Bodies awash with dappled rays, the smell of freshly baked bread and a light breeze blessedly drifting through the alleyway. The subtle coos of plump pigeons pecking crumbs of sourdough off the cobblestone floor. Lonesome daisies poke out of the cracks in the walls alongside vines that spindle off unto the umbrellas and catch themselves creeping, intertwined with the iron chairs.
Sometimes there's no other way to drink an espresso than in an open courtyard. Melburnians seem to know this quite well, so we've rounded up many places where you can get your fix outside.
A homely cafe that serves super cheap and super delicious fare. Their courtyard is tiny, but if you can secure a nook, it's well worth the wait.
Bluebird Espresso | 134 Johnston Street in Collingwood
Though Green is a bit of a rabbit warren to navigate, their courtyard is well worth it. A long, narrow stretch opens up into an airy space with lots of seats for you to enjoy your coffee and cake within.
Green Refectory | 115 Sydney Road in Brunswick
A bohemian, white-washed interior is complemented by a quaint little courtyard filled with plants and mismatched chairs. Fantastic brunch/lunch, from Middle Eastern eggs to quinoa porridge; they've got their liquor licence too!
Gypsy Hideout | 68 High Street in Northcote
A courtyard to the side of the restaurant is a good way to escape the morning takeaway coffee rush, with breakfast, lunch, sweet treats and nightly eats on the menu daily.
Pope Joan | 79-75 Nicholson Street in Brunswick East
PENNY FARTHING ESPRESSO
A quaint wooden courtyard perfect for a study session or a brunch date with a new beau. They've got Industry Beans coffee during the day and 'rehydrate' with the Step Through come dusk – cold brewed coffee, Campari, Triple Sec, cucumber and lime.
Penny Farthing Espresso | 206 High Street in Northcote
Brunch fare and delicious coffee with a long, narrow and well lit courtyard. Astro-turf floors and the option of shade and sunshine makes this one a stand out.
Min Lokal | 422 George Street in Fitzroy
Though you wouldn't guess there was room for a courtyard out the back, there most certainly is! It's titchy but with the promise of handmade sausage rolls, you won't mind a bit.
Slowpoke Espresso | 157 Brunswick Street in Fitzroy
This cute cafe housed in a, well, house, is the gem of Rose Street. As well as serving a bunch of vegan/vegetarian brunch options, they've recently built themselves a courtyard made of shipping containers for you to sip Moroccan mint tea in. Yum.
Grace Cafe | 76 Rose Street in Fitzroy
GORSKI AND JONES
The separation between the smokers' courtyard and non smokers is a blessing for both parties, but it's the delicious coffee and outstanding eggs benedict that make it stay worthy. Open for brekky, lunch and dinner.
Gorski and Jones | 304 Smith Street in Collingwood
A Thornbury paradise that's worth hopping off the tram for, Little Henri has a MASSIVE courtyard filled with light and umbrellas and those fabulous communal tables that remind me of the beach. Food is fabulous as is the coffee, but it's cash only folks!
Little Henri | 850 High Street in Thornbury
Though this part of Clifton Hill is somewhat unassuming in terms of hospitality, Mixed Business makes sure it stands out. Street-side seating, as well as a spacious inside, are also on offer if the courtyard is full (which it often is). They've got some the best poached eggs I've ever eaten, so I'd go regardless.
Mixed Business | 486 Queens Parade in Clifton Hill
It doesn't really look like a courtyard because it's at the front of the shop and has open walls, but it's just as pleasant to sit in and munch away at some of the gastronomical marvels that Industry Beans whips up daily. Think latte bubbles.
Industry Beans | Warehouse 3, 62 Rose Street in Fitzroy
THE KNIFE SHOP
Yes, it is a knife shop, but it is also a cafe. It's kinda eclectic and looks straight from an op shop catalogue, but their courtyard is nostalgic of run down share houses and the perfect spot to eat and drink for hours on end.
The Knife Shop | 287 Wellington Street in Collingwood
The crème de la crème of Melbourne's hospo scene at the moment, Top Paddock offers great food, fantastic coffee and boasts a vibrant atmos seven days a week. Its wraparound balcony sort of vibe doesn't technically mean courtyard, but it's so pleasant sitting out there that you won't think twice.
