Melbourne is a town of delicious things, awash with cafés, bars, restaurants, and entertainment. On the weekends, the inner-city suburbs and outer nooks of the Melbourne region teem with brunch-goers, but during the weekdays and evenings, the central business district (CBD) is full of possibilities, both in coffee and beyond. Trying to catalog all of the deliciousness overflowing this maze of laneways is an impossible task–particularly when it comes to coffee, with outposts from most of the city's well-known companies available within easy walking distance. You've got to go and experience it all for yourself, and to start you off on your explorations, we've got this list of a few great places for spectacular coffee, drink, and food in the Melbourne CBD.
Up in the very northern end of the city, between Bourke and Little Bourke, Traveller is a cosy and neat café offering simple and delicious Seven Seeds coffee accompanied by sweet delicacies from a range of great local bakers, as well as offering light food items courtesy of the Seven Seeds kitchen.
Located smack bang in the middle of the colourful Crossley St, it’s a great place to pull a stool up out the front, enjoy a batch brew, and get all up in that laneway culture that Melbourne is so famous for.
Traveller is located at 2/14 Crossley Street.
Altius Coffee Brewers
Recently opened by two Market Lane Coffee alumni, Hannah Alderton & Jarrod Pageot, Altius can be found down a little nook off Flinders Lane in the southern end of the city. Here, they take a simple approach in their beautifully fit-out café (just look at those charcoal tiles with pink grout), serving up Market Lane coffee through espresso and pour-over alongside sweet treats from the likes of Little Bertha and Shortstop Donuts.
Altius is located at 517 Flinders Lane.
Dukes Coffee Roasters
Located further up Flinders Lane, closer to the centre of the CBD, is Dukes Coffee Roasters at Ross House. The space is a visual delight, with intricate tiling on the floors alongside warm wood and cosy lighting, a perfect space to either hide away in the booth at the back, or settle in to the window seat and watch the world go by.
Dukes pulls their coffee through two espresso machines (one for black coffee, one for white), with a range of filter brew methods and sweet treats to accompany all the delicious brews.
Dukes Coffee Roasters is located at 247 Flinders Lane.
Located down Little Collins street at one of the entrances to retailer behemoth David Jones, Sensory Lab is reminiscent of your mother’s kitchen, with just a little bit of science laboratory mixed in. Here they serve their own roasts, with bites to eat on the side, and an eclectic mix of foot traffic to gaze at while you enjoy the coffee. You’ll also find an impressive retail range, with Hario coffee and tea wares the star of the show.
Sensory Lab is located at 297 Little Collins Street.
Patricia Coffee Brewers
If you’ve never been before, Patricia can be a hard spot to find, but is entirely worth it. With a beautiful space that is standing room only (just read the tiles in the front door), this busy café is frequented by a large array of lawyers, students, coffee enthusiasts, and confused tourists. Serving up a range of coffees from Seven Seeds, Market Lane Coffee, and Small Batch, as well as cookies, cakes, and occasionally donuts, there’s plenty here to keep everyone satisfied.
Patricia is located at the corner of Little Bourke & Little William Street.
Whisky and Alement
Home to one of the most impressive whisk(e)y lists in the Southern Hemisphere, Whisky and Alement is a shrine to delicious liquor, in a very unassuming part of town. As the only venue in Victoria that’s associated with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, their retail offering is unparalleled for those hard-to-find drams of golden amber. This is a great place for a quiet drink or two, or a rowdy Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday night when they offer Glaswegian boilermakers (a shot of whisky alongside a beer) for only ten dollars.
Whisky and Alement is loacted at 270 Russell Street.
Rooftop Bar & Cinema (7/252 Swanston Street)
On beautiful summer days and evenings in Melbourne’s CBD, Rooftop is where you want to be—up on the top of Curtin House, drinking a beer and taking in the view on the CBD bustling below you. With a range of delicious beverages and an in-house burger kitchen to keep you sated, in the summer months Rooftop also brings the entertainment with their outdoor cinema.
Walk through the nondescript entrance, descend down some stairs, through some curtains, and some more stairs, and you’ll find yourself in Izakaya Den. With a long bar overlooking the neat and efficient kitchen, tables along the wall, and a mirror at the back making the space look all the more cavernous, it’s often easy to forget where you are and what time of the day it is in the space. Here there are all sorts of delicious treats to be found, from addictive sweet corn kakiage and tuna tataki, to umeshu and Japanese twists on classic cocktails; essentially, Izakaya Den brings the goods.
Izakaya Den is located at 114 Russell Street.
The latest feather in the cap of chef and restaurateur extraordinaire Andrew McConnell, Supernormal is a hub of carefully curated activity up in the northern part of the CBD. Food here is a creative interpretation of many different Asian cuisines, from lobster rolls and slow-cooked szechuan lamb to mouthwatering desserts like soft-poached meringue, sheep’s milk yoghurt, apple & shiso. The drinks list at Supernormal is equally impressive, spanning delicate natural wines like the Cabernet & Franc rosé from The Gentle Folk in Adelaide, to refreshing yuzu sake to round the meal out.
Supernormal is located at 180 Flinders Lane.
Eileen P. Kenny is a Sprudge.com staff writer based in Melbourne. Read more Eileen P. Kenny on Sprudge.
Full disclosure: Kenny works shifts at Patricia Coffee Brewers. That aside, as an editorial staff we 100% agree with her that Patricia is a must visit.