The beauty of the global pandemic (and there isn’t a hell of a lot of it) is that it’s opened the door to a slew of top-notch domestic staycays right in our very own backyard. With international travel well and truly off the cards for a hot minute, our Bali bucks can now be better served to stimulate our own local economy (and all its delicious nooks and crannies). And as Melbourne awakes from its economic coma, there’s never been a better time to ditch the dining room desk you’ve been shackled to and pencil in a local staycation in one of Melbourne’s juiciest inner northern suburbs — Preston.
We’ve teamed up with the brand new Quest Preston to pen our top tips for nailing an anything-but-basic Melbourne staycation in the coming warmer months because holy heck you’ve earned it.
Devour Delicious Feeds
Preston is literally brimming with top quality grub. With eateries boasting flavours from every corner of the globe and dining options ranging from relaxed to ritzy, there’s literally no end to the ways you can fill your tum. The crème de la crème include Dexter — a BBQ joint oozing in southern-style slow-cooked meats (it would be a crime to pass on the salted caramel ribs), Stray Neighbour – a converted panel beaters workshop that now specialises in damn good seasonal grub (and a growing list of cocktails), and This Borderland – an American-style diner that caters to carnivores, omnivores and everything in between. However, if it’s a light bite and some caffeine you’re after, head straight to Contraband Coffee Traders who believe unbelievable coffee is an amalgamation of science and passion.
Wet Your Whistle At The Best Watering Holes
The good news is you’re spoilt for choice if you’re looking to settle in for a cold one in Preston. Surly’s Bar & Garden has got you covered when it comes to casual drinks, board games and an on-point seasonal tap selection. Another laid back local is The Raccoon Club — a bar that gets their kicks serving local drops, including Victorian craft beer and wine. If you’re after something a little fancier, pencil in a stop at Jamsheed Urban Winery (in either the dive bar or the winemaking floor) where you can sip a single vineyard Syrah alongside an equally delicious set menu. And if speakeasies and jazz dens are more your jam, Ragtime Tavern is your go-to. These guys specialise in good music, booze and food under the one homely roof.
Pimp Out Your Itinerary
In terms of things to do, Preston Market should be at the top of your list. 2020 marks this local institution’s 50th year spruiking artisanal goodies, fresh produce, bespoke wares and good vibes in The Centreway. If you’ve still got cash left after a few hours perusing its stalls, blow it all on the biggest nationwide addiction of the modern millennium – indoor plants – at Plantsmith. Owned by Liz Turner, a qualified horticulturalist for over a decade, the natural oasis is home to over 200 plant varieties and a wealth of accompanying knowledge that will no doubt increase the odds of your Fiddle Leaf surviving a long, hot summer.
Another fantastic local store to go delightfully broke in is Pinky’s – a family-friendly gift store decked out in soothing ice cream colours. Browse owner Emily Green’s range of signature jewellery and accessories, as well as other irresistible ceramics, homewares, soaps, candles and books. After all that self-gifting, it seems only right that you celebrate at Moon Dog World’s new popup outdoor restaurant – Beside the Brewery x Bluebonnet BBQ – where you can go drink for ribs with local brews and delicious barbecue meats until November 22nd.
Nail The Accommodation
Lastly, but most importantly, you’ll need some flash digs in which to lay your head after a long day of valiantly supporting local business. One particular place to have on your radar is the brand new Quest Preston, who opened its doors on 9 November. With its last lick of paint now freshly dried, Quest Preston represents the newest and best hotel in Melbourne’s north. Sitting smack bang in the middle of all the action on Preston’s bustling High Street, it features 79 lush apartments, with spacious detached living, dining, and lounge areas to spread out and staycation in style.
Too pooped to pop to the shops for dinner ingredients (that you’ll prepare in your very own fully equipped kitchen)? No worries – you can receive groceries fresh from Preston Market straight to your Quest Preston apartment door via the Quest Pantry Shopping Service. And if you can’t get enough of Melbourne’s urban scene, you’re sandwiched between both the Regent and Preston train stations, which can take your staycation escapades as far and as wide as you’d like in our reawakening city.
There’s never been a better time to be a tourist in your own city. For more information on the brand new Quest Preston apartments or to book your staycay, click here. But get in quick, the first fifty bookings will receive 15% off and a six-pack Moon Dog Old Mate Pale Ale to sweeten your stay. To redeem this offer, simply enter code 'URBANLIST' at check out.
Image credit: Austin Chan