Melburnians, lend me your ears
October 2, 2017 8:31 PM   Subscribe

Visiting Melbourne for the first time in 10 years after living there for 6. A lot to catch up on and a lot I don't want to miss - advice appreciated.

Hi folks. At the end of October I am heading down to Melbourne for PAX (PAX is just the excuse, I actually couldn't care less if I went to it or not but have a 3 day pass anyway and will be spending most of my time in the boardgame arena or whatever it's called) and will be there for just shy of a week. I will be headquartered in Fitzroy, just off Brunswick Street.

I know the city quite well and have assembled a fairly comprehensive Google Map of places I want to revisit (Polyester Books used to be on the list until I heard the tragic news!) or visit for the first time since I now have actual money, and I have Googled the heck out of Top 10s and Things to Dos and Don't Miss and Must Eat, but a lot of it is a bit dated and I really want to min-max my time there and am after general recommendations for:

1) Places to eat (inner-city)
2) Places to drink (inner-city)
3) Good quality, reasonably-priced men's clothes (scaling to, shall we say, "cuddly")
4) Places to buy fun stuff (e.g. Wunderkammer and Third Drawer Down) that is probably not found anywhere else
5) Would love to check out a couple of good gigs from good local bands. Town Hall (North Melb.) used to be my preferred place to do this, but what's the go-to these days?

Hopefully this is not too chatfiltery. There is zero chance of me having nothing to do, I just want to do all the best things. I'll be doing plenty of walking since that's my favourite way to experience Melbourne, but there will be some limited opportunity to head out of the inner-city if something sounds worth it.

Thanks in advance!
posted by turbid dahlia to Travel & Transportation around Melbourne, Australia (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I don't get out much so I am not really a fantastic mine of info but re item 4 on your list, especially in light of your interest in Polyester, you could visit Sticky Institute for a local zine fix. There is also Embiggen Books on Little Lonsdale Street, which is right next to the State Library, which currently has an exhibition of zines. Also nearby is The Moat Cafe and The Wheeler Centre, whose website isn't responding at the moment but they usually have an interesting program of events.
posted by Athanassiel at 11:21 PM on October 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well.. depending on when you arrive, my band are playing the Northcote Social Club on October 23. We've got at least one gig during November but I don't have details of that yet.
posted by prismatic7 at 12:09 AM on October 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Would have loved to come to your gig prismatic7 but unfortunately I dont arrive until the 24th :-(
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:15 AM on October 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm likely going to the Scientists at the Corner Hotel on the 28th Oct, I know they aren't local. All welcome.

Do you have a particular style of food or bar or band on your wishlist? You have so very many options open in that area it would be good to have some preferences in mind.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 1:24 AM on October 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Trivia: indie rock, rock n roll, guitary pop stuff mainly! I have checked the gig listings at all the usual suspects and nothing really lines up sadly. Preference is for a tenner or so at the door.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:50 AM on October 3, 2017

For food not too far from where you are staying, I would recommend Shop Ramen and Red Sparrow which are both on Smith Street.

For bars in the CBD, I like the Toff in Town for their cocktail selection. But by the end of October the weather should be absolutely suitable for a rooftop bar somewhere.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 2:51 PM on October 3, 2017

Oh well, turbid dahlia, never mind! In any case, there's always something happening in Melbourne! Try The Curtin in Carlton, opposite Trades Hall (disclaimer: my friend is the booker there) for post-punky jangle and good drinking times surrounded by hard-worn union types, or The Tote in Collingwood for your traditional sticky-carpet experience. I'm a Brunswegian, so if you're prepared to head a little north-west, head to:

Howler in Brunswick for excellent sound system and good foods;
The Brunswick Green for more laid-back jazz/funk/blues vibes and the best beer garden in Melbourne (disclaimer: I was in a photo for The Age for a feature on the best beer gardens in Melbourne while drinking in that beer garden);
The Brunswick for loads of free, local gigs every night;
The Vic, especially on a weekend afternoon when the bluegrass circle is in session and they jam away on old-timey cheer;
and probably the most unique bar in the inner north, Bar Oussou, which has Senegalese food, live music from all over the African continent, and another really excellent beer garden (yet another disclaimer: Oussou is run by very dear friends of mine).
posted by prismatic7 at 3:12 PM on October 3, 2017

Thanks for the recommends gang. A few places I know well and should reminisce in, and a few more for me to add to the list!
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:02 PM on October 3, 2017

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