Poke the Bear

7:00am - 4:30pm
2A Mitchell Street Northcote 3070


good for groups
outdoor area

Ryan Cassidy wrote the first menu for his Northcote cafe, Poke the Bear, while soaking up some sun in Bali – somewhere he visits five or six times a year.

Cassidy is the former part-owner of Albert Park’s Truman Cafe and Elwood’s Veruca Salt. Poke the Bear took over the space previously inhabited by Radio Mexico’s northside sibling Radio Mexico Norte – he used to own Truman with Radio Mexico owner Adele Arkell.

The Radio Mexico fit-out was mostly carried over to Poke the Bear with a few changes, including the addition of distressed plantation blinds and large rattan light fittings to give the space a Bali holiday vibe.

Knick-knacks collected over years from the Indonesian island are dotted throughout, such as miniature wooden drawers with a handle to crack the peppercorns and a polarising baby bunny ornament on the shelf above the bar.

Hot drinks, including Wide Open Road coffee and Ayurveda teas, come with a little strip of paper printed with quirky words of wisdom and quotes. The menu is jammed with many “poke” and “bear” puns and references – Goldie Locks is porridge with cinnamon, buckwheat and Brazil nut crunch; Bear Minimum is two eggs on toast; Bear Grylls is a lunchtime burger. You get the picture.