Why I brunch where I brunch comes down to several factors—the coffee, the cheery staff, the ability to get a table after 10am on a Saturday (curse you, all you weekend earlybirds…). But lately, I’ve been selecting my cafes of choice based on how absolutely jaw-droppingly stunning they are. And perhaps you’re the same, Listers. Have you welled up with emotion because the tables and chairs so perfectly match the space that they’re in? Do you go to the bathroom just to look at the snazzy tap fixings? Would you happily give up your own humble abode and move into the Bonsoy storage cupboard if they’d let you? Did you maybe, perhaps, just-once, try to steal a coffee cup* because it was just So. Heart-wrenchingly. Beautiful?!
If the answer is ‘yes’ to any and all of the above, you’re going to love this list of the most beautiful cafes in Melbourne. Prepare to start fangirling over their glorious interiors.
The Kettle Black
Hidden inside a town house in South Melbourne is The Kettle Black, aka. the Melbourne cafe you’ll most likely find me living in when the rent in Carlton eventually reaches a unmanageably astronomical level (…so by November, yeah?). The use of various greens, from sage and bottle-coloured tiling, to mint chairs, to living plantlife, along with the hatched partitions and incredible lighting details, makes this a must-visit for any interior-loving breakfast fiend. The perfect combination of old and new.
Ebenezer Coffee & Wine Bar
Black Rock’s hidden gem of a cafe-cum-wine bar, Ebenezer, is home to one of the most stunning interiors I’ve stumbled across in the past year. Designed by Thomson & Co in collaboration Eades&Bergman (who are also responsible for the awesome Korean-inspired venue, Kong), everything—from the custom light fitting, to the antique mirrors, to the leather-upholstered seating, to the staff’s aprons—is perfectly considered, making for a luxurious but relaxed vibe. The design of the bathroom features some surprising metallic details, which match the use of brass, both inside and outside of the building. And that black slate wall? You’d never guess that it’s painted corrugated cardboard! The bayside cafe is well worth a visit for the interior alone, but the epic menu and Seven Seeds coffee seals the deal.
In addition to regularly ranking in lists of Melbourne’s best cafes, Industry Beans in Fitzroy has been named one of the best designed cafes in the WORLD. Masterminded by Melbourne studio Figureground Architects, the venue perfectly combines industrial aspects of the coffee roasting process with an open-plan space and outdoor dining area, complete with green plant-covered walls. Repurposed pallets adorn one side of the café, while its open front means that the entire Industry Beans space is flooded with daylight. It might not be quintessentially pretty, but damn, it’s clever. 10/10 would geek-out about again.
Two Birds One Stone
Stunning ceramic tiling, untreated Scandi-designed wooden stools, macramé hanging succulents…South Yarra cafe Two Birds One Stone is an absolute dream if you like your cafes neat without being standoffish, and filled with warmth. While we love the quirky crystal light fittings (vintage kitsch done the right way, people!), the pièce de résistance has to be the custom-designed brass light fittings from local hero Christopher Boots. I’ve no idea how I’d manage to carry it, but please, can I take it home?
Another of Melbourne’s best cafes is housed in what used to be an Eslternwick service station. This you would NEVER know from looking at the beautiful Tudor-style exterior of southside stunner Glovers Station. Packed full of tartan-clad benches (cute!) and dining furniture from Collingwood studio Earl Pinto, the space is complemented by gold features—yup, the entire coffee station is clad in brushed gold—and delicate glassware. Glovers Station, I salute you and your truly unique twist on Melbourne’s cafe design culture.
Code Black Coffee
Situated on Weston Street, Brunswick coffee mecca Code Black Coffee exudes industrial cool from every inch of its exposed-iron-girder-and-woodstained-chipboard interior. Everything, from the polished concrete floor, to the black-on-black exterior, to the Code Black Coffee packaging is a dream for those who like to brunch on the darker side of life. One for the brutalists/edgy graphic designers going through your ‘all black everything’ phase out there.
Marble, leather and wood. If I could pick three materials to be surrounded by for the rest of my life, it would be these. South Melbourne cafe Chez Dré is the perfect combination of elegance and homeliness. With enough detail to keep things interesting without the entire shebang feeling OTT (we’ll leave that to the desserts), Chez Dré is my No.1 favourite for a touch of down-to-earth cafe class. In need of something a little more swanky? Pop next door to their dessert only venture, Bibelot, for all the velveteen and sparkle your interior-loving heart could dream of!
Been geeking out over an exquisite Melbourne cafe lately? Let me know about it here!
*Stealing’s bad, you guys. Don’t do it.
Image credits: The Kettle Black, Ebenezer Coffee & Wine Bar, Industry Beans, Two Birds One Stone, Glovers Station, Code Black Coffee, Chez Dré - all Simon Shiff for The Urban List except Industry Beans