets for seating, with a few Chinese lanterns and parasols to pretty up the bare scaffolding above. The crowd skews young and is heavy on arty types - Section 8 is one of the CBD’s best spots for people watching and there’s a see-and-be-seen element to any night here. It’s a popular venue for DJs and MCs and is busy - and loud - most nights.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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The best hotels in the CBD

Travel

Grand Hyatt Melbourne

There are some travellers that love staying in the heart of a city and walking the town. Admittedly, it’s a favourite past-time of ours here at Time Out and if you haven’t explored Melbourne by foot, there’s never been a better time to do so than now. Located at the ‘Paris’ end of Collins Street, thanks to many high-end French fashion labels that call this part of town home, Grand Hyatt Melbourne is ideal for the bar hopper, shopper and urban adventurer alike. The hotel is looking the finest it has ever been following an extensive refurbishment to the lobby areas, bars, restaurants and a number of rooms, and its club lounge is up there with the best in town. Absolutely request one of the newly-renovated, Joseph Pang-designed rooms which are as equally comfortable for singles, couples and families alike. The couches in front of the windows - even in the standard guest rooms - means some canoodling, snogging or perhaps more with one of the best views in town.

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Travel

InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto

Proving that grand is what 5-star hotels are all about, this property has been redefining what the ‘traditional’ hotel experience should be. InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto doesn’t just also boast a brilliant location in the heart of the CBD, it can also lay claim to be one of Australia’s greenest buildings - when it opened in December 2008 after a huge refurbishment and transition from Le Meridien, it was the first hotel in the world to be Green Globe rated. Now, you could be forgiven for thinking you're staying in a building lined with jail cells thanks to the classical architecture inside the main atrium, but once inside the rooms, you'll find contemporary, spacious digs with the latest technology and top of the line beds. The rooms are comfortable and the grandeur adds quite a romantic feel to any stay - whether it be someone special or a companion you met in a Flinders Lane drinking den a few hours before.

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Travel

Hotel Windsor

Before you even enter this 1883 grand dame, you know you’ve stumbled upon something special. Located opposite Parliament House on Spring St in all its nineteenth-century splendor, The Windsor has played host to Muhammad Ali and Sir Laurence Olivier to name a few. Even if you're not a hotel guest, stop by for afternoon tea - it's a must.

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Travel

The Victoria Hotel

In the heart of the CBD, this iconic Melbourne hotel is conveniently close to all the city's major attractions and venues. Since its inception in 1880, the Victoria Hotel has been the pitstop for thousands of interstate and national tourists.

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More great venues in the CBD

Museums

Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Major exhibitions relating to movie culture happen here as well as screenings in two cinemas.

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Shopping

Queen Victoria Market

The open-air Queen Vic is loud and proud, packed with veteran stallholders who are passionate about fresh produce. Whatever you seek you will find, from fruit and veggies to cured meats and organic poultry.

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Shopping

Emporium Melbourne

By now you’ve probably heard about the big guns: there’s Japanese casualwear giant UNIQLO, the multi-level Topshop Melbourne flagship and the oh-so-fancy café court. But if you’re going to do Emporium, you might as well do it properly, because there are lots of little surprises hidden within its six floors and 48,000 square metres of retail space. Our tip: start at the Lonsdale Street entrance. You’ll get a little pang of nostalgia as you walk through the grandiose 1911 Myer façade, chased with a futuristic hit from the monolithic concierge desk devised by Qantas A380 interior designer David Caon. This is the ground floor, and it’s home to a mixed bag of old favourites like Nine West, Peter Alexander and Swarovski, as well as newbies like Austrian enamel jeweller FREYWILLE. You'll also find top-tier brands include Michael Kors, Victoria’s Secret, Oroton, Furla and Chanel. A ground floor hero also has to be Superglue: a double-storey buffet of brands that's also home to a denim specialist, cafe, lolly pop machine and lots more. As a hub for youth and urban wear, the ground level level is part hipster-tastic, part sport-chic. Delve deep into the darkly-lit Superdry store for some Americana-meets-Japanese-graphics street wear. Turn right toward David Jones, where you’ll find Industrie, Capsule and Mag Nation. The Waiting Room by Dr. Denim – the first stand-alone store in Melbourne from the Swedish jeansmiths – will deck you out in clothes befitting a morning spent with a long

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Museums

State Library of Victoria

Step into the Dome Reading Room at the State Library of Victoria, and you can almost hear the cogs turning in the minds of visitors. People are studying, examining old books, and expanding their knowledge on anything from rare birds to architectural history. But there’s more to the library than first meets the eye. Time Out is taken on an hour-long tour of the library by Cathy Miller, volunteers and tours manager, who has been working there in various roles for over 30 years. (We’ve dubbed her Melbourne’s ultimate book worm.) The library is full of surprises, and you can discover them on the free daily 2pm tour. A guide takes visitors to the far reaches of the library, even to places not open to the general public. We start off in the Queen’s Hall, a grand old reading room that is currently closed off to regular visitors. Miller explains that when the library first opened in 1856, the books had only arrived the night before. “Sir Redmond Barry [the library’s founder] took responsibility for ordering all the books from England,” she says. Here in Queen’s Hall, “Redmond was up all night unpacking books with his sleeves rolled up”. Miller tells us there is allegedly a ghost who plays the piano at night, even though no one has ever died in the library. “I have been told by the managers that they have seen her," she says, "and the electricians never come in here at night.” The domed La Trobe Reading Room is the most extravagant room at the library. It’s so peaceful; every page

