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15° & CLOUDY ON SUNDAY 20 OCTOBER IN MELBOURNE
By Concrete Playground
September 16, 2019
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By Concrete Playground
September 16, 2019
  shares

Along the guiding line of the Yarra and Merri Creek, Melbourne’s inner north is filled with character.

It’s a haven of hobby farms, community gardens and warehouse conversions, along with coffee shops, record stores and some of the best vintage shops around. In fact, there are so many great local businesses in our beloved shopping mecca that it can be hard to know where to start.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with American Express to put together this handy guide to shopping small in the inner north. With it, you’ll be able to navigate the boutiques of Gertrude Street, the warehouses of Smith Street and the vintage shops of Sydney Road as if you were a local. As a bonus, all of these shops and eateries will let you pay with a swipe of your American Express Card.

GETTING AROUND

The 86 tram will take you from the CBD, along Gertrude Street in Fitzroy, before turning left onto Smith Street. After trundling through Collingwood, the tram continues up Northcote’s High Street. For Sydney Road, jump on either the 19 tram or the train headed for Upfield. Once you’re there, you’re best to wander on foot.

DON’T MISS

There’s a reason this area has an arty reputation and you can’t miss soaking in the work of the dozens of creatives that call the inner north home. Browse one of the many galleries, pick up some locally designed wares, catch a gig at the pub and wash it all down with a locally brewed beer.

HIGH STREETS

The inner north is choccas with shopping strips. There’s the ever-popular Brunswick and Smith streets, Sydney Road cutting through Brunswick and Coburg, and Northcote’s High Street, which extends into Thornbury and beyond. Keep an eye out for the side streets though, as gems like Lune and Project Forty Nine are slightly off the beaten track.

LOCALS LOVE

When the sun’s out, nothing screams ‘inner north’ like a picnic at Edinburgh Gardens, or one of the many patches of greenery dotted through the area. McCoppins Clifton Hill is just down the road or the 11 tram will drop you in front of a strip of local shops for some picnic fare.

THE SHOPPING LISTS

Explore three of the inner north's thriving shopping precincts.

Your Inner North Hit List

Looking for fresh produce, funky cheese or a one-of-a-kind gift? Find what you're looking for here.
List
Map
  • Travel & Leisure
    Collingwood

    Henry Lee Barbershop

    A friendly community space where you can stop by for a trim, a cold beer and a chat.

  • Design & Style
    Collingwood

    Capocchi

    Mid-century, vintage, antique and modern furniture and design from a family-run business.

  • Design & Style
    Collingwood

    SWOP Clothing Exchange

    Say goodbye to fast fashion and buy, swap and sell your preloved clothing and accessories at this Collingwood shop.

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    The Moon

    A moody and atmospheric spot for sipping from an extensive selection of interesting wines.

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    Beermash

    Try before you buy from the extensive range at this Collingwood beer bar and bottle shop.

  • Design & Style
    Collingwood

    Spares Store

    This Smith Street store has independent and limited-run labels across mens streetwear and accessories — and its own gallery space.

  • Design & Style
    Abbotsford

    Nicholas & Alistair

    Step inside this Abbotsford showroom to discover high-end vintage furniture and design pieces in a gallery-like space.

  • Design & Style
    Collingwood

    Habbot Shoes Studio Store

    Cute and comfortable shoes designed in Melbourne and made in Italy.

  • Food & Drink
    Brunswick

    A Minor Place

    An unassuming cafe with some of the best haloumi in the north.

  • Design & Style
    Fitzroy

    Handsom

    This local brand is a staple of Gertrude Street — and in Melburnian's wardrobes.

  • Design & Style
    Fitzroy

    The Standard Store

    Supplying chic global fashion to Gertrude Street.

  • Design & Style
    Fitzroy

    SpaceCraft

    An ever-changing space that combines gallery and retail.

  • Design & Style
    Fitzroy

    Pickings and Parry

    A one-stop shop for all your menswear and grooming needs in Fitzroy

  • Design & Style
    Fitzroy

    Rose Chong Costumes

    The only costume shop in Melbourne you need to know about.

  • Design & Style
    Fitzroy

    Southwood

    Furniture and homewares store inspired by natural materials and sustainable living

  • Design & Style
    Fitzroy

    American Vintage Clothing Co

    With over 100 different styles and the largest collection of American vintage clothing in Melbourne, go no further for your next Grease-era inspired outfit.

