Karaoke rooms, mezzanines and more: Beat's Guide to Melbourne's best hidden gems

All the hidden function rooms you 100 per cent won't know about.

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You know Melbourne’s gastronomy scene like the back of your hand. You’ve found a slew of bars that sling great espresso martinis, you can recommend where to snag a late Friday night bite and your backlog of ‘places to brunch at’ is verging on ridiculous. But what about when your dining posse accumulates a few extra plus one’s than usual, or you’ve been put in charge of planning a night for the ages? We’ve wandered up winding staircases and flung open elusive back-of-house doors to find Melbourne’s most-hushed dining function spaces, all with panache and the promise of a good time. 

Just when you thought your favourite Chapel Street cocktail and bao trove couldn’t get better. At the back of Tokyo Tina awaits a compact karaoke vault room, tucked away from the clamour of the main suite and boasting just enough space for you and your mates to pull off a rehearsed rendition of ‘Spice Up Your Life’. Fit for six to ten people, bookings made here mean signing up for TT’s All In menu, so you can graze on a curated selection of pan Asian fare while belting out ‘Mr Brightside’. 

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Tailor your soirée, boozy brunch or fairy-lit courtyard dinner at Torpe Café. This Armadale gem spans two hidden, totally technicolour rooms that your entourage will swoon over. The Pink Room comfortably seats 20, whereas the Blue Room maxes out at 15. Think bold, block-colour walls, adorned by antique ephemera in this avant-garde foray into the Melbourne dining arena. 

For a flurry of South American cuisine, bypass the airport and get Chile-bound in North Fitzroy at Citrico Cocina. Custom made tables, bentwood chairs, pendant lighting, Latin-inspired artwork and undulating natural light are the hallmarks of the upstairs dining house. Imbibe Pisco Sours and devour golden empanadas in this exotic microcosm of all things fiesta, just a flight of stairs up from CC’s cosy base camp.

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If neon signage, a potent drinks menu and Instagram-worthy backdrops are your thing, your next shindig should kick off at Neo Lemonade. Elevated from the main restaurant below, this glamorous dining mezzanine is the ideal space to start your night out in style, with a side of squid-ink fettuccine. 

For the larger gatherings, the almighty 21sts and the grandiose wedding after parties, Black Rock’s True South has to be the most quintessentially Bayside spot to throw a big one. Offering not one, not two, but three epic function spaces, you can knock back a few cold ones while presiding over panoramic vistas of the bay. Upstairs, there’s a dance floor and balcony to watch the sunset, while The Dining Room and The Cellar were made for cocktail parties.

By Genevieve Phelan