If your ideal city break includes mouth-watering brunch spots, excellent street art and a bunch of hot people with tattoos, I’d prescribe a stay in Melbourne, one of our favourite cities. Here, the suburbs of Fitzroy and Collingwood will make all your hipster dreams come true.
We were lucky enough to see in the New Year in sunny Melbourne, catching up with family we hadn’t visited in a long time. However, in order to spend a bit of sister, sister bonding time and for Soph to take a stroll down memory lane in her old stomping round, we took off for a week to get up close and personal with the neighbourhoods of Fitzroy and Collingwood – by far our favourite parts of Melbourne. Here’s why you might want to hit them up…
Fitzroy and Collingwood – so hip they hurt
Don’t just take my word for it – the Telegraph recently ranked Fitzroy as one of the top 25 most hipster neighbourhoods in the world, and nearby Collingwood isn’t far behind. Close enough to hop on a tram to the CBD, but far enough away to have formed its own unique identity, these are the spots where the street walls and hot beverages are works of art and hapless travellers have rocked up for a visit only to fall down the rabbit hole and wake up two years later – sporting designer beards, fresh tattoos and considering marrying an Aussie to allow them to stay in the country.
Whilst I definitely overheard at least one person discussing their mission to ‘find themselves’ and ordering a coffee has never been quite so complicated, I loved Fitzroy and Collingwood for the alternative culture and abundance of quirky places to eat, shop and drink.
Shop your quirky socks off
If independent shops and boutiques are your thing or you like to get lost for hours in vintage stores, Gertrude Street and Smith Street are chock full of the lot. Fitzroy and Collingwood’s specialist book shops, quirky homeware stores and cool places to browse vinyl, all set to a backdrop of eye-catching street art, will have you shopping your hipster socks off.
One of my favourite stores was Dangerfield on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy – stylish rockabilly garb and accessories with a pin-up girl edge. Just wish I’d had more dollar to spend – but those aperol spritzes won’t buy themselves!
Dive bars and rooftop drinks
Fitzroy and Collingwood have more than their fair share of cool, alternative bars as well as the more trendy rooftop spots where you can chase your aperol spritz with a long, cool look down at the city. It’s a nod to how hip the neighbourhood is when you pop into a grungy dive bar that would probably only serve snakebite here in the UK and the bartender offers you soy milk for your immaculate coffee.
We toasted our arrival in Fitzroy with cocktails at Naked in the Sky, the rooftop bar above Naked for Satan (another name I loved). Here, you can check out that Melbourne city skyline and peer down at bustling Brunswick Street from way up high.
Black Cat and Kent Street were two of my favourite hole-in-the-wall bars in Fitzroy whilst The Rainbow pub offers a delish and diverse menu of food as well as a lovely big beer garden for alfresco eats and drinks.
Also, you can’t ignore the giant baby that decorates the front of Bimbo’s, a trashy yet fun bar with sweet cocktails, a sunny rooftop and super cheap pizza.
I feel like we barely scratched the surface of the Fitzroy bar scene on this trip – guess I’ll need to head back there soon to continue my exhaustive study.
Food – go hard or go home
Finally, if you’re looking to brunch harder than you ever thought was humanly possible, check out our best brunch spots in Melbourne post – you’ll find more than a few in Fitzroy and Collingwood.
De Clieu was my favourite Fitzroy brunch spot where the eggs and atmosphere were on fleek, whilst the Collingwood crown belongs to either South of Johnston with its five dollar mimosas, or Proud Mary which won me round as soon as I heard the name (classic choon).
When it came to later in the day, Vegie Bar completely had me at hello as I can’t resist a creative menu that manages to make dreary old rabbit food incredibly tempting and delicious. I was a little bit obsessed with this awesome vegetarian institution and wanted to try everything on the menu.
So, if you’re thinking of heading to Melbourne anytime soon and trying to find somewhere that’s got that cool factor without being out woop woop, drop by Fitzroy and Collingwood. And say hello, from us.
All pics by Alex Saint