Collingwood is only on the other side of Smith Street from Fitzroy, but the two suburbs feel quite different. Where Fitzroy is mostly quaint terrace houses, Collingwood has long been a hub for light industry – mechanics, sheet-metal fabricators, commercial drycleaners and the like. Gradually, though, these businesses are moving out and their spacious tenancies are being put to new uses.

Converted warehouses now hold coffee roasters such as Proud Mary and Acoffee; bars including Rupert on Rupert and Stomping Ground; and retailers such as Lululemon. As in most parts of inner Melbourne, developers have turned many other sites into apartment blocks.

This hasn’t changed things too much – yet. Schoolhouse Studios, a collective of 90-plus artists in another warehouse on Rupert Street, is upholding Collingwood’s freewheeling, alternative spirit. Ditto for Backwoods Gallery on Easey Street, which works mainly with local street artists.

Collingwood is also home to the Tote and the Gasometer, two of Melbourne’s most important live music venues, and the Peel, one of the city’s most famous gay pubs.


  • At this specialist noodle joint, organic Tasmanian buckwheat is milled on site and rolled into 100 per cent gluten-free soba noodles fresh every day. Try them hot or cold.

  • An acclaimed, set menu only fine-diner featuring punchy, technique-driven dishes.

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  • Head here for sturdy pies filled with mac’n’cheese, confit duck, bacon and eggs, and lasagne by acclaimed chef Raymond Capaldi.

  • At this playful Latin American diner, you can watch the chefs prep pinchos and anticuchos (Peruvian skewers) by the open kitchen. Or, slide into a booth for woodfired dry-aged steak, Grapefruit Margaritas and maximalist vibes.

  • After more than 40 years, this classic Greek spot still brims with diners most nights. It stays true to tradition with pan-fried saganaki, house-made Greek dips, lamb sliced from the gyro and hot plates of charcoal-cooked seafood.

  • Three Gerald’s Bar alums run this wine bar, which is bursting with personality. Its ever-changing menu includes a daily staff meal, as well as drinks like the Cookie Monster cocktail and “Butter Beer” served warm.

  • A cafe by day and izakaya by night. Mornings are for bowls of salmon- or Wagyu-topped rice with an umami-rich broth. And in the evenings, sake cocktails and snacky bites like mirin-dressed oysters come out.

  • Acclaimed chef Scott Pickett returns to his roots at this swish bistro. With its caviar service, playful spins on Gallic staples and a dining room that recalls Paris in the 1930s, this place is a spirited entry to the genre.

  • A late-night bar bringing the flavours of New Orleans and Texan barbeque to Melbourne.

  • Fancy a no-nonsense burger served five storeys up inside an old-school train carriage? This place – and only this place – is for you. Easey’s doesn't coast by on its looks alone, though. These are some of the best burgers you’ll find anywhere in town. The view is pretty great, too.

  • This vegan pizza joint will please everyone (even the most avid carnivores). Pass the neon-red sparrow to find perfectly blistered woodfired pie that’s loaded with toppings.

  • This place specialises in Hamamatsu-style gyoza, which is served in a crisp, hot spiral. But Chotto Motto doesn’t just do one thing well. Beyond the main event, there are impressive katsu sandwiches, juicy karaage (chicken or cauliflower), and a beer vending machine for cold Japanese suds. Its siblings, Neko Neko and Wabi Sabi Salon, are also worth a visit.

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  • A menu that flits between classic pub grub and modern, Asian-inspired “beer food” are what separates this historic pub, the former Robert Burns, from others in the area.

  • Fire-based cooking reigns supreme at the second iteration of Shannon Martinez’ pioneering vegan diner, suitably housed inside an old red-brick fire station. Choose from Mediterranean-inspired dishes and booze à la carte, or grab a seat at the intimate chef’s table and let the experts choose for you.

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  • A charming little Japanese restaurant with a cluttered interior that feels a bit like being in Japan. Dinners here are great but everyone loves the lunch deals, which involve bento boxes or sushi and miso sets.

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  • Venue number two from the Mamasita crew introduces a careful element of kitsch but loses none of the attention to detail that made its older sibling such a hit. Take a seat at the bar, order a frosty Michelada and snack on some *huitalacoche* (corn fungus) tacos. Even if you've been to Mexico, you won't find the experience lacking.

  • A micro Middle-Eastern diner where Israeli hummus is treated as a dish – not a dip.

  • Vego and vegan-friendly Middle Eastern on Smith Street.

  • Authentic Ethiopian cuisine and live music make this a stand-out venue.

  • It’s the simple burger joint Melburnians have fallen hard for.

  • A cheery place for a Japanese lunch.

  • The walls are Barbie pink and there's a vinyl only soundtrack. This isn't your typical Malaysian joint.


  • Sit on a milk crate and enjoy caramel-filled Argentinian pastries, updated escargot and slow-fermented bread.

  • Collingwood cafe Lemon, Middle and Orange proudly exudes an industrial heritage – through the space and the menu.

