From fondue to fedoras, licorice all-sorts to all sorts of classic tunes, this city loves the best of the past. Step back in time at these shops, bars and clubs.
Get the look: shop for vintage and vintage-inspired clothes
Bypass fast fashion and delve into classic and distinctive styles that have stood the test of time. From 1940s frocks to 1990s band T-shirts, bags and boots, your next bold fashion statement awaits at Melbourne’s vintage stores. Like Yesteryear Vintage Clothing, which stocks clothes and accessories from the 1950s to 2000s. Or Retrostar Vintage Clothing, where the time-travel-o-meter goes even further back to the 40s. Out Of The Closet, whose gear is so cool they supply costumes for films, TV and fashion shoots. Or Vintage Sole, where treasures are carefully curated and presented.
Rediscover lollies from childhood and other retro treats
Remember when there was nothing nicer than a sugary treat (then a sneaky second or third!)? Relive those innocent days at The Original Lolly Store, which specialises in old-fashioned sweeties like licorice all-sorts, lollypops, sugared almonds and humbugs.
Get a bag of mixed lollies from Grigons & Orr Corner Store’s big jars of retro favourites, like freckles, teeth and bananas. It’s part milk bar, part cafe. We would even say tearoom-meets-diner, because they offer milkshakes, spiders, jaffles, crumpets and scones. Teapots stay warm with cosies knitted by the owner’s mum!
Abba-solutely fabulous 70s food and cocktails
At Madame Brussels, it’s 1976 and Bjorn Borg has just won Wimbledon for the first time. Astroturf, cute outdoor furniture and waiters in skimpy tennis whites create a kitschy-sexy rooftop garden-party vibe among the skyscrapers. It’s the perfect place for retro cocktails, like a Mai Tai, Moscow Mule or Bloody Mary.
Rediscover fondue, the grooviest thing to eat in the 70s, at The Swiss Club of Victoria’s restaurant. Gather round a warm, gooey pot of melted gruyere and emmenthal cheeses, garlic and white wine, then dip, eat and repeat!
Dance the night away
Was music better in the past? If you leave out the countless dud songs and pump up the volume, it definitely sounds awesome! Believe yours ears at The Toff in Town’s Friday sessions, Pop Rocks, where the hit parade spans Chuck Berry to Katy Perry. Whether you like dancing to doo-wop or disco, hip hop or house tunes, DJ Dr Phil Smith will treat you right.
There are more dancefloor classics at Club Retro, or take to the water with the Retro Cruise Dress Up Boat Party. DJs and cover bands heat up the Lady Cutler’s two dance floors with songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Play vintage pinball and video games
Have a Stranger Things night out, without the malevolent monster, at Bartronica. The classic arcade games rotate, so you might find yourself high scoring on Street Fighter or a Daytona racing simulator between 80s themed cocktails.
You can also play video games at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image’s Games Lab interactive exhibition, and it’s also free. At Pinball Paradise, Australia’s first dedicated pinball bar, choose from 17 machines old and new, including a 1992 Star Wars pinny. Drinks and food keep the good times rolling in this kidult wonderland.
Shop for vinyl
After almost dying out, vinyl records are back thanks to their luscious sound, big, often beautiful packaging, and all-round retro, hands-on experience. Melbourne is blessed with many music stores that stock vinyl old and new, including the legendary Basement Discs and Heartland Records. They’ve been around since the early 90s, while the underground musical treasure trove Wax Museum Records opened in 2006, around the time vinyl struck back. Across the other side of town on Lonsdale Street, Rocksteady Records offers good grooves, vinyl, turntables and more – with a fierce local focus.
Shop for classic pop-culture treasures
Are you looking for a Godzilla action figure? Pokemon plush toys? Dragonball Z DVDs? Early Studio Ghibli merchandise? One Stop Anime can feed your cravings for classic Japanese pop-culture (and new stuff too!). They also stock some good old Western favourites, like Alien and original-style Superman action figures. Or visit Classic Comics for an exhaustive array of comics, trade paperbacks, games and toys.