Even if this quietly cool inner-city suburb isn’t in your blindspot, you’ve probably missed some of its little treasures. From distinctive shops to a great local pub, we’ve found even more reasons to love North Melbourne.
This joint claims to be Mebourne’s finest gourmet burger specialists, and when you bite into the Full Trolley there’s no arguing. For starters, your mouth will be full and you’ll be rendered speechless by burger bliss! Wonky Trolley’s fully loaded signature sanga has a juicy beef patty, free-range bacon, cheese, egg, pineapple (classic!), leafy bits, relish and aioli. If that’s overwhelming, check out the other beef burgers, chicken burgers like the Cajun and Caesar, and their veg and kids burgers.
Get off the couch, get your posse together and be blown away by Zero Latency’s free-roam VR games. Battle robots on a space station, and the undead in three zombie-themed experiences, or solve puzzles in a family-friendly alien world. It’s social gaming taken to the next level.
Have you discovered multi-talented underground arts space Voltaire? Have a chuckle for zero dollars at the Friday Open Mic Comedy sessions, then come back the next day for The Gong Show. Comics have just 90 seconds to impress audience and judges or face the gong. Stick around and see Melbourne’s emerging cabaret and burlesque talent revealed at Saturday’s Voltaire De Ville Cabaret.
Looking for comfortable, practical but creative, even quirky women’s shoes? Then step right up to Radical Yes, whose designers say ‘no’ to teetering high heels. All their shoes are flats, in styles ranging from smart office sling-backs to lace-ups for fun weekend brunches. Step out feeling great, looking great, and maybe toting some of their sunnies, bags or accessories too.
The Castle Hotel
So you’ve been to a few of North Melbourne’s great pubs, like the legendary Town Hall Hotel and tasty Court House Hotel. How about The Castle Hotel though? Like most of Melbourne, you’ve probably let this friendly local slip under your radar. Not anymore, because their weekly meal deals can’t be ignored. Like Tuesday’s $16.50 parmas of the world, from Sicilian to Hawaiian style, and Sunday’s $22 barbecue ribs bonanza. Chuck in another $2 with any of the weekly specials and you get a pot of Boags too. Cheers!
Kuura Tea Studio
If you need a tea break before kicking off more shopping or eating in North Melbourne, Kuura needs to be your next northside stop. Operated by a one person tea de force, the owner spends several months each year in the Chinese province of Yunnan sourcing authentic tea to bring back to this tranquil little shop. Stop by for a free tasting or rent a table and brew your own tea as a group.
Stranger Than Paradise Gifts
Need a distinctive toy for that special kid or playful presents for your favourite fun-loving adults (maybe even you)? Stranger Than Paradise Gifts has got you covered. Little ones will love everything from jars of unicorn snot to a contraption that turns random bits of paper into beads. For kids at heart there are R2-D2 keepcups and procrastination pencils (as well as grown-up gifts that are more nice than novelty).
North Melbourne Books
You read a lot every day, from work stuff on the computer to Facebook on your phone. But how about treating yourself to a nice, long read of a real book? You know, for pleasure. Head to North Melbourne Books, which stocks new releases and classics for grown-ups and kids. Their staff can give genuine recommendations, because, unlike that online retailer’s algorithm, they’ve actually read a tonne of books.
Twenty and Six Espresso
Good things sometimes come in small packages, like this compact cafe turning out great coffee and food from breakfast until 3pm. Start the day right with Twenty and Six Espresso’s open sandwich of nicely grilled haloumi. It’s colourfully topped with green leaves and avocado, purple beetroot relish and, for an extra $3, a fried egg’s burst of sunshine. Other menu highlights include lemon and herb chicken burgers and espresso shakes.
Martin Fella Vintage
If the thought of all that fast fashion going to landfill doesn’t scare you, what about meeting your fashion twin? The answer is shopping vintage. There’s no need to rummage through op-shop dregs at Martin Fella Vintage, whose curated, frequently updated range includes luxury brands. While you’re there, check out their impressive collectable studio pottery and glassware.