- Matthew Clark
Market Lane would be almost impossible to find unless you’re lucky, already know where to look, or are really, really desperate for a coffee. At the back of the Prahran Market you can find this simple, open-air cafe where they serve a modest menu of pastries and coffee, pure and uncomplicated. Here, you won’t be able to find your usual mocha-with-hazelnut-syrup or dirty-chai-mango-latte, you will only find coffee as it was meant to be, straightforward and unadulterated.
Tucked away in a shopping plaza in Melbourne’s centre is Mister Close, a cult favorite for Melbourne’s food and coffee lovers. Mister Close is named after the Geography teacher of the cafe’s two owners. Here you can find food utilizing flavors from all around the world as well as coffee from Campos, a coffee provider who supplies coffee directly from the producers. The menu, which changes daily, is sure to delight, whether you’re coming for breakfast, lunch or the always necessary 3.30pm snack. The expertly brewed coffee is the perfect pick-me-up any day of the week.
Degraves Espresso Bar
This cosy little cafe in Degraves Street is one of Melbourne’s lesser-known secrets. There is a lot of choice on this busy city-centre laneway, and the problem is that all the cafes are good. However, Degraves Espresso Bar meticulously provides consistently smooth coffee. By recycling old cinema seats, the ambiance of this cafe is old-school and grungy, with the menu written in chalk on the walls around the room. But regardless of the location or decor, this cafe produces some of the best coffee available in Melbourne.
Degraves Espresso Bar, 23 Degraves St, Melbourne VIC, Australia +61 3 9654 1245
The bright, contemporary fixtures in this cafe are complemented with splashes of sunny yellow, which create a scene that you wouldn’t expect to find while drinking some of Melbourne’s best coffee along with great French breakfasts. Hardware Société is the authentic French brunch experience providing crusty bread that goes perfectly with their famous baked-eggs and chorizo. Top it off with a hot cup of coffee, and you’ll have the perfect brunch.
Hardware Société, 120 Hardware St, Melbourne VIC, Australia +61 3 9078 5992
Collingwood is one of Melbourne’s grungy inner-city suburbs, and one of Melbourne’s oldest. Its buildings date from Victoria’s industrial era, and the area is now a hub for Melbourne’s street art scene. This is something that Proud Mary embraces. Simple wooden decor and red brick walls leave a relaxing ambiance for one of Melbourne’s coolest cafes. The brilliant coffee made with coffee beans roasted in-house isn’t all this cafe has to offer. The all-day breakfast menu provides everything you need to start your day, whether that be classic Vegemite on toast or their pork belly sandwich served with aioli and spiced paprika relish.
Proud Mary, 172 Oxford Street, Collingwood, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, +61 3 9417 1444
Heartattack and Vine
Located in Melbourne’s premier spot for Italian cuisine, Lygon Street, Heartattack and Vine is the only place serving speciality coffee from 7 am until 11 at night. Offering three short menus, one for each meal of the day, you may not have a lot of choice, but when it’s all so good, you won’t need it. The recently award-winning interior design is a genius mix of rustic and miss-matched, and chic contemporary. Each cup of coffee is so good you’ll just have to come back again in the evening to try their expertly crafted cocktails – what a shame.
Heartattack and Vine, 3052/329 Lygon St, Carlton VIC, Australia +61 3 9005 8624
Top Paddock’s philosophy is to match coffee with food. They use coffee from Five Senses, an Australian coffee roaster that prides itself on excellent, ethically produced coffee, as well as roasting their own beans in house. The gourmet, all-day menu contains a mix of light mueslis as well as some heavier, warmer options. The dull-tones crossed with white colors of the decor give a refined look which reflect the delicate food and coffee.
Top Paddock, 658 Church St, Richmond VIC, Australia +61 3 9429 4332
Located in an old warehouse that is hidden in a South Melbourne laneway, Chez Dré (from the French, meaning ‘Dré’s place’) mixes industrial style art-deco with rustic recycled timber to create a chilled-out atmosphere for you to enjoy your expertly brewed coffee and authentic French pastries. All of the delicious viennoiseries are made in-house with immaculate detail that can only be matched in a genuine French patisserie. Chez Dré provides Melbourne with some of the best bread in the city as well as classic brunch favorites with a modern French twist.
Wide Open Road
Wide Open Road produces coffee that is excellent. Using blends of coffee beans from South America and Africa, Wide Open Road roasts their coffee in-house and works hard to create a taste that is balanced between sweetness and acidity by constantly evaluating their roasts to get the best out of the coffee. Along with the coffee for which this inner-city suburb cafe is known, there is a modest breakfast and lunch menu where you can find expertly crafted options packed full of flavor.
Wide Open Road, 274 Barkly Street, Brunswick VIC, Australia +61 3 9010 9298
White and bright with a clean sheen, Patricia challenges the modern hipster coffee culture with their sophisticated, minimalist brewery. You might be disappointed to hear that you won’t be able to come here and sit for hours with your MacBook Air, while you sip your skinny cappuccino, because it’s standing room only. Perhaps it should be considered more of a ‘coffee bar’ rather than a ‘cafe’. But either way, Patricia is a convincing choice as the regular for your morning coffee.