Polite Society’s August Social Diary

Ghost stories and gothic architecture – venture out this month if you dare


Sure, we love smart dinners at Nomad, but we suspect the group’s new venture in Melbourne might be our new favourite destination. Inspired by French brasseries, Reine & La Rue is housed in the historic former Stock Exchange building on Collins Street, with granite columns and a soaring gothic ceiling adding an incomparable theatricality to proceedings. Reine is the 150-seat restaurant (think oysters shucked to order, rib eye with bordelaise and frites, café de Paris butter!), while La Rue is an adjacent eight-seat speakeasy in the stately Cathedral Room. We can’t wait to pull up a chair and sample some of the 700 wines on offer. Opens 1 August, 380 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Ann Patchett fans (and all bibliophiles with a penchant for family dramas) will want to rush to their local bookstore this month for the publication of Tom Lake, her ninth novel. Covering youthful love, married love, and the lives parents lead before their children, this reading experience is as lovely as they come. Out August 1, Bloomsbury.  
Melbourne’s annual celebration of film is back for its 71st year. With an impressively eclectic program of premiere showcases, international features, galas and panel discussions, cinephiles can experience the festival either in Melbourne, at select regional screenings across Victoria, or online later in the month. If you opt for the metro option, be sure to check out Broadsheet x MIFF's food and movie pairing for the perfect night out. Melbourne International Film Festival, 3 — 27 August
If, like us, you loved Charlotte Wood’s 2019 bestselling novel The Weekend, then you will be excited to learn that it has been adapted for stage, and makes its world premiere at Belvoir St Theatre this month. Funny, moving and refreshingly honest, it’s the perfect excuse to get the book club together for an excursion. Belvoir St Theatre, 5 August – 3 September.
If you prefer your theatre on the spookier side, English playwright Danny Robins’ haunted-house thriller 2:22: A Ghost Story is now showing at Her Majesty's Theatre. Featuring a star-studded Australian cast including Ruby Rose and Gemma Ward, come for the supernatural and stay for the social commentary. 2:22 – A Ghost Story plays Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne for a strictly limited four-week season until 20 August 2023. 
Oscar-winning thriller Parasite captured the world’s attention in 2019 and we’ve been consuming South Korean cinema at a rapid rate ever since. Now, the Art Gallery of NSW is hosting a retrospective – Flowers in Hell – that brings together over 20 titles from one of the most vital film industries in the world. AGNSW promises “squirming octopi, avenging heroines and early K-pop stars,” and entry is free. Sign us up! Flowers in hell: a Korean cinema retrospective, Wednesdays, Sundays 19 July – 22 October 2023 2pm, 7.15pm Art Gallery of New South Wales South Building Lower level 3, Domain Theatre
Meanwhile, the crew behind Gimlet have opened an intimate cocktail bar with as much old-world charm as its ‘big sister’. With a menu of snacks and share plates created by Gimlet head chef, the petite bar is housed in McDonald House: a neo-Renaissance style building that was made to drink martinis in. Apollo Inn, 165 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000.