This past weekend Patrick and I traveled to Melbourne, Victoria for Patrick’s birthday. Patrick has been to Melbourne before, but I had not until this past weekend. I was very excited about this trip 1.) because I had heard so many good things about Melbourne and 2.) it was a surprise trip for Patrick’s birthday.
What started out as a great surprise trip quickly went downhill after I realized that I had booked our trip right in the middle of soccer season… (facepalming at my complete and utter lack of not thinking on this one). After I realized this I had to make a few changes to our trip and let Patrick in on the secret that we were going somewhere. All was good, he knew we were going somewhere, but didn’t the where or when. This secret was all I had left, but as usual Patrick was hot on my trail and figured out quite quickly that we were going away for his birthday. Since I still had one part of the secret left I still felt accomplished.. that is until our lunch with Brad and Kim in the Hunter Valley where Kim accidentally let it slip that we were going to Melbourne… Oh well the secret was out, but I wasn’t going to let that spoil the fun.
We have an awesome friend named Jimmy who offered to drop us off at the airport and pick us up so we wouldn’t have to pay for parking. After a two day workweek, Thursday rolls around and Jim shows up promptly at 5:00am to take us to the airport for our 6:20am flight. When we arrived at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport I was nervous about the weather. Melbourne is known for its four seasons in one day, and the skies overhead were a bit cloudy and looked like it might rain. We took the Skybus to the CBD and from there walked to the closest tram stop to catch a tram to our hotel (the amount of room at a some of the tram stops is basically non-existent, and only enough room for a single file line of people). Upon arrival to the hotel I attempted to get early check-in, but was unable so we stowed our bags and set off into the city. (not all trams are as cute as the one below, most of them were more modern)
Patrick had heard about some outlets over on Southbank so we hopped on a tram and then walked to the rest of the way to shops. The good thing about the outlets was that since it was 10:00am on a Thursday they were completely empty! That meant it was super easy to get in and out without the hassle of a million people. After the outlets we proceeded to walk down the path that was right next to the Yarra River. This walking path has the river on one side and restaurants on the other as well as being very picturesque. Unfortunately it did start to rain while we were walking looking for somewhere to eat lunch, but after we ate the rain quickly died off. On our way back to our hotel we walked up Bourke Street mall for some more shopping (shopping is the thing to do in Melbourne!).
After a long day of walking and shopping we headed back to our hotel for much needed showers and a rest. Before we headed off to dinner we wanted to hit a couple bars along the way. I had read about a few secret bars and rooftop bars in Melbourne and we wanted to go check them out. We dressed up and headed off to the first place which was called the Workshop bar. We didn’t plan on going to this one, Patrick just saw it while we were walking and we proceeded to go in this dodgy space and up the stairs we went. The Workshop bar was a neat start, but overall it didn’t tickle my fancy that much so after one drink we left and headed onto the next.
This next place I had read about online and was really keen to go see it. The new trend these days is to have bars that are considered speak easys. These bar’s are not usually advertised on the outside and there is usually a certain way or task to complete in order to get in. So Patrick and I headed for the restaurant State of Grace. Once we arrived to the State of Grace we walked in and through a door that led to the toilets. In this room was two doors for the male and female toilets and a bookcase. In order to get into the secret bar Fall from Grace you must pull a book from the shelf and the bookcase will slide away revealing a staircase that leads you into the basement bar (literally pulling the book was sooo cool and full filled every childhood fantasy of secret rooms). We walked through the door and down the staircase into a room full of people and it was quite loud. I was amazed you couldn’t hear any of it up in the restaurant. Fall from Grace had a real 1920’s vibe about it, dark red walls, dark wood fixtures, marble, leather, old books, a massive crystal chandelier and deer heads hanging on the wall. I loved it as soon as I walked in. We ordered drinks from the bar and settled into the intimate atmosphere.
For dinner I chose another place that I read about online called +39 Pizzeria. Patrick was not that enthused with it at first, but quickly shut his mouth when we tasted their amazing pasta!! I was in heaven and Patrick quickly recalled all earlier comments because he too admitted that it was sooo soooo good. After our lovely meal we continued to walk around Melbourne and explore some of the lane ways when as we walked back to our hotel. We had a great first day but we both crashed before 8:30 unintentionally.
On Friday we woke with renewed enthusiasm and quickly dressed so that we could go eat breakfast in Melbourne’s iconic DeGraves St. It was unfortunately raining again, but that didn’t stop us from walking to the cafes. We managed to pass through a few super cute lane ways on the way and finally settle to eat breakfast at a cafe called The Quarter.
After breakfast we set out for Hosier Lane to take in Melbourne’s famous street art. The lane ways were covered in really cool graffiti and it really brightened it up on the rainy day.
We ended up doing more shopping, but this time at the Melbourne Central, where there ended up being this old factory building inside the building!
Melbourne Central was massive and I could have probably spent several days in there just going through all the shops. The last thing we did before we went back to the hotel was visit Captain Cook’s Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens. The cottage originated in England around 1755 where the Cook family lived in it for many years. It was later bought by an Australian man in 1933 as a gift to the Victorian people. The cottage was carefully disassembled, shipped to Melbourne, Victoria and reassembled in Fitzroy Gardens.
For our last evening in Melbourne we met up with our friend John who now lives in Melbourne for another night out visiting secret and rooftop bars. The first place we visited was all the way in Chinatown down a small lane way that zigzagged to the point where you were thinking what have I gotten myself into. You can see in the map below the alley we had to walk down to get to this place. The Croft Institute has a science lab theme and kind of reminded me of Breaking Bad. They even served your cocktails with a plastic syringe which you were supposed to use to drink it.
The next place we went to was a rooftop bar called Madame Brussels. This rooftop bar had a garden party/high tea/ it was very feminine with lots of pink and white. The waitresses were all wearing short white skirts, pastel sweater, and white tennis shoes.The boys looked a little out of place at first but when we emerged on to the rooftop and picked a seat they settled right in. Well as it turns out Madame Brussels owned several Brothels in the late 1800s right here in Melbourne. So while Madame Brussels rooftop bar may look innocent with its garden party facade there is actually an underlying sex factor waiting for you in the names of the cocktails on the menu. Madame Brussels is also know for the cocktail jugs to share, so of course we ordered two and they were both really good considering the one I drank had tequila in it and I DO NOT DRINK TEQUILA.
After finishing at Madame Brussels we headed off to get some dinner right down the street at the Grand Trailer Park Taverna for some delicious burgers. The Grand Trailer Park Taverna is exactly what you think it would be like. It feels like you just stepped into back in time to a vintage trailer park with airstream caravans and picnic tables. We ordered our burgers and mine came with a mac and cheese croquet and it was absolutely delicious.
After we stuffed our faces with delicious burgers we headed off toward the cookie bar, but on the way I spotted another secret bar that I had read about online. All that was visible to the eye is a tiny sign hanging with a logo and the words Goldilocks. In order to get to Goldilocks you must go into the restaurant Noodle Kingdom and take the elevator to the fourth floor. Upon exiting on the fourth floor you enter a a bar with intimate booths, bookshelves, and bear heads hanging on the walls. Obviously the theme here is well Goldilocks, someone greets as you get off the elevator and you then ask to go up onto the rooftop. The view from the rooftop was amazing and they had another bar on the roof with Christmas lights strung all around. All around very cool.
We leave Goldilocks and head back to the rooftop cookie bar which is just a few doors down. The unfortunate thing about the cookie bar is that is on the roof which means we had to take 7 flights of stairs to the top. My thighs were burning by the time we reached the top, where I was then greeted with another set of stairs that led up onto the actual roof. The cookie bar was by far the most crowded and the largest rooftop we had been to so far. There was loud music, lots of young people it was definitely the most popular place. Patrick and John ordered drinks and we found a cozy spot near one of the outdoor heaters to wind down the night.
I will definitely say that I loved the night life in Melbourne, and Patrick and I will be going back soon to hit all the other little hidden gems that are tucked away in the laneways and rooftops.