  • Grab a tray and shuffle down the cafeteria-style counter for hot vegan brekkies, daily salads and desserts. Or hit the vegan deli and carvery for vegan cold cuts, sandwiches, pantry items and more.

  • Melbourne isn’t short on sandwich shops. But there are few doing it quite like Stef and Diana Condello. Come for classic Italian sandwiches, including a house-roasted porchetta number with crackling.

  • Behind a red roller door, this bakery doubles down on the pastries found at the nearby Falco flagship. Find bagels, loaves and more alongside its wildly popular sandwiches and peanut-butter-miso cookies.

  • “Cibi” is Japanese for “little one”. But this cafe, homewares and furniture store is not so little. It's in a light-filled warehouse with a spacious, homey kitchen, there are traditional breakfasts and takeaway lunches. Plus, a grocer with produce and pantry goods to take home.

  • The New Zealand coffee company has expanded with its first Melbourne roastery and cafe in Collingwood.

  • Proud Mary represents Melbourne coffee in a way that few roasters do. Its bright flagship cafe just off Smith Street was a trailblazer when it opened in 2009, offering then-novel extraction methods (V60, Aeropress, cold drip) for its blends and single origins – all roasted a block away at Aunty Peg's. Whether you’re feeling intrepid or sticking to the usual, there’s a brew here for you.

  • One of Collingwood's first serious cafes and still hugely popular.

  • Two industry veterans run this spacious indoor-outdoor warehouse, where the coffee (some of Melbourne’s best) is roasted on site and the vibes are always high thanks to a deep connection with the city’s house and techno scenes.

  • Sweet and savoury tarts that have a cult following for good reason. Crowd favourites include the classic lemon; tiramisu; and caramel and chocolate custard tarts.

  • An Italian-inspired cafe with excellent grab-and-go breakfast and lunch options, and a lush rear courtyard. Don't leave without a visit to their European-inspired goods store (think gorgeous glassware, statement plates and tagines).

  • A takeaway-only deli serving hulking mortadella sandwiches; four-cheese toasties with French dip; and crispy, curly fries. These sangas also come with a soundtrack – an eclectic mix of vinyl spins behind the counter all day long.

  • A modern take on the old corner store.

  • All-day breakfasts and “feel-good” food.

  • The focus here is on okonomiyaki – savoury Japanese pancakes. They come with all kinds of toppings, from pork and kimchi to mushroom. The rest of the menu is rounded out by classics including omurice, shokupan sandos and teriyaki chicken. Enjoy it all in the homey dining room or in the sunny courtyard.

  • Proud Mary's vast roasting house is also an excellent place to sample the product and learn more about how it's made.

  • The social initiative has come a long way from its coffee-cart origins.

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  • Less a cafe, and more a flying pitstop for first-class coffee and simple food.

  • A sleek and sparse roaster and cafe in a converted garage.

  • Simple and diet-friendly eats in a bright, playroom-like take on Scandinavian design.


  • In an old furniture warehouse, you’ll find sour-coffee ales and beer that mimics wine. Plus, a schmick Southeast Asian restaurant (and beer garden) next door with kangaroo tartare, twice-fried chicken wings and more.

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  • This compact brewery punches above its weight with a lush beer garden, birria tacos and crowd-pleasing drinks. Its house brews span the traditional to more experimental, from easy-drinking algers to hoppy IPAs and sours.

  • This saloon-style pub has an Elvis fixation. The boot-worn floorboards feel lived in, and you might even catch a cowboy hat-wearing country act. The food sticks to the Americana theme: think Southern fried chicken and cheeseburgers.

  • Despite the modern refurb, this charming all-day boozer feels like it’s been around forever. Park up in the sunny, plant-filled atrium or out front for upmarket parmas. The knockout-style pool competitions here are a mid-week spectacle.

  • The Gaso is one of the city’s best rock’n’roll pubs. Its cosy, red-brick front bar belies the size of the band room out back, where you can catch the cream of the city’s musical crop from the dance floor, or the upstairs mezzanine beneath a retractable roof.

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  • This neighbourhood gem is from the team behind The Alps and Toorak Cellars. More than 400 thoughtfully-curated drops make up the wine list, which you can team with sophisticated small plates.

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  • A moody, 18-seat wine bar and follow-up to fine diner Ides. Order sophisticated dishes that don’t fit the degustation brief next door, alongside Aussie wines from the on-site cellar.

  • This historic pub will take you right to 1975. Find Bodriggy beers, a Latin American-leaning menu (think cheese-stuffed jalapeno tacos and 12-hour braised brisket tortas) and Marmadale Margaritas.

  • A glowing wine (and pasta) bar at Collingwood’s mammoth arts hub, which doubles as Hope St Radio’s home. Settle in for rigatoni all’amatriciana, Fernet-Branca-and-cola sorbet and plenty of juicy lo-fi wines.

