When in Melbourne you just have to go with whatever the quirky, trendy or just plain weird bar and restaurant combination you find. Don’t get me wrong I love it, but some of them have to be seen to be believed. This is definitely a ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ experience but here’s a few that we’ve found and loved, in our recent travels. All of them can be found a short tram ride out of Melbourne on the tram 86 route.
Wesley Anne: 250 High Street Northcote
The first thing you will notice is the dark moody feel inside and the soaring ceiling above. This converted 19th century church is open 7 days a week from 12pm to late. Find yourself a comfy spot at the pressed metal bar or at a table surrounded by the dark exposed stone wall or in a cosy booth. You can also head out the back to the paved beer garden area with heaters and wood fire pits ready to go if needed. Most nights there is live music and they serve hearty pub food. You’ll find craft beers, a good wine selection and great atmosphere. Nice friendly staff too.
Raccoon Club: 145 Plenty Road Preston
Look for the big red R on the façade of this building set back from the road. A very friendly bar and comfortable place to grab a table and enjoy the ambiance, not too dark, not too loud but just right. That’s probably why it’s so very popular. Very quirky décor, taxidermy raccoons watch over you from above the bar, there’s a big vinyl record collection for patrons to play, a free pool table and anti-establishment poster art on display and a ‘no dickhead policy’ displayed prominently on the bar. They have a largely Victorian wine list and good beer choices too.
A brilliant combination for wining and dining can be had with the very comfortable Raccoon club to sit in and a burger and loaded fries from Chew Burgers next door. The buzzer goes off when your order is ready and you’re set! Best of both worlds, excellent burgers and a great, non-pretentious bar to enjoy it in with a few bevvies. There is also space to sit out the front on warmer evenings in the beer garden.
Stray Neighbour: 463-467 Plenty Road, Preston.
The food here is amazing, this is definitely the drawcard, but it doesn’t hurt that it has a great open fire area to sit around in a lounge style set up and a large pool table to play a few games on while enjoying a night out. It doesn’t give away much from the outside but it does have a big outdoor astro turfed sitting area, a feature wall mural and hanging greenery.
This establishment was once a panel beaters workshop and stepping inside there are still reminders with the different floor level ramps, exposed roof trusses as well as interesting lighting and industrial workshop windows. It’s sectioned nicely into different zones with a bar to sit at, a green leafy mural wall with a wall length table, a big dining area and booths for groups to sit at. Something for everyone!
! I’d recommend you go for the food and stay for the comfortable and welcoming atmosphere and a few games of pool. They are open Tuesdays to Sundays and do breakfasts on the weekend.
Enjoy finding new places!