Summary. NGC 6383 is a young open cluster with a strong central core and a possible extended halo. From photoelectric UBV photometry and MK spectroscopy of stars in the core, we find the following; reddening, = 0.33 i 0.02 (sd), apparent distance modulus V-Mv = 11.9 + 0.25 distance d = 1.5 1 0.2 kpc, radius R = 1.25 arcmin (whicn corresponds to 0.54 pc at the derived distance), and an age of 1.7 1 O.4Myr. In the core, we find 21 probable cluster members brighter than B = 14.7, compared with 18 1 4 expected from star counts. Eight stars in the core appear to be pre-main sequence stars. The central star, HD 159176 (a spectroscopic binary consisting of two 07V stars, each of mass 35 1 5 M0, radius 15 1 2R0., and age 2.8 1 0.5 Myr) is probably older than the rest of the cluster core and might have initiated star formation in the core and beyond.