  • There’s beer, and then there’s award-winning India Pale Ale served straight from the tank. Here, you’ll get the latter.

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  • Nearly every style you can imagine is available at this convivial beer hall, and they're all made right there.

  • Shoot some pool, relax in a booth and share Southeast Asian curries – all are possibilities at this spacious, grungy warehouse bar that feels like a brewery without the beer obsession.

  • Experience interesting takes on Middle Eastern classics at Shane Delia’s moody spot. Go for crispy burek buns filled with duck fesunjun (a classic Persian stew), pickled octopus and sweet muhammara (roasted capsicum dip) wrapped in lettuce, and the signature Pomegranate Sour cocktail. Its siblings Maha and Maha East are also worth your time.

  • It may feel like a neighbourhood wine bar somewhere in Europe, but this tiny spot exclusively pours Victorian vino as a rule. It also goes hard on the cheese front – mop up some melty, stretchy raclette with a stub of crusty sourdough for the full Smithward experience.

  • The kitsch floral wallpaper, bright-orange tabletops and retro lampshades might remind you of your nan’s house. The tongue-in-cheek cocktails, vodka-saké jugs and excellent pizza (from nearby Thin Slizzy) probably won’t.

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  • One of the most legendary venues in Melbourne’s live music scene, as well as a pilgrimage for interstate bands. Its three gig spaces (main room, front bar and upstairs) are sticky-carpeted tributes to the thousands of punk, metal and stoner-rock acts it hosts every year.

  • Head to the sunny, fruit-tree-filled rooftop above Collingwood Yards for wallet-friendly wines and cocktails, plus a superlative view that won’t cost you a thing. Cap it off with rotating DJ sets through a killer sound system, and you’ve got plenty of reasons to stick around.

  • Finding this secretive, 16-seat cocktail bar is half the fun.

  • A verdant greenhouse bar with plenty of natural light.

  • A little gem, with intimate corners and old-world charm.

  • As far as neighbourhood bars go, it’s pretty hard to top this laid-back hangout inspired by the beautiful old dive bars found across America.


  • Trade your own clothes and accessories for cash or in-store credit at this chic, second-hand shop. Or buy something that’s old to someone else but new to you. You won’t find fast fashion on the racks here – just pre-loved, sustainably sourced vintage and designer threads from your local community.

  • This bar and bottle-o pours vino on tap (and in refillable bottles). Grab one to-go, or perch on the outdoor deck for local wines, crowd-fave cocktails and cheese platters.

  • This jeweller specialises in ethical handmade designs. Book a session with its master jeweller to create one-of-a-kind pieces that work with your personal style – and last a lifetime.

  • Vintage furniture, imported directly from Europe.

  • A cosy vintage store in a century-old building, where the owner handpicks stock from across Europe, the US and Australia. Expect high-quality pieces including ’70s leather jackets, maxi dresses and the odd piece of mid-century furniture.

  • A take on an old-school Aussie bakery by a team of hospo veterans who know what makes a great venue tick. One of the owners happens to be an incredible baker, who's turning out rustic sourdough loaves, standout pies and a mighty fine fleet of sangas. To drink, there's espresso or filter coffee made using beans roasted in-house.

  • A vintage treasure trove inspired by the Biba boutiques of ’60s and ’70s London. Sift through pre-loved and reworked vintage from the ’20s to Y2K, as well as dead stock and more contemporary pieces. Plus, hordes of jewellery, bags and shoes.

  • By day, this clean-cut store sells house, techno, Italo, disco and Balearic records curated by a trio of respected Melbourne DJs. By night, it’s a cool, relaxed wine bar with a pumping beer garden.

  • Visit this well-curated second-hand store to discover Australian and New Zealand labels, international designers, hype streetwear brands and well-made basics in masculine and feminine styles.

  • Browse more than 2000 records with a focus on Australian indie rock, punk and metal. Plus, band tees and tote bags, and in-store signings and performances.

  • Visit the brand’s Melbourne HQ to pick up tough, hyper-functional luggage – with a lifetime warranty – at about half the price of other big brands out there.

  • Grab a growler to go, or sit in and take advantage of the huge range of draught, canned and bottled beers.

  • Sit at the bar with a cone – or a granita – and get a great view of the chefs doing their work. The gelato here is revered for a reason, but keep an eye out for the excellent range of cakes and other treats on offer too.

  • A Japanese tea-house recreated in the streets of Collingwood.

  • A cosy camping store for outdoor adventurers where everything is tested by the team inside.

  • A permanent store for book distributor Motto.

  • Curated men's streetwear in Collingwood.

  • Spare some time at this friendly streetwear store and communal space.

  • One of Melbourne’s leading seafood suppliers.

  • Books, art, design and records. All the things that make us happy, in other words.

  • There are thousands of records, but expect to find some Dylan, Bowie, Zappa and Springsteen in the mix.

  • A shiny retail concept on Johnston Street selling books, records, T-shirts, jewellery and more.

  • Quality clothing made and designed in Melbourne.