“If you compare Sydney and Melbourne, then Sydney is heaven and Melbourne is hell – but in a good way.” That’s what a Danish woman had said to me at the beach of Bondi (Sydney). After a curious look of me and a laugh from her, she added “It reminded me a litte bit of Berlin.” Now, my time in the young art metropolis, known worldwide for its excellent coffee culture, lies in the past, and I know exactly what my beach-encounter meant.
From the good hell I have brought, for all who want to test the comparison, today a Melbourne guide. If you are planning a trip to the metropolis, I would also like to suggest my blogposts to the hip districts Fitzroy and Collingwood, including a lot of stores, cafés and gallery recommendations, as well as the report about my favorite café in Melbourne: the Plug Nickel. At the end of this post, there is a map with all the tips in an overview.
Before you begin my list of cafe recommendations, I would like to answer a common question: Melbourne vs Sydney which was the best?
Sydney really surprised me and I would Immediately go back for another journey. But Melbourne… with Melbourne it was like love at first (well, second) sight. It’s the kind of place that I could book a one way ticket to and have no regrets. I had so many exciting encounters there e.g. with local artist Gaston or photographer Tim and I was able to explore so many inspiring places. Don’t even get me started on the coffee – it is simply not comparable with the German standard and the coffee scene is still much bigger than in Sydney. So the answer to the question is clear: Melbourne!
As I liked it in Melbourne so much, I felt inspired to make my first travel video there – that you can enjoy here. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments and perhaps there will be more of these in the future.
But now to the coffee: if you wish to explore the specialty coffee scene of Melbourne, do not skip the following steps!
Just before leaving to explore the coffee down under, I went to a small gig in a friend’s cafe in my hometown of Hamburg. Here I met an Australian musician who recommended Little Rouge and asked me to say hi to the owners there. Just a few weeks later I had arrived and right in the centre of Melbourne. Down a small side street, behind an innocuous blue door, I was confronted by a disproportionately big cat stuck to the wall.
The small cafe was flooded by daylight, some hip hop was playing & two asian guys were behind the counter. After I said hello and told them about my encounter with our mutual friend all the way in Hamburg (Joseph, if you read this: I should greet back!). I ordered a flat white and some banana bread and made my way to a spot by the window.
The windows of the Little Rogue Cafe were full of plants and fascinated me as soon as I walked through the blue door.
My conclusion: Breakfast is not available here, but I really like the coffee and the atmosphere. The banana bread was also great and having all the plants in the space was very cool (something I would like to imitate immediately!).
12 Drewery Ln
Melbourne VIC 3000
“Standing Room Only”, on the other hand, warned you when you enter Patricia Coffee Brewers. A café with its own shop floor, which has no seats? I could not imagine that, but you can find this kind of café actually here in Melbourne (apart from the few twisted drinks boxes in front of the black-painted exterior wall of the shop).
Friendly it is nevertheless there and the baristas behind the long bar know exactly what they do. They conjure from the beans of the small batch roastery and from changing guest roasters high class specialty coffee in the middle of the district, in which it is teeming with suitcases. In addition, there are some goodies at Patricia, e.g. The croissants from the manufactory Lune.
Little Bourke St & Little William St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Street Art is, in addition to coffee, another flag ship of Melbournes. But it’s not everywhere allowed in the city – even if you get the impression here quickly. Especially in the small side streets (“lanes”) you can discover an infinite number of small and large urban works of art.
With the Hoiser Lane in Melbourne, however, there is also an area where urban art is legal. A visit here is just a shot of a moment, because Hoiser Lane is always changing. But it is worth it in my opinion very much to look over here, if you are in the city! You will not be disappointed of the many creative graffitis, murals and other kind of art.
Over three years ago, I posted a photo of my Stockholm-Pinterestboard with the words “We love to make coffee for the city that loves to drink it.” After some research I realized that the picture actually was taken in Melbourne and pinnt it around. It may sounds crazy, but this photo with the beautiful sentence was not entirely innocent of my desire to travel to the other side of the world.
The windows on which they are stuck are part of Market Lane Coffee, which originated in a small café, around the corner of the famous Victoria market. When I finally entered the cafe during my trip and realized that one of my favorite bands – Oh Wonder from London – was playing in the little shop, I was just incredibly happy.
109/111 Therry St
Melbourne VIC 3000
And so we have already arrived at my last tip, Brother Baba Budan. The café in the Little Bourke Street is from one of Melbourne’s most famous coffee breweries: Small Batch.
The many chairs that hang on the ceiling here are particularly impressive. But funnily there are not many seats on the floor itself. Really, there is just a single large table in the middle of the small area, as well as a few bar chairs at the counters. But it is still comfortable here and the coffee is great!
359 Little Bourke St
Melbourne VIC 3000
I hope you enjoyed these Melbourne tips. All the others from the blog and the previous five are also available here on a map: