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.

Restaurants

Wonder Pies & Deli Collingwood

Restaurant

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

New Jaffa

Restaurant

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

Frankie's Tortas and Tacos

Restaurant

What this restaurant lacks in walls and seating it makes up for in street-side charm. It’s championing the torta (a substantial Mexican sandwich), and there are three tacos on the menu, but not much else. And nothing costs more than $15.

Easey's

Restaurant

Fancy a no-nonsense burger for breakfast, served five storeys up, inside a train carriage? This is the place for you.

Robert Burns Hotel

Restaurant

A classic old pub at the top end of Smith Street, with a bit of Italy in its bistro.

Congress

Restaurant

Kangaroo pastrami, pulled pig’s-head and croquettes are the hallmarks of this flexible restaurant-slash-wine bar.

Cafes

Papirica

Cafe

Yutaka Matsuda’s permanent pancake place in Collingwood.

Proud Mary

Cafe

The coffee comes first, but the food’s no bit-player.

Terror Twilight

Cafe

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

To Be Frank

Cafe

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

Cibi

Cafe

“Cibi” is Japanese for “little one”. But this cafe and homewares store is not so little anymore.

Aunty Peg’s

Cafe

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

Bars

Above Board

Bar

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

Smithward

Bar

This tiny neighbourhood wine bar doesn’t have room for a kitchen. So it serves a lot of cheese.

The Craft & Co

Bar

This huge, multi-faceted venue defies convenient labelling. You really need to visit to understand it.

The Tote

Bar

One of the most legendary venues in Melbourne's live music scene, still hosting punk, metal and stoner-rock bands five nights a week.

The Mill Brewery

Bar

A one-man operation punching above its weight.

Molly Rose

Bar

In an old furniture warehouse, you'll find sour-coffee ales and beer that mimics wine.

Shops

Act of Wine

Shop

This electric pink and hazy gold bottle shop has shelves lined with punchy Australian pet-nats, lemon meringue sour beers, and low-alcohol sparkling wine – just like the Southbank original.

Piccolina Gelateria Collingwood

Shop

Sit at the bar with a cone – or a granita – and watch pastry chefs prepare gelato.

Falco Bakery

Shop

To drink, there's espresso or filter coffee made using beans roasted in house. Get yours with a slice of carrot and burnt-butter cake, a seasonal fruit Danish (maybe cherry or plum, with a crème anglais or cream cheese filling) or a peanut butter and house-fermented miso cookie.

Harvest Index

Shop

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

Clunes Outdoors

Shop

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

The Plant Society

Shop

A plant store within cafe Mina-no-ie that comes with advice, and coffee.