Establishment neighborhood
Lucy Folk Salon
151 Albert St., Windsor
We fell in love with Lucy Folk’s quirky edit in Sydney and were thrilled to discover another Folk store in Melbourne’s Windsor neighborhood. The edit is a mishmash of all the brands and products we’re crazy about—cotton scrunchies, made-in-Morocco boiler suits, Turkish towels—under one, warehouse-style roof. Folk has a penchant for sunglasses, and the lineup at the salon includes Round the World, Shady Ships, Short & Sweet, and a number of other brands we had never seen before—and wanted immediately. But it’s the bespoke jewelry service we come back for, again and again. Stop by and create a one-off piece with the in-house design team to keep forever.
Albert Coates Ln., CBD
Incu’s sole Melbourne store is for the guys. Expect an international mix of clothing and apparel, including Common Projects sneakers, Comme des Garçons tees, and Acne Studios sweaters. Sydney is home to the womenswear store, but if you cannot handle the thought of leaving Australia without that Ganni slip dress that’s sold out at home or the adorable crochet Suryo bucket bag exclusive to the store, fear not. You can order whatever you like online for next-day delivery to your hotel room.
Christian Kimber
264 Johnston St., Fitzroy
Christian Kimber was born in England and cut his teeth designing shoes for the Brit brand Lodger. After decamping to Melbourne, Kimber craved a more toned-down iteration of classic British men’s tailoring and decided to make it himself. His Fitzroy store is deeply fun to shop in. Espresso is proffered upon entry, and the chocolate-colored suede bombers, worn denim oxford shirts, and cotton crewnecks are casual enough for the café (Australians ingest a steady stream of long blacks and flat whites throughout the day), yet tailored just enough for the office and dinner. Images courtesy of Karen Woo.
Brunswick Street Bookstore
305 Brunswick St., Fitzroy
There’s something about hunting down the local independent bookstore, choosing a new title and savoring it (marking and underlining as you go) when on vacation. Maybe our concentration is better when a pinging inbox isn’t our first scroll of the day, or maybe it’s the stimulation of a new place and people that gets the imagination going. Brunswick Street Bookstore has been serving up incredible books to Fitzroy residents for nearly thirty years, and a browse through the heaped shelves when you’re in the neighborhood is a must.
18 Punch Ln., CBD
Word of chef Khahn Nguyen’s Vietnamese-Malaysian mashup has spread quickly through Melbourne; for us, for whom any vegetable-forward dish showered in fresh herbs and unidentifiable, crispy, crunchy things is catnip, it was a siren call. Nguyen cut his teeth in Sydney’s most-celebrated kitchens—including a stint at Noma’s Sydney pop—but the Sunda menu is all him. Flaky roti (you need to ask for it, and you should) is ready to dip in a curry sauce spiked with Vegemite. Fresh slivers of scallop are stuffed in betel leaves with salty cucumbers for zing and crunch. Prepare to knock elbows with your neighbor at the bar seats, but the closely packed crowd just adds to the exuberant conviviality of the place, and the loud chatter and clinking glasses warm the otherwise-industrial space right up.
Hotel Esplanade
11 The Esplanade, St. Kilda
St. Kilda’s Hotel Esplanade (the Espy to locals) markets itself as a pub, but we’ve never, ever (even in Ireland) been to a five-story pub, until now. All the classic pub ingredients are here in abundance: There’s the beer (over 200 taps) and proper fish and chips. But there are also less-conventional aspects, like the Cantonese food on level one and regular ghost tours. Come for a late lunch, stay through to dinner when the live music kicks off, and chase the celebratory atmosphere that runs up and down the many floors. Images courtesy of Jackson Grant.
Neighborhood Wine
1 Reid St., Fitzroy
Fitzroy is the epicenter of Melbourne’s wine-bar scene, and Neighborhood Wine embodies the best of its casual, drop-in-and-say-hi vibe. Every minute spent in the wood-paneled, candlelit space feels like being in a warm cocoon…with wine and snacks on tap. For the solo traveler, this spot is one to bookmark: Slide onto a stool at the bar for a glass of something unusual the sommelier has kindly recommended, friendly Melburnians on either side will probably start chatting to you over platters of salumi and, inevitably, more wine. Suddenly, you’ve befriended the locals, that solo drink has turned into supper, and you stayed for a wedge of plum tart dolloped with almond cream.
Marion Wine
53 Gertrude St., Fitzroy
Marion is one of those ridiculously inviting, vibey bars that you stop into for “one, just one,” and stay for dinner. Why? If you’ve managed to snag a coveted window seat, the people-watching is so good, you can’t leave. The wine list travels from Australia’s Yarra and Clare valleys to the best of Bordeaux. Every bottle and bite here is considered: Franciacorta by the glass in place of prosecco; complex, spicy, burnt honey instead of the usual sweet stuff; and verjus over vinegar in the salad dressing. So commandeer those window seats, settle in for a long evening of rare sips, and order the halloumi with that spicy honey and the fork-tender roast chicken. Images courtesy of Harvard Wang.