  • Design & Style
    Clifton Hill

    Curious Grace

    This Scandi-inspired furniture store is filled with sleek pieces by Australian and international designers.

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    Grace Darling Hotel

    A Collingwood institution with great pub fare and lots of live music.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    The Elysian Whisky Bar

    Only rare whiskies and independent distilleries make the cut at this cosy Fitzroy bar.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Duke of Kerr

    Located on a quiet corner in Fitzroy, this neighbourhood cafe is serving up all-day breakfast and booze, seven days a week.

  • Food & Drink
    Brunswick East

    Mama Manoush

    You've been invited to Mama's house for a feast of fresh, authentic and traditional Lebanese food.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Laundry Bar

    Twerk till the early morn in this Fitzroy favourite.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Bentwood

    This Fitzroy cafe's plating up stunning brunch fare to match its warm, designer fitout.

  • Food & Drink
    Carlton North

    Little Andorra

    A charming Carlton North wine bar where you pull up a stool for a drink and a snack every day from 2pm.

  • Food & Drink
    Brunswick East

    Dunning Kruger

    Pair cocktails and slices of house-made pie at this Brunswick bar.

  • Food & Drink
    Preston

    Takeaway Pizza

    Across the road from its OG venue, the Dexter team has opened a takeaway pizza joint that doubles as a by-the-slice wine bar.

  • Food & Drink
    Thornbury

    Carwyn Cellars

    Crafts beers, negroni on tap and a newly renovated beer garden.

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    Project Forty Nine

    It’s a little slice of Beechworth in the suburbs.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy North

    Ryne

    Acclaimed chef Donovan Cooke is offering up a modern riff on classic French flavours.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Nomada Cafe y Tapas

    A Fitzroy cafe where you can eat croquettes and churros for breakfast.

  • Food & Drink
    Brunswick East

    Etta

    The team has collectively worked at Attica, Cutler & Co, The Roving Marrow and Rosetta.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy North

    The Recreation

    A Fitzroy North wine bar, bottle shop and bistro doing considered comfort food.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Absinthesalon

    Fitzroy's Parisian-themed drinking den dedicated to the green fairy.

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    Fonda Collingwood

    Melbourne's cheap and colourful Mexican chain takes over two storeys on Smith Street.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Lune Croissanterie

    Prepare to queue — these are some of the best croissants in Melbourne, if not the world.

  • Food & Drink
    Brunswick East

    Noisy Ritual

    Brunswick East has a boozy new destination.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    The Rose Fitzroy

    The Fitzroy mainstay has a new lick of paint and an upstairs wine bar.

  • Food & Drink
    Northcote

    MESOB Ethiopian

    Shovel hearty stews and flatbread straight from plate to mouth.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Mukka

    Meet the new Indian restaurant packing a real punch.

  • Food & Drink
    Northcote

    Il Melograno

    The best scoop this side of Sicily.

  • Food & Drink
    Preston

    Dexter

    Hot, sugary brisket doughnuts await you at Preston's no-rules BBQ place.

  • Food & Drink
    Thornbury

    Kustom Burgers

    A burger joint that's completely custom.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Rice Paper Scissors

    Enjoy all the Asian fusion food at Rice Paper Scissors' new Fitzroy venue.

  • Food & Drink
    Northcote

    Northcote Social Club

    Some things never change at NSC, but the menu is not one of them.

  • Food & Drink
    Abbotsford

    Thaiger Rabbit

    A quirky Thai oasis in the middle of Victoria Street.

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    Proud Mary

    A Collingwood coffee institution.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    The Stone Hotel

    A brand new pub for Fitzroy's busiest intersection.

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    Easey's

    The most Melbourne way to down a burger.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy North

    Tramway Hotel

    A classic Fitzroy North pub.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Transformer

    More than meets the eye.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    The Rochester Hotel

    The Rochey is not just your average local pub.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Archie's All Day

    From your morning coffee to your midnight nightcap, Archie's has you covered.

  • Food & Drink
    Northcote

    Pizza Meine Liebe

    Pizza worth the trip up north.

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    Jim's Greek Tavern

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    Rupert

    This is one foxy dwelling to get trapped in.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Marquis of Lorne

    The Marquis of Lorne is alive again with same old-pub charm and a modern Melbourne menu.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Gelato Messina Fitzroy

    How do you know it's summer? You're standing in the queue at Messina again, dummy.

  • Design & Style
    Fitzroy

    The Rose Street Artists' Market

    A life raft in times of peak gift-giving.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy North

    LongPlay

    Eclectic, laid back and charming, this Fitzroy North bar was made for dates.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Black Pearl

    A Fitzroy cocktail bar with attitude and atmosphere.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    The Standard

    The bar offers a comforting retro vibe while outside is a breezy little oasis that's well worth the search.

  • Food & Drink
    Carlton

    Jimmy Watson's

    Among the best-kept secret rooftops.

  • Food & Drink
    Brunswick East

    Blackhearts & Sparrows

    A boutique wine store with a difference.

  • Design & Style
    Fitzroy

    Third Drawer Down

    A perfectly nonsensical collection of weird gifts, unique homewares, and everything in-between.

  • Design & Style
    Fitzroy

    Somebuddy Loves You

    Smith Street's Somebuddy curates a collection of some of the best local designers around.

  • Design & Style
    Brunswick

    Dejour Jeans

    Once you go Dejour for jeans, you never go back.

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    The Gem

    A Collingwood gem serving up great pub food and true Americana.

  • Food & Drink
    Thornbury

    Trumpy

    A cosy new addition to High Street's bar scene.

  • Food & Drink
    Thornbury

    Northern Git

    Sophisticated British comfort food adds a much-needed destination to Thornbury's dining options.

  • Food & Drink
    Preston

    The Raccoon Club

    With a strict 'no dickheads' policy (that they take very seriously), it really is about drinking better, not more.

  • Food & Drink
    East Brunswick

    The Alderman

    A cosy local favourite in the truest sense.

  • Food & Drink
    Abbotsford

    Dr Morse

    $10 burgers, local beers, an open fire and a good Abbotsford buzz.

  • Food & Drink
    Carlton North

    Cafe BU

    Sip a coffee above the suburbs atop the perfect Carlton North perch.

  • Food & Drink
    East Brunswick

    400 Gradi

    Some of the city’s — and in fact, the world’s — best pizza.

  • Food & Drink
    Brunswick

    Brunswick Mess Hall

    A Brunswick beer bar with surprisingly good food and a historic atmosphere.

  • Food & Drink
    East Brunswick

    Kumo

    Izakaya-style dining at the Brunswick end of a worldly Lygon Street.

  • Food & Drink
    Brunswick

    The Spotted Mallard

    Great burgers in a classic Brunswick grunge-pub.

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    Le Bon Ton

    Oysters, absinthe, smoked meat and a 24-hour licence.

  • Food & Drink
    Abbotsford

    Admiral Cheng Ho

    Whether it's virtue or flavour you're after, The Admiral has you covered.

  • Food & Drink
    Thornbury

    Little Henri

    A solid northside brunch spot.

  • Food & Drink
    Fairfield

    Mamma Says

    One for the Fairfield locals.

  • Food & Drink
    Fairfield

    Fifteen Pounds

    Just like the rest of us, Fairfield survives on seriously good brunch and killer coffee.

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    Pabu Grill & Sake

    Serving sake rather than beer, Collingwood's newest pub is distinctly Japanese.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy North

    Neighbourhood Wine

    With a history steeped in Melbourne Mafia, this bar brings a cosy, speakeasy-style space to Fitzroy North.

  • Food & Drink
    Brunswick

    Howler

    Venture behind Brunswick City Baths and find a converted warehouse with two bars, two performance spaces and spicy hawker food.

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    Everyday Coffee

    To provide consistently outstanding coffee might sound complicated, but these boys are doing it everyday of the year.

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    The Everleigh

    Experience the hedonistic pleasures of the 1920s in Fitzroy's hidden cocktail den.

  • Food & Drink
    North Carlton

    North Carlton Canteen

    Near the 24-hour florist and the steeply priced milk bar, North Carlton Canteen is the sort of place everybody wishes they had as their local.

  • Food & Drink
    Brunswick

    Los Hermanos

    Los Hermanos has found a niche somewhere between the taco trucks of the north and the classier acts of the inner city and south-side.

  • Food & Drink
    Collingwood

    South of Johnston

    Wholesome brekkie offerings, couches and free Wi-Fi. What's not to love?

  • Food & Drink
    Fitzroy

    Hell of the North

    You could easily pass by the bluestone home on Greeve's Street, off uber-chic Smith, were it not for the canary yellow door.

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