Section 8

Melbourne's most quintessential laneway bar.

What was meant to be a temporary container unit bar in an empty car park has stayed put and is possibly the best thing to have ever happened to Melbourne. In the heart of the CBD, on the outskirts of Melbourne's Chinatown, down an alleyway lies Section 8. 

Section 8 is as industrial as it gets. The open-air space is surrounded by a chain link fence and graffiti every which way you look. Inside, there are barrels to perch your beer on, wooden crates to sit on and pallet furniture galore. This place is proof that you don't need to spend a ton of money to create a great bar. DJs are regularly spinning the decks meaning there is basically always a laneway party going on at Section 8.

The drink selection is pretty vast for such a small place. Grab something exotic from their imported beer selection like a Royal Jamaican Ginger Beer - a delightfully refreshing beer with a lingering spicy kick. Sink an Australian classic in the form of Coopers Pale Ale, Melbourne Bitter or good ol' Stone & Wood Pacific Ale. Or check out what beer specials they're stocking for the week. Cocktails are aplenty too - choose from the classics or try a herbaceous Chartreuse Swizzle combining Green Chartreuse, pineapple juice, lime and velvet falernum or a Mediterranean Azedar with gin, fino sherry and elderflower with apple, lemon juice and egg white.

Need food to soak up some of that alcohol? Section 8 also serves a selection of burgers, hot dogs, fries, and melted cheesy open-face sandwich goodness aka zapiekanki (which is basically a polish pizza).

This is a Melbourne beer garden like no other.

www.section8.com.au

27-29 Tattersalls Lane, CBD, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000

Section 8 Melbourne CBD Voyage Collective Billie Norman
 

8bit.

Fast food at its best in Melbourne's CBD.

Remember when you used to play video games in 8bit? Well now you can eat delicious fast food and pretend you're in one. In the heart of Melbourne's CBD lies 8bit - a fast food joint whