It’s no secret you can’t move for good coffee in Melbourne but what makes some coffee shops stand out above the rest? For me, it’s a combination of great atmosphere, funky décor, good service, quality beans and drool-worthy cake. On that basis this is my selection of the coolest cafés/coffee shops found in Melbourne.
Brother Baba Budan
Brother Baba Budan is one of the Melbourne’s most loved coffee spots. Situated on Little Bourke Street, within spitting distance of H&M, it’s a relatively small café that’s big on warm welcomes. Watching the baristas at work it seems they know all their customers by name, as well as their coffee order.
The décor here gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘pull up a chair’ – the ceiling has wooden chairs dangling from it. They serve coffee by Seven Seeds, a speciality Melburnian coffee roaster created by Mark Dundon,who was the original owner of South Melbourne coffee hotspot St Ali.
Find it: 359 Little Bourke Street
Which brings us to St Ali. St Ali has been a South Melbourne coffee institution since 2005. Situated in an old warehouse in Yarra Place, the St Ali team take their coffee very seriously – their baristas tour the world winning championships and hosting master classes. The St Ali family includes a number of coffee brands including Sensory Lab and Deadman Espresso, which can be found incafés across the city, but the food and atmosphere at St Ali South Yarra make this flagship worth a visit.
Fans of street art in particular will love the way the artwork on the walls outside extends into the café, and the lack of windows in the front room means you can sit back and soak it all in.
Find it: 12-18 Yarra Pl, South Melbourne
Good 2 Go
Good 2 Go is a new coffee shop with a charitable heart. Located on Melbourne’s most famous laneway, the street art strewn Hosier Lane, Good 2 Go is an initiative by Youth Project whose profits support the city’s homeless. Not only are Good 2 Go churning out good coffee and biccies but they also offer training to the unemployed so that they can go on to work in coffee shops around the city. There’s also a small selection of souvenirs on sale as well as a second hand clothing rail where items are priced at $3 each.
Find out more about Kirsty, the delightful Youth Projects worker who came up with the idea for Good 2 Go, in this interview.
Find it: 7-9 Hosier Lane
1000 £ Bend
1000 £ Bend, located in what was once a motorcycle repair garage, is not so much a café as a gallery, cinema, events and work space in one. The ramshackle furniture and retro styling make this a great place for creatives – the free Wi-Fi is also a big bonus. Breakfast is served all day (the smell of bacon wafts around the warehouse) and drinks are served until 1am on weekends.
Find it: 361 Little Lonsdale Street
Captains Of Industry
Captains Of Industry is another versatile converted warehouse space, which serves as a café, barbers and gentlemen’s outfitters in one. Men can have their suits, shirts and shoes made to measure whilst sipping a flat white and munching on a cheese toasty, but women are very welcome too. With large windows overlooking Elizabeth Street, it’s a great spot to escape the frenzied rush in the shops below and enjoy a more old-fashioned retail experience.
Find it: Level 1, 2 Somerset Place
Kinship & Co
Kinship & Co is a new café I discovered whilst on my quest to try a Doughboys Doughnut. Tucked away on Gallagher Place, it’s vibrantly decorated with street art outside and filled with charming pot plants on the inside. The staff are incredibly friendly and those famous Doughboy Doughnuts are exceedingly good. Mexican owner Goran serves locally roasted Five Senses coffee as well as a selection of hearty baguettes for lunch.
Find it: 11 Gallagher Place
Where’s your favourite place to grab coffee in Melbourne?