Food & Drink

6 Of Melbourne’s Best Neighbourhoods For Sun-Soaked Sips And Indulgent Long Lunches This Summer

By Madeline Wallman
4th Jan 2024

In a city that’s buzzing with bars, boutiques, galleries, theatres and high-end restaurants, you need a high-end hotel to match. Enter Hotel Indigo, Melbourne’s new laneway hotel smack bang in the middle of the action on the iconic Flinders Lane. 

Joining Hotel Indigo Adelaide Markets, Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre and Hotel Indigo Sydney Potts Point in Australia (and many other premium locations around the world), this recently revamped and zhuzhed up Hotel Indigo Melbourne on Flinders now features nine oh-so-chic boutique room styles that fuse fashion, art and runway photography. 

Inspired by the culture and colour of its surrounds (including the original studio of fashion photography loyalty Helmut Newton that was just around the corner), this eclectic, art-filled hotel provides playful interiors, state-of-the-art facilities and only the plushest fluffy robes, while floor to ceiling windows give more than a glimpse of the grand old city of Melbourne. 

After you’ve settled in, it’s time to step out, but you won’t need to travel far to experience the very best bits of Melbourne. We’ve put together a short hit list of what’s hot in six of our favourite inner-city suburbs. Consider this your cheat sheet for your next interstate trip or city staycay at Hotel Indigo. Here’s our insider tips on how to experience Melbourne like a local with some of the very best places to dine, drink and play just a short tram ride away. 

CBD

Get ready for cheesy bowls of pasta, smash hit musicals, queue-worthy noodles and street art hot spots—after the chaos of COVID halted the city’s businesses, Melbourne CBD is back and better than ever. From Marameo’s top-tier Italian and a taste of Thailand well worth the wait at Soi 38, to the ever-sophisticated Gimlet and very ‘Melbourne’ wine bar Embla, there’s no shortage of delicious dining and drinking destinations (with Beso’s hot take on tapas right on the Hotel Indigo’s doorstop). After sauntering down Degraves Lane and Hosier Lane to take in the ever-changing street art with a coffee from Market Lane in hand, theatre-goers can check out blockbuster productions at the Regent Theatre or have a laugh at Comedy Republic.

Gilmlet Melbourne bar at night

Collingwood

Once a slightly-less cosmopolitan neighbourhood, a Melbourne trip wouldn’t be complete without a meander down Smith Street to visit some of the city’s hottest new openings and cult faves. For great Greek, check out the iconic Jim’s Greek Tavern, get a taste of Tokyo with the  CIBI, then wash it all down with a drink at Runner Up rooftop bar. Feel like a spot of shopping? La Luna is the ultimate haven for glorious homewares and gifts, add to your jewelry collection at Aletheia & Phos or refresh that wardrobe at Somebuddy Loves you.

Runner Up Rooftop Bar

Fitzroy

Within Melbourne’s oldest suburb there’s three main streets—Gertrude, Brunswick and Johnston—each as unique, interesting and appetizing as the other. Gertrude should be your first stop for food. Starting at the Nicholson Street end, grab Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca famous meatball sub, pop into Poodle for some oysters, and then take a seat out the front of the Builders Arms for an afternoon of people watching over a bottle of wine. Next, take the number 11 tram down Brunswick Street and search for a bargain at one of the many vintage stores including Lost and Found Market and OTC, stopping off at Little Hop for refueling on authentic Mexican tacos, tequila and vinyl tunes. Finish up on Johnston Street at the Night Cat a late-night boogie and a tipple or two. 

Poodle Fiztroy moody bar seating area

Richmond

Home of footy fanatics, food lovers and the mighty Tigers, Richmond is a melting pot of cultures, creativity and coffee shops. There are some stunning sangers in the inner-east: Hector’s, Hugo’s and Warkop remain perpetually popular, while Victoria Street’s Phuoc Thanh has one of the best bánh mìs in Melbourne. If a pint and a parma are more your scene, get your fix at the Mt View Hotel, the London Tavern or the Spread Eagle. Prefer cheese and vino? There’s The Ugling Ducking, Clover, or Lilac (technically in Cremorne - a teeny, tiny pocket within the same 3121 postcode - but very worthy of a mention). On the fashion front, pick up the coat of your dreams from Friends With Frank’s light-filled boutique before heading to a game at the ‘G. 

Hugo's Deli Fried Chicken Sandwich

Northcote

Just a little further out north (as the name would suggest) lies Northcote. Wildly popular among artists, creatives and young professionals, there’s a huge sense of community in this vibrant, edgy, hipster hang out. High Street is dotted with live music venues, quirky shops, and eateries serving everything from vegan food to gourmet burgers. Catch a band at Northcote Social Club or a film at the art deco style cinema Palace Westgarth. When the hunger strikes, pop into Scott Pickett’s famed Estelle, or for something a little more low key, twirl your fork around a plate of pasta at Zsa’s. Before you head back to the hotel, swing by Ratherdown Records and be sure to pick up a sweet treat from Holy Sugar.

Zsa's plate of antipasti sardines and other delicious items

South Yarra

This sophisticated, stylish, fast-paced suburb is home to scores of equally chic food and fashion spots. Start your sojourn in South Yarra at the 150-year-old Prahran Market for an oozing cheese toastie from Maker & Monger. Next, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice from Tall Timber and wander through the sprawling Faulkner Park. From there, head back towards Chapel Street down Toorak Road for some retail therapy at pre-loved luxury haven Secondo. Finally, end your day at Melbourne institution France Soir followed by a night-cap at Tetto Di Carolina

Maker and Mark cheeses South Yarra

So, what are you waiting for?! As we head into 2024, we’re leaving stuffy hotel chains in sub-par locations in the past. It’s time to shake up the way you travel and stay in a space worthy of such a city. Check into Hotel Indigo, charge up your Myki, and then check out all Melbourne has to offer, right on your doorstep.

Editor’s note: this article was produced in partnership with Hotel Indigo. Thank you for supporting the partners who make Urban List possible. To read our editorial policy, click here

Image credits: Gimlet, Runner Up, Poodle, Hugo's Deli, Zsa's and Maker and Monger

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