If there's one thing the Melbourne coffee industry can pride itself on – other than its consistent excellence in producing a quality cup – it's making the best out of a small space. The Melbourne CBD is like a warren of hideaway cafes tucked in tiny lane ways, hidden up flights of stairs, behind other buildings or poking out of windows.

But on the ground floor on the parliament side of town, The Fair Trader couldn’t be any further from the CBD norm – boasting a huge amount of space, with tables for two to 10, it caters to the working crowd with a knowledge like it had worked in the cubicle next to yours for a decade.

The best things about The Fair Trader are that almost everything on the menu is available for eat in or takeaway (for those work-through-lunch days) and that the long opening hours make it a truly versatile spot. The day begins with breakfast staples from the crack of dawn (with coffee for before you start work from the likes of St ALi) before it seamlessly blends to a laid-back, contemporary lunch menu (with burgers, sandwiches and the like) which continues right up until 5pm, providing that late-afternoon coffee pick-me-up that so many of us rely on to get through the workday. On Friday, The Fair Trader also handles knock-off, keeping it's doors open until midnight so you can still catch the last tram home.

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Updated: March 13th, 2018

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