Often overlooked for being nothing more than a train station location, Balaclava is in fact a small but bustling little area of cafes and more. With the majority of its life being centred on Carlisle street, it’s a strip just bursting with sights, sounds, and things to do.
Monk Bodhi Darma
Literally off the beaten track (tucked away in a carpark behind Woolies) is this tiny coffee-lovers’ hangout. Serving a strictly vegetarian menu, and roasting their own beans in store, Monk Bodhi Darma is the spot you’ll wish you found sooner.
You can’t have a conversation about food in Balaclava and not mention YoChi. Although it’s frozen yoghurt and, well, technically not a meal, you can’t deny that it most definitely deserves a spot in this list.
Deliciously filling the Vietnamese-shaped hole in Balaclava is Uncle. Serving the freshest Vietnamese fare, in this laidback, stylish venue, you’re going to want to get in early for dinner to avoid waiting for their 10/10 pho and build-it-yourself bao.
This Carlisle Street spot is a haunt for locals and we can very easily see why. With their seriously good coffee and their famed haloumi burger with homemade coleslaw and pickle relish, they don’t mess around when it comes to delivering the goods.
Located right at the Balaclava train station, Las Chicas has been a Balaclava institution for over a decade. Serving up fresh, local, and sustainable produce, along with St Ali Coffee, there’s more than one reason that Las Chicas has stood the test of time.
This eclectic corner shop is a great place to sit back and relax for your daily coffee or weekend brunch. There’s all day breakfast, an exceptional lunch menu and some cool street art nearby for your OOTD check in.
The Local Taphouse
The Local has built up quite a reputation since being labeled ‘The Best Beer Bar in The Land’ by renowned beer journo and author of The Beer Bible, Willie Simpson. Serving up delicious food to match what’s on tap, you’d better go and check this place out asap.
Carlisle Wine Bar
With an Italian-influenced menu, and an ever-changing but extensive drinks list, the Carlisle Wine Bar is your ultimate for an intimate spot to grab a drink and a bite to eat.
You can’t miss this place with its bright pink neon signage outside. And trust me, you don’t want to miss it—especially on a Tuesday, when there are specials on the tacos and the Coronas. God bless Taco Tuesday.
Little Lost Land
This vintage-style store features limited edition unique pieces designed in New York. Expect to drop big $$ if you love vintage.
Lulu and Little Lulu
This is one of those stores where you walk in needing one thing and walk out with ten more. Featuring an ever-evolving range of locally designed clothing, accessories, and homewares, Lulu, and its sister store, Little Lulu are your one-stop shop.
The Little Hen
With a huge range of fresh food, organic, vegan, and health products, The Little Hen is your spot when you need to inject some health into your fridge and pantry.
William Street Gym
Specialising in Muay Thai, boxing, and strength and conditioning training, William Street Gym has classes for any age. Literally. There are kids classes. And they’ll get you up and fighting fit in no time.
Crossfit Balaclava has one of the largest training facilities in Australia, and boy do they make use of that. With a minimum of six classes a day, and experts to guide you through everything from perfecting a squat to dietary advice, Crossfit Balaclava has you covered.
Image credit: Yo-Chi by The Urban List