Melbourne’s northern suburbs are forever changing. Industrial areas are being transformed as locals settle further from the city, with old shopfronts and warehouses being turned into bakeries, cafes and boutiques.
Still, it’s when a place stays up late that you know it’s come alive, and the north is also now home to some of Melbourne’s best drinking dens. In partnership with Caydon Property, here are six neighbourhood boltholes to check out on the northside, whether you’re a recently minted local or just a southern interloper keen to see what all the fuss is about.
Stray Neighbour (Preston)
You’ll find this spot up on Plenty Road, where it bills itself as a combo bakery, bottle shop, bar, coffee shop and eatery. But it’s in the evenings when Stray Neighbour really comes into its own. It peddles a seasonal set menu complemented by plenty of great local beer, natural wine and cocktails. The old panel beating workshop digs themselves are handsome and unfussy, with a line of booths in which to settle into for the night, and a pool table if you feel like getting (mildly) active.
You’re getting a two-for-one here, depending on whether you go for Frederic or Fred’s. The attached Cremorne venues are essentially two sides of the same bar coaster, with Frederic a refined French-influenced bistro, while Fred’s is a little more of a laid back wine bar and all-day eatery. Owned by siblings Antoine, Edouard and Nathalie Reymond (also of Bistro Gitan and L’Hotel Gitan), the restaurant side is about as classy as you’d expect, but at Fred’s the name of the game is a slow unwind – grab a bottle of Curly Flat pinot noir or a Fred’s Martini and you’ll be set.
The Alphington Social (Alphington)
Set inside a former bank in the leafy backstreets of Alphington, the Alphington Social is a perfect balance of Italian eatery and casual wine bar. If the smell of woodfired pizza doesn’t get you, the wall of cheese (a massive glass cabinet full to the brim with wheels and wedges) definitely will. There’s a full menu of Italian-influenced eats, but those looking to just sit back with a quiet drink will be equally at home. There are four spritzes on tap, plenty of classic and modern cocktails and an exclusively Australian wine list.
The Valley Cellar Door (Moonee Ponds)
With so many wines available – at last count it was more than 500 bottles – it’s amazing that the Valley Cellar Door doesn’t even have a wine list. Instead, you’re encouraged to get up and browse the racks and fridges of Aussie and imported drops yourself. There is, however, an extensive list of wine by the glass, along with local craft beer (draught or packaged), mulled wine and cocktails. There are plenty of cheese and charcuterie plates to keep you hanging around, or pizzas to satisfy a bigger hunger.
Little Andorra (Carlton North)
Come for the cute neighbourhood wine bar, stay for the impressive food menu. Now under the stewardship of chef Mertcan Dogusgen – an Attica alumnus – Little Andorra peddles a rotating set menus of Turkish dishes utilising fresh Australian produce and ingredients. It’s the perfect backdrop to explore the excellent range of (generally very reasonably priced) Spanish, French and Italian wine.
This Brunswick wine bar has plenty to keep foodies happy, and its natural wine selection is excellent, but it’s DJs spinning vinyl records five nights that lends Waxflower its unique atmosphere. The space has been acoustically treated (so it sounds amazing) and it even has its own Soundcloud if you’re keen on the tunes. Chef Damon McIvor is cooking a seasonal menu of southern European food, while the wine is exclusively wild fermented and minimal intervention. Grab a glass and let the music take you away.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Caydon Property. Privately owned and founded in Melbourne, Caydon has spent over two decades diversifying city skylines in Australia and the United States with contemporary apartments, commercial offices, retail spaces and luxury hotels.