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What's on in the CBD

Matilda the Musical

Six years. That's how long Melbourne audiences have had to wait for Matilda, the Royal Shakespeare Company's award-winning adaptation of Roald Dahl's much-loved children's novel. The show quickly became a blockbuster on London's West End, then Broadway, picking up rave reviews along the way (Time Out Sydney dubbed the show a “freaking masterpiece” in their five-star review). Matilda continues to make its way into all-time favourite lists for Minchin's lyrical brilliance, writer Dennis Kelly's innovative storytelling and excellent cast performances. The show is packed with wonderfully revolting moments for kids (remember Bruce Bogtrotter and the chocolate cake scene?) and wistful childhood nostalgia for adults. Tickets are on sale now – buy one soon, lest you end up in a chokey of despair when you miss out. Read what happened when Time Out stepped into Miss Trunchbull (James Millar)'s office. Matilda timeline 1998: Roald Dahl publishes Matilda, with illustrations by Quentin Blake 1996: Danny DeVito directs the film version, with Mara Wilson in the lead role 2010: The Royal Shakespeare Company commissions Tim Minchin to write the music and lyrics to a musical theatre version, which debuts at Stratford-upon-Avon, UK. 2011: Matilda the Musical opens in London’s West End 2012: Matilda the Musical scoops a world-record seven awards at the 2012 Laurence Olivier Awards 2013: Opens in Broadway 2015: Opens in Sydney 2016: Opens in Melbourne

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  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Scorsese

Martin Scorsese has been making films for nearly 60 years. We’ll just let that sink in for a moment. In that time, the New York-born Italian-American auteur has won innumerable awards for films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Gangs of New York, The Last Temptation of Christ and Academy Award-winning The Departed. His career has spanned feature film, documentary, television (he directed HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) and music video (Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’). His films often follow troubled characters as they navigate crime and violence (often in the streets of New York), Italian-American identity, spiritual crises and tumultuous romance. Even now at age 73, the creative powerhouse shows no signs of slowing down. Given Scorsese's indelible mark on the cinematic landscape and on popular culture, it’s almost surprising that this is the first major exhibition to celebrate his legacy. Curated by the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum for Film and Television in Berlin, the Australian exclusive of Scorsese will open at ACMI on Thursday May 26. Scorsese is the newest in ACMI’s impressive series of insightful exhibitions which have delved into the careers of key figures in film and media: among them are Stanley Kubrick (2006) Tim Burton (2010) and most recently, David Bowie (2015). Like David Bowie Is, much of the material for Scorsese has been sourced from the director’s personal collection. Curators also used material from the collections of long-term collaborators like Robert De Niro and Acade

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Art

Degas: A New Vision

Even if the name doesn’t instantly inspire excitement, you’ve no doubt encountered the work of Edgar Degas. The French painter, who lived from 1834 to 1917, is best known for his kinetic, beautifully composed paintings of ballerinas: paintings like ‘The Arabesque’ (1877) and ‘Rehearsal Hall at the Opera, Rue Le Peletier’ (1872) are among the most recognisable paintings from the 19th century. These works, along with more than 200 others, will make their way to Melbourne in June 2016 for the NGV’s Winter Masterpieces exhibition, Degas: A New Vision. In collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the NGV has gathered works by Degas from 41 cities in 13 different countries all over the world, making this the most complex Winter Masterpieces ever. If this wasn’t a big enough coup for the NGV, the exhibition was curated by renowned Degas expert Henri Loyrette, former director of the Louvre. Degas: A New Vision will present the artist’s work thematically, exploring Degas’ preferred subjects: ballet scenes, horse-racing, the nude, women at work and leisure and Parisian nightlife. The exhibition will also delve into Degas’ unique relationship to his artistic contemporaries: despite resisting the label of ‘Impressionist’ (unlike the Impressionists, he was interested in painting artificial light, rather than natural daylight), his preoccupation with scenes of everyday life and increased departures from realism cement him as one of the founders of the movement. In addition to

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Shopping

Fed Square Book Market

At Fed Square's weekly book market, bibliophiles and the generally curious can browse a vast selection of new and second-hand titles encompassing all the genres, presented by a revolving cast of veteran Melbourne booksellers. Tweed jackets are encouraged, but not compulsory. After finding something interesting, stroll upstairs to the Ian Potter Centre for Australian art to round off a satisfyingly cultural Saturday.

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