At the bottom of a hill, and a bit of a middle-ground between two residential suburbs, Westgarth may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of heading out, but this lower part of High Street is an eclectic mix of bars, cafes, clothing boutiques and, of course, the 1920s Westgarth Cinema. Broadsheet presents a selection of some places that deserve more than a drive-by on your way up the hill to Northcote proper.
The newest kid on the block, Gypsy Hideout is a white, bright and airy cafe with a herb garden in the back courtyard and piles of fresh vegetables sitting on the counter next to the muffins. Gypsy Hideout came into fruition after its owner, Freddy Raftellis, returned home from travelling in Europe. Living a nomadic, gypsy lifestyle and soaking in as much as possible, Raftellis was inspired to create something that reminded him of all he had experienced – the fruit and vegetable markets in Spain, flavoursome Greek cooking, and the classic appeal of French cafes. The end result is a daytime eatery that is cosy yet spacious, with a well-considered menu and great coffee.
68 High Street, Northcote
0433 166 248
This is the go-to place for locals craving a quality, no-fuss sandwich or meat pie, perhaps followed by a sweet treat and washed down with a coffee. The communal tables are often packed come lunchtime. A family friendly place, kids are just as welcome here as the grown-ups.
72 High Street, Northcote
(03) 9481 8445
Know Your Product
Know Your Product is a vintage furniture and homewares store that you don’t want to miss. Named after a song by the 70s punk band The Saints, the little store is full to the brim with lovingly restored furniture (with a focus on Australian and Scandinavian design) as well as kitsch knick-knacks that you thought disappeared way back when bell-bottomed pants did. Give yourself some time to wander through the store and you might discover something special you didn’t even know you wanted.
1 Timmins Street, Northcote
(03) 9486 1116
This cinema is a local in the truest sense of the word – financed and built by locals in 1921, it has always been an integral part of the community. A refurbishment in 2006 stayed true to the art deco design of the building, ensuring the cinema’s timeless charm. A part of Palace Cinemas, the Westgarth shows select Hollywood films alongside independent and arthouse films and foreign film festivals.
89 High Street, Northcote
(03) 9482 2001
The front room of Bar Nancy houses shelves of quality drink, warm lighting and some very friendly staff. Wander further into the bar and it extends to a spacious back room with deep booths and a welcoming fireplace. Tucked outside there is a small beer garden, perfect for drinks in the late afternoon sunshine, or under evening stars. This is a wonderful bar that feels a little like being in your lounge room, if only your lounge room had an extensive collection of wines, spirits, beer and cocktails.
61 High Street, Northcote
(03) 9486 4632
Look out for the orange Triumph scooter on the footpath: it’s the marker for Kelvin’s location. Pass the retro television and the Spice Girls paraphernalia in the window, step into the dimly lit interior and you’ll soon be enveloped by Kelvin’s distinctive ambiance. This is a bar that welcomes you instantly, whether you’re having a boisterous night with friends, a quiet drink or two, or something intimate with that special someone. The varied seating options – clusters of chairs, cosy armchairs, big couches, and benches at the bar – ensures that you can make your night out comfy as your settle into the intimate space at Kelvin.
84 High Street, Northcote
(03) 9482 6600
Of course, there are also many other great places in Westgarth that will tickle your fancy; be sure to take the time to look around.