Getaway Fact sheets
You are here: ninemsn > Travel > Getaway > Fact sheets

Melbourne: best of Brunswick Street

12:00 AEST Fri Sep 30 2011
Like most savvy Melburnians, Kate Ceberano knows all about Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. It's urban, has a great sub-culture and is just one of those great places to wander, do a little shopping, stop for coffee and soak up the atmosphere.

There are organic fruit and vegetable shops, alternative bookstores and homewares stores with one-off pieces. Retail outlets and apartments have blended into the Brunswick Street tapestry and it's a charming place to visit.

On the fringe of Melbourne's CBD, Brunswick Street is where Kate and many others came to understand coffee culture.

As a budding Billie Holiday, the Black Cat Bar was the first place to offer Kate a job … as a waitress.

The bar is said to be the soul of Brunswick Street and was one of its first cafes. Kate thanks the coffee drinking customers who recognised her singing talent, and eventually she was able to move on to concentrate on it. It's a hot nightspot now with DJs every night and Kate still goes there to enjoy the vibe.

Who doesn't love a bookshop? The Brunswick Street Bookstore has been around for more than 20 years. The owners wanted it to be the kind of place they would enjoy visiting themselves.

Bookworms are encouraged to browse. There are new releases and backlist fiction, a non-fiction selection concentrating on history, politics, biography, science, literature and cultural studies. Cooking, gardening, travel and children have not been forgotten, and their expanded focus includes art, design and architecture.

A light-filled retail space on the first floor was designed by Melbourne architect Peter Brew. It's devoted to the visual arts.

Mario's Cafe is one place deserving of the word 'iconic'. For 25 years Mario Macaronne and Mario de Pasquale's establishment has served distinctive Italian food and excellent wines and coffee. As Mario Macaronne and Kate strolled along Brunswick Street, they talked about how the area has changed, but how it has kept its character. It's certainly become busier and these days people go to Mario's for all-day breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and late nights. Walls are adorned with photographs and paintings of creative locals.

Time for some retail shopping, and Hunter Gatherer is one of Kate's favourites. To Kate, it is the op shop of op shops. Every piece of clothing has been handpicked from hundreds of thousands of wardrobe items donated to the Brotherhood of St Laurence each year.

Kate loves the hand-chosen vintage clothing under its own label, designed and made in Melbourne. Quirky fabric is turned into street wear in the form of knits, jerseys and prints, some handpainted in limited editions.

The Brotherhood has branched into new fashion so the operation is very much a win-win.

The range targets the 30-something-and-under age group with a small production run of select designs each season. It doesn't stop at clothing. They have a range of handmade jewellery, bags, wallets and belts and there will be someone to guide you to find what will go with what.

Hunter Gatherer is proud of its 'no sweat shop' accreditation from the Australian Fashion Industry, and the young, creative people working for them are ensured proper work conditions.


Brunswick Street in Melbourne's inner city Fitzroy.


Black Cat Bar is open Monday and Friday from 10am to 1am and 11am to 1am on weekends.

Brunswick Street Bookstore is open every day between 10am and 11pm.

Mario's Cafe is open between 7am and 11pm every day.

Virgin Australia has one-way flights to Melbourne from:

  • Adelaide $90
  • Sydney $95
  • Brisbane $119
  • Perth $189

The fares are available for a limited time only so log on to for further details.

Prices correct at October 1, 2011.

For further information

Virgin Australia
Ph: 13 6789

Black Cat
252 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy 3065
Ph: (03) 9419 6230

Brunswick Street Bookstore
305 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy 3065
Ph: (03) 9416 1030
Fax: (03) 9417 5081

Mario's Cafe
303 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy 3065
Ph: (03) 9417 3343

Hunter Gatherer
274 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy 3065
Ph: (03) 9415 737

User comments
What about the southern end of Sydney Road Brunswick New small bars and boutique shops opening. Tom Phats is awesome Thai, Tiny Dancer is my girlfriends favorite boutique shop in Melbourne. Roisin Dubh a small little Irish Bar that area is the next big thing I'd say.

Related links


Brochure Search

Free electronic brochures with information, resources and holiday ideas for unique getaways.

Select a destination:
Sign up nowTo Receive the free Getaway newsletter