Well-loved community radio station Hope St has broadcast from events, festivals, hospo venues and even the zoo. But it wasn’t always meant to be nomadic. Founder Pete Baxter first established it on Hope Street in Brunswick four years ago (hence the name), but left due to high rent.
Despite – or maybe because of – all the moving around, the online station has embraced community and inclusivity. With all its guest presenters, it really runs the gamut genre-wise, and as result it’s become a solid platform for underground and up-and-coming talent.
And now it’s finally got a permanent home again – on the ground floor of Melbourne’s new arts precinct and community hub Collingwood Yards (with a cracking view of the serene, leafy courtyard).
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Part of Hope St’s charm has always been its social, intermingle-y nature – Baxter originally envisioned a space where DJs and fans could meet for a chat over a coffee or wine. And that’s still the case here; broadcasts will be made from a long communal table in the corner.
Co-owner Jack Shaw (Cooked With Jack pop-ups) sees the venue as an extension of the radio station’s community ethos: “If we can have people in here feeling like they’re at one of our dinner parties – like they’re really being looked after and the food is full of love and work, then we’re doing exactly what we want to be doing.”
Head chef Ellie Bouhadana (Ellie’s Table pop-ups and Doorstep Dinners) is in charge of an ever-evolving menu that reflects that wholesome, neighbourly vibe, too – with souped-up snacks, fresh pastas and familiar flavours.
Start with snacks such as Sydney rock oysters with mignonette, and focaccia with whipped garlic-and-tarragon butter. Then move onto burrata with artichoke and nettle oil, or grilled Roman beans with mojama (salt-cured tuna) and Marcona almonds.
On the pasta menu you could find rigatoni all’amatriciana or spaghetti with cime di rapa (broccoli rabe), pangrattato (breadcrumbs) and pecorino. And for dessert expect some Kenny Lover creations; currently there’s a sorbet made with Fernet-Branca and cola.
Dennis Yong of Brunswick-based fermentation business Furrmien is taking produce – including nettle, shiso and mint – from the outdoor planters to turn into various ferments, pickles and preserves. They’ll eventually end up on bowls of congee when Hope St opens for breakfast.
There’s a tight but cleverly curated wine list of bottles Baxter and Shaw both love, with a strong focus on minimal-intervention drops. There’s a semillon from Good Intentions; Sigurd rosé from the Adelaide Hills; Brave New Wine’s easy-drinking Small Town blend; the juicy Etcetera Etcetera from Momento Mori in Gippsland; and a syrah from Avani Wines on the Mornington Peninsula. The rest of the drinks menu includes classic cocktails, aperitivi, digestifs and around 10 or so beers, including Stomping Ground on tap. “We’d never serve anything we wouldn’t want to drink ourselves,” Shaw adds.
Collingwood Yards was once a technical school, and you’ll find the wine bar in its former metalworks studio. But the design by architect Peter Frederick Cole has turned it into a warm, inviting space – with colourful doodles all over the walls (by artist Alice McIntosh in collaboration with Cole), curvy details throughout, a backlit bar, plenty of yellow and a custom-made sound system by Hot Wax.
Hope St Radio
35 Johnston Street, Collingwood
Thu to Sun 3pm–11pm