Top Paddock | 658 Church Street in Richmond
NEW YORK TOMATO
A roller door guards the entrance to this cool Richmond cafe, where patrons will be surrounded by flowers, herbs and, of course, good nosh.
New York Tomato | 6 New Street in Richmond
This elevated wooden courtyard looks out into a private nook of vine-covered, old school offices, making it a private sanctuary for the working class. Their scrambled eggs are to DIE for.
Dr. Jekyll | 107 Grey Street in St Kilda
The cobblestone courtyard is a perfect haven for a hungover Sunday session. Grab a bloody Mary and their famous spicy wagyu burger and you're in business.
St Edmonds | 154 Rear Greville Street in Prahran
A compact communal courtyard is accompanied by breakfast and lunch seven days a week. DJs and burgers moonlight on Fridays and Saturdays, so you've got no excuse to miss it.
Grindhouse Cafe | 217 Carlisle Street in Balaclava
PILLAR OF SALT
The first couple of times I didn't even notice there was a courtyard because I was too preoccupied with the food and the coffee and the super attractive staff. It's hidden out the back and there's not much place to sunbake, but it's perfect for the too-hot weather.
Pillar of Salt | 541 Church Street in Richmond
A southside icon, Las Chicas is the haunt of hangovers and hungry souls, with ample space in their courtyard for Balaclavians. Especially with that waistline-popping Benedict.
Las Chicas | 203 Carlisle Street in Balaclava
STABLES OF COMO
Less a courtyard and more an open cafe, Stables nails it in terms of picturesque surroundings. Grab a picnic basket and chill out on the Como Gardens lawn.
Stables of Como | Corner Williams Road and Lechlade Avenue in South Yarra
With exceptional food and coffee, Cru's narrow alleyway full of chairs and tables opens up into an extensive courtyard, with shade and sun in equal measure. Non-smokers rejoice – you can't bring your butts out here.
Cru | 916 Glenferrie Road in Kew
In conjunction with the art store next store, Untitled and its cute courtyard is one of the best places to hit up for breakfast or lunch in Elsternwick.
Untitled Cafe | 544 Glenhuntly Road in Elsternwick
HAWK & HUNTER
With stacks of seating indoors with a massive floor, you'll be fighting for one of their Kermit green chairs and wooden benches outside. Treat yourself, the food is exceptional, and you can also pick up bits and pieces from their shop behind the counter.
Hawk & Hunter | 8-10 Glen Eira Road in Ripponlea
Brand new and bloody huge, Hawthorn Common boasts a roaster, a herb garden, a flour mill (!!!) and they make all their preserves and condiments on site. Their elevated rooftop courtyard offers a great street-side view and patrons look set to lose many an hour over coffees and nosh here.
Hawthorn Common | 302 Burwood Road in Hawthorn
Recently renovated, Snow Pony's courtyard is spacious and full of light, like every courtyard should be. Get a load of their McPony, they're famous for it.
Snow Pony | 95 Whitehorse Road in Balwyn
Percy's courtyard looks like the courtyard in my house, which makes me very, very comfortable. Almost too much so. Seasonal food and happy staff make for great bonus points.
Percy's Aeroplane | 96 Denmark Street in Kew
A Melbourne icon and rightly so, Auction Rooms has a high walled courtyard that is less about sunshine and more about that inside-the-house garden feel – which works quite well. You know the coffee's fantastic, and the nosh is always freaking mind blowing.
Auction Rooms | 103-107 Errol Street in North Melbourne
A cafe that boasts a bricked courtyard complete with woodfired oven. Nibble on a pizza and trick yourself into believing you're in Europe.
Garden Tuscany | 32 Young Street in Moonee Ponds
Epitomising cool, Roller Door cafe is all surf-beach-chic and quirk. Diners can pop themselves on low tables and milkcrates to enjoy top notch cafe fare.
Roller Door | 13 Stawell Street in West Melbourne
Main Image Credit: St Edmonds Facebook