Heritage-listed buildings sit burrowed between skyscrapers, while theatres and galleries dot the streets, interspersed by cafés, restaurants and bars. Designer labels and boutique brands nuzzle one another at the top end of Collins Street, while a taste of the East can be found as you wander through the city’s lively Chinatown.
Buried in the heart of the city, you’ll find Downtown Yoga and Pilates. Owner Zibby Aitken-Valtenbergs has created a sublime oasis cached from the bustling outside metropolis. You will leave recharged and restored in no time. Boasting light and airy yoga and reformer pilates studios, you can maximise your working day by sneaking in one of their tailor-designed lunchtime classes and top it off with the complementary herbal tea or seasonal fruit on offer.
Blurring the boundary between café and restaurant Higher Ground has quickly established itself as a Melbourne institution since opening its doors in 2016. A former power station with 15-metre high ceilings and dramatic arched windows, the otherwise cavernous space retains an intimate atmosphere through inspired design and furnishings. Once you’ve pored over the tantalising menu, allow yourself to feel immersed in the grandeur of the space. It is truly a brunch spot that is a feast for the senses.
Nestled under the canopy of a heritage-listed, 150-year-old coral tree, is Trunk Diner. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from an extensive menu of American diner classics, you’ll find something to sink your teeth into at Trunk. With a spacious beer garden and the sophisticated Pepe’s Italian housed in the neighbouring 1850’s former synagogue, it’s little wonder this gem at the cusp of the city is always a hive of activity.
When it’s time to unwind head into Garden State Hotel located on Flinders Lane. Former home to a Victorian-era textile mill and more recently to the iconic Rosati, recent extensive renovations have breathed new life into the site. With an expansive indoor beer garden, no longer will you find yourself beholden to Melbourne’s temperamental weather. Home to both a public and basement bar, beer garden and restaurant, no matter the occasion Garden State Hotel is your venue.
A few doors up you’ll find Trinket, a bar aptly named after the impressive collection displayed en masse in a bespoke wall feature and sprinkled throughout the space. Trinket also serves up some pretty tasty fare which includes stone-baked sourdough pizzas and charcuterie boards. Whether you’re reclining with a drink in the sumptuous velour couches or heading through the wardrobe door to the hidden cellar bar below, Trinket is one Melbourne bar not to be missed.
At the northern end of the city at the tip of Chinatown sits Annam. Founded to share his traditional home cooking with a larger audience, owner and chef Jerry Mai has curated a contemporary Vietnamese menu which is saturated with flavour and flare. Be sure to try the signature squid ink cuttlefish or tamarind caramel sticky pork hock. With a world of food and fashion, entertainment and events, cafés and culture right at your doorstep, it’s little wonder Melbourne is one of Australia’s most prized postcodes.