This Greek and Italian stronghold is an excellent place to spend a night bar-hopping.

In the early 2000s, the main reason to visit Thornbury was dusty shops spruiking TV antennas, discounted shoes and second-hand whitegoods. Being that bit further out than Northcote, it took a while longer for gentrification to arrive.

Things began to change around 2010, when local Marco Finanzio opened the now classic Umberto Espresso Bar – a fitting bellwether for an area thousands of Greek and Italian immigrants have called home since the end of World War Two.

The stretch of High Street between Darebin Road and Dundas Street really exploded in 2014 with the opening of four new bars, including Finanzio’s second business, Joanie’s Baretto, and Carwyn Cellars, which we feel confident calling Melbourne’s best beer venue. With the later addition of Thornbury Picture House, this is now one of our favourite areas for a night out. It’s like a smaller, more relaxed Northcote, with much better carparking.

Thankfully, none of this has come at the expense of Thornbury’s previous character. Old social clubs such as Democritus House and House of Hercules are still going strong, and the wide, weatherboard-lined side streets still feel more suburban than developed. The few cafes that have opened are consistently down-to-earth and suit the relaxed landscape.


The Moor’s Head Thornbury


Break away from the traditional with Lebanese pizza.

Book a Table

Kustom Burgers


Race electric slot cars while you wait for your burger.

Greek Street Food


A family-owned souva mobile’s permanent home.

Pizza Farro


A homely pizzeria furnished with collected sentimentality.

Il Pizzaiolo


Take a bite of Naples at this traditional pizzeria in Thornbury.

Som Tam


Colourful, flavourful authentic Thai cuisine.




The menu at this cafe features hearty but intricate fare. It’s all set within a grand 130-seat space full of warm hues and natural materials.

Umberto Espresso Bar


A tiny espresso bar serving hearty Italian fare with a warm, local feel.

Rat the Cafe


A neighbourhood specialty coffee shop and eatery in the backstreets of Thornbury.

Little Tienda


This sunny Thornbury cafe marries flavours from Mexico and southern California.

Brother Alec


A relaxed owner-run cafe.

Ampersand Coffee and Food


Take a seat in the front room if you want to enjoy the cafe's community spirit. Alternately, head to the leafy courtyard for some quiet.




Put your feet up at this dive bar that takes upcycling to the max and has a super-tight drinks list (that means no cocktails).

Carwyn Cellars


Competition is fierce, but we feel comfortable calling this the best beer bar in Melbourne.

Wolf and Swill


Pizza, beer and not much more – this little corner bar keeps things delightfully simple.

Joanie's Baretto


Cocktail hour, Italian style.

Pallino Bar & Bocce


Pallino Bar & Bocce revives classic cocktails and a vintage sport in Thornbury.

3 Ravens


A friendly brewery and bar located in the industrial back streets.


Kenny Lover


A chef with Michelin-star pedigree is behind this oddball ice-creamery, where favourites such as pistachio and chocolate are joined by scoops flavoured with soy sauce, yuzu and sake, and olives and white chocolate. Plus, there’s hot chips for dipping.

Thornbury Picture House


A movie theatre and bar in a 1920s petrol station, with a local heart and serious personality.

Perimeter Books


A beautifully curated shop of rare books and small press.

North St Botanical


From the duo behind North St Flowers.

Thornbury Records


New alternative rock records, plus turntable repairs.