Melbourne is known for a bunch of tourist attractions – Federation Square, Chinatown and the Greek Precinct, and the Australian Centre for Moving Images (ACMI), just to name a few. However, if you’re looking at real estate in Melbourne or you’re visiting Australia’s cultural capital, you have the option to uncover some of the city’s best kept secrets.
Here are some hidden gems, waiting to be found by those who seek them - beyond Federation Square in Melbourne...
There’s no shortage of hip, small bars in Melbourne, but this one is tucked away in a small side street, and you’d be pretty lucky to stumble across it accidentally. Downstairs is the bar – Sweatshop, and above it, the restaurant – Seamstress. Though the names sound a little shady, the food and beverages served there are anything but. Sweatshop has an impressive range of cocktails, and Seamstress changes its menu seasonally. Check out the website for a full menu.
Seamstress is perfect for a nice meal with a bit of a grungy atmosphere, while Sweatshop is the place to go if you want to grab a quick drink and impress your friends.
It’s always good to shop local, and there’s nowhere more local than the Local Shop in Northcote, Melbourne. Populated with gorgeous handcrafted goods and one-of-a-kind trinkets, Local Shop is sure to please thrift-shoppers and those who love having unique items. It’s a good stop-off if you’re looking to decorate your new real estate venture, or find a quirky gift for a friend. The shop is always filled with sweet-smelling bouquets of local flowers, which are also for sale, so you could end up walking out with a hand-stitched tea cosy and a bright floral arrangement. Who doesn’t love the sound of that?
Blackhearts & Sparrows
For the sophisticated wine lovers out there who know about tannins and noses, or those who are just casual fans, there is Blackhearts & Sparrows, Wine Purveyors. They have stores in East Brunswick and Windsor, but their main store is located in North Fitzroy with welcoming, wooden farm doors. The store has a recommendations board, written by the staff and based on the wines they drank the previous week. The staff are very friendly in person as well, and are more than happy to advise you on your wine purchase, or let you sample their wares. Whether you are a seasoned lover of wine, or just want to know more, Blackhearts & Sparrows is a treasure trove of knowledge and wine.
Grub Food Van and Grub Hole
If it’s coffee and a bit of food you’re after, look no further than the Grub Food Van. Unlike most food vans, this one is stationary and only operates during the summer months. It’s parked next to the Grub Hole, whose décor is kitschy but homely, and unlike its van counterpart, is open through the colder months as well. Stop by for a hearty meal and a lovely cuppa; the menu changes frequently, so you’ll have to head on over to see what they have in store – but rest assured, it’s well worth the trip.
Weekend nights, the Grub Hole turns into a bar where you can pick your poison until fairly late. Like the menu, the café/bar’s opening hours are subject to change, so be sure to check out the website to avoid disappointment.
This isn’t necessarily a secret, but being scattered about the city rather than one destination, the Melbourne Laneways can get overlooked and only visited as an afterthought on the way to somewhere else. But these are so much more than just cracks between the buildings; the laneways and arcades have been refurbished to showcase the local artistic talent, and gives a whole new meaning to street art. It’s definitely worth setting aside some time dedicated to walking around the Melbourne Laneways to check out the local talent. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
These are just a few of the secret treasures Melbourne has to offer. The real pleasure comes in stumbling upon a gem of your own. Don’t be afraid to take a wander around the city – you never know what you might find!
Alicia Moore is a Melbournite at heart and a realtor by profession. Currently, she’s looking for real estate in the western suburbs of Melbourne – to see what she’s considering.