Visiting Melbourne for the Australian Open? Here’s where to stretch your legs before, between and post matches
Young Melbourne meets 1980s China: that’s how the group behind hotspots Tokyo Tina and Hanoi Hannah is describing its AO pop-up, Beijing Betty. Located in the Grand Slam Oval’s Chinatown precinct, the restaurant gives Cantonese classics modern twists. It offers both dine-in experiences and “grab and go” takeaway boxes that are perfect for families.
AO Live Stage
Craig David, Angus & Julia Stone, Dean Lewis, The Teskey Brothers and Bastille are all set to perform at the AO Live Stage (from 13 to 27 January), located on Birrarung Marr. There will be two acts per day and the space has been reimagined this year, with a custom-built shade structure for sunny spells.
Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Bar
This two-storey bar at the Grand Slam Oval offers visitors plenty of social media opportunities – the two-person Love Swing and the Piper’s Perfect Match, which purports to analyse the level of closeness between two people, are the pick of the bunch. Plus there’s a big screen broadcasting all the tennis action so there’s no FOMO.
AO Chef Series
Housed in The Glasshouse – an events space opposite Rod Laver Arena – the AO Chef Series promises dream fine dining, with some of the world’s best cooks (such as Simone Zanoni from Paris’s Michelin-starred Four Seasons George V) creating gourmet meals. Tickets – which include a ground pass – go faster than you can say, “I’ll have what she’s having” so book ahead.
The $5 kids’ ground pass is a whopper of a deal; it gives little ones access to quite a few courts, plus the AO Ballpark – a tennis-y wonderland with a 12-metre waterslide, climbing wall, daily stage shows and the Fan Zone, where kids can practise their skills. Childcare is available via the AO Kids Club for children aged five to 12, with a “best-of” events and activities program for youngsters. It all takes place on the eastern side of the precinct, in front of the arena.
Reunion Island Pool Club
Perched atop the CBD’s busy Melbourne Central shopping mall, this private club hires out plunge pools – $100 will get you an hour for four people and a beverage each. Enjoy sweeping city views with LA-style poolside fare (club sandwiches and burgers with a dash of originality) from onsite eatery The Kiosk, as a custom Bang & Olufsen Bluetooth speaker connected to your phone plays your favourite tunes.