Ask the locals that know Melbourne and they will tell you that Northcote is the hipster patch around 6 kilometres north east of the city centre, and home to cafes, bars and boutiques. It’s also a part of town we’ve visited often with so many choices of places to go for great food and casual friendly bars for an after dinner drink.
High Street in Northcote is where it’s all happening and on our latest visit to Melbourne we visited a couple of bars including an old favourite and a new cosy spot.
This former church can be found at 250 High Street and is well known as a live music venue as well as having tables and booths inside for a drink. When it says it’s a low lit bar, they aren’t wrong, but once your eyes adjust it’s a very comfortable place for a pre or after dinner drink.
Wesley Anne also has a funky, leafy green outdoor beer garden at the rear of the venue which is dotted with open fires in the cooler months. This is one to visit if you are after atmosphere, live music, and rustic pub food.
A new one for us to visit this time and it can be found at 84 High Street Northcote, a stroll downhill on High Street where you can admire the view of city lights on the way. Another terribly dark bar to get used to when you first arrive and before your eyes adjust – watch that first step in and up!
The first thing noticeable are the deep purple walls and a huge mosaic tiled bar. There is plenty of room to sit at the bar or make yourself comfortable in velvet sofas dotted around the spacious venue. A massive wood burning combustion fire is waiting for those chilly days and nights that will arrive soon, so this looks like a very attractive place to sit out a shower or two. They have a long list of wines, cocktails and a big range of whiskeys.
A couple of nice places to duck into during a stroll around Northcote and then for a healthy start to the next day, why not start off on the right foot with a breakfast / brunch at Café Louis in the nearby suburb of Fitzroy.
This café is on Moor Street, near the corner of Brunswick Street and would be tricky to spot if not for the tables and chairs set up outside. The warehouse looking building was once a hotel and before that, city stables. Over time it has also been a garage, café and art gallery.
Today it’s a vegetarian and vegan café and unlike some other cafes we’ve been to in Melbourne, this one has loads of space indoors which makes dining here very comfortable. It still has a lovely cosy feel thanks to the soft green walls, warm lighting, timber furniture and ceilings, and the exposed rafters which draw your eyes up to the height of the ceiling. The coffee of course was just perfect and the food was a feast for all the senses. I don’t think I’ve seen prettier food that ALMOST, looked too good to eat.
For the foodies amongst us, our choices were:
Smashed Avocado Louis Style – described on the menu as, Yuzu avo mousse served on seeded sourdough, with balsamic marinated cherry tomatoes, feta and spiced dukkah, topped with lotus chips and homemade beetroot tuile lightly dressed with herb infused olive oil , served with a poached egg.
Korean Bibimbap Bowl – Red and yellow pickled radish, wilted spinach, fresh zucchini, carrot, white cabbage and cucumber, sesame infused mushrooms, bean sprouts on a bed of fluffy brown rice mixed with quinoa topped with a fried egg and gochujang (Korean chilli paste).
Pancake Tacos – Pancake taco shells, vanilla coconut cream, seasonal fruit, baked streusel, lemon balm, raspberry coulis topped with edible flowers
Café Louis definitely served up the most innovative and prettiest food of the whole visit.