Cool Colling­wood


Where Melbourne - - Contents -

COLLING­WOOD SUP­PORT­ERS ARE NOT the most pop­u­lar peo­ple when it comes to AFL, such is their rep­u­ta­tion for be­hav­iour that bor­ders on feral*. Liv­ing in the in­ner-city sub­urb on the other hand, is con­sid­ered un­de­ni­ably cool**. And while res­i­dents are privy to the ar­ti­san shops, cafés, brew­eries and bars that have found a home amid the brick ware­houses and in­dus­trial ar­chi­tec­ture, vis­i­tors will likely need a help­ing hand find­ing them. Here are six rea­sons to wan­der the back streets.


Like all Mel­bourne suburbs, cof­fee shops and cafés can be found on ev­ery cor­ner (lit­er­ally in many places). But have you ever heard of a black cof­fee (only) bar? Aunty Peg’s (200 Welling­ton Street; www.proud­marycof­ is the first of its kind in the world. Those who re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the caf­feine bean will un­der­stand this place’s purist milk-free ded­i­ca­tion, from the back­room piled with hes­sian bags stamped with the names of South Amer­ica’s best cof­fee plan­ta­tions and the uber ex­pen­sive Ger­man cof­fee roast­ers, to a barista bar with built-in cof­fee scales and home-pu­ri­fied wa­ter.

Those who still pre­fer creamy lat­tes can head around the cor­ner to sis­ter café Proud Mary (172 Ox­ford Street; www.proud­marycof­ in a cosy cor­ner lo­cale chock­ers with lap-top­pers, or to Arno (51 Cromwell Street; ar­noe­, an im­pos­si­bly small three-ta­ble café that min­gles cool tunes with Ital­ian nat­ter. On a big­ger scale, cof­fee roaster All­press Espresso (80 Ru­pert Street; au.all­press­­cover/mel­bourne-roast­ery) has big wooden share ta­bles and floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows that over­look the im­mac­u­late dis­tri­bu­tion ware­house.


The 360-de­gree open fire­places make ideal com­pan­ions for beer drink­ing in win­ter and Stomp­ing Ground Brew­ing Co (100 Gipps Street; stomp­ing­ has three. This craft brew­ery and beer hall has taken over an old ware­house al­low­ing masses of space for a pizza kitchen with wood­fire oven, cen­tral bar with 24 beers on tap, bench ta­bles and a sub­stan­tial in­door cubby for kids to get lost in.

Smaller but no less ap­peal­ing is The Mill Brew­ery (40 Sackville Street; themill­brew­ a gleam­ing new place where shiny kegs rub up against red gum ta­bles. Craft en­thu­si­asts can choose from three or four tap beers and a tap cider, and there’s a wine list for mug­ging up on Vic­to­rian va­ri­etals. New-comer bar Par­adise Al­ley (25 Easey Street; par­adis­eal­ cham­pi­ons nat­u­ral wines and craft beers which can be im­bibed in a nar­row court­yard space and a huge co-opted in­te­rior ware­house that in­cludes Casati Deli’s start-up mi­cro­brew­ery.


Smith Street, the hip­ster haven that di­vides (or joins) Fitzroy and Colling­wood boasts good book shops like Happy Val­ley (294 Smith Street; hap­py­val­ and ar­ti­san jew­ellers like Bini Gallery (62 Smith Street; bini­, but the back streets hold their own in eclec­tic cool too. The His­tory (206 Welling­ton Street; the­his­ is worth a peek­a­boo for its vin­tage and an­tique fur­ni­ture col­lec­tion fea­tur­ing mid-cen­tury chairs and art­work by Roy B. Wilkins and Carolyn O’neill. Alex Earl (14–16 Sackville Street; alex­ is a de­sign store wav­ing the ‘made in Mel­bourne’ flag with pen­dant and pod lights, fur­ni­ture and beau­ti­fully de­tailed sound sys­tems. Down the road, Clin­gan Gui­tar (34 Sackville Street; clin­gan­gui­ has be­spoke gui­tars and one-off amps.


Colling­wood’s rag trade is still alive with whole­salers, but fac­tory out­lets ex­ist too. Most are on Smith Street (Adi­das, Kath­mandu, Linen House and Brands United) but qual­ity back street finds in­clude Pure Baby (1/7 Sturt Street; pure­ for or­ganic cot­ton one­sies, and yoga out­fit­ter lu­l­ule­mon ath­let­ica (30 Ru­pert Street;­l­ule­­wood/ mel­bour­ne­out­let) where sale prices are al­most half those in-store.


Speak­ing of yoga and all things Zen, Colling­wood’s spank­ingly new med­i­ta­tion stu­dio A-space (5 Glasshouse Road; has reg­u­lar 30-minute drop-in med­i­ta­tion classes with themes in­clud­ing ‘be vi­brant’ and ‘be con­nected’. Fol­low a ses­sion with an out­ing to so­cial en­ter­prise STREAT (66 Cromwell Street; streat., which sup­ports youth home­less­ness and dis­ad­van­tage. The 80-seat café is housed in a beau­ti­fully re­stored 1860’s manor and has an in-house cof­fee roaster and ar­ti­san bakery over­look­ing a ram­bling court­yard and pot gar­den.


One of the sub­urb’s most prized at­trac­tions, Colling­wood Chil­dren’s Farm (18 St He­lier’s Street, Ab­bots­ford;, is ac­tu­ally in the neigh­bour­ing sub­urb of Ab­bots­ford, but it’s worth cross­ing Hod­dle Street to ex­plore this whole­somely ru­ral plot on the bank of the Yarra River. Milk a cow, hold a guinea pig and walk among the pigs and goats. While you’re in the neigh­bour­hood, next door’s Ab­bots­ford Con­vent (1 St He­lier’s Street, Ab­bots­ford; ab­bots­ford­con­ has been con­verted into a hub of art gal­leries, stu­dios and eater­ies.

Stomp­ing Ground Brew­ing Co. Photo: David Hyde Pho­tog­ra­phy.

Left: Proud Mary. Photo: Tim Har­ris. Above: STREAT. Photo: Alice Hutchi­son.

*The writer is a Colling­wood sup­porter. **The writer lives in the neigh­bour­ing sub­urb of Ab­bots­ford. Aunty Peg’s. Photo: Tim Har­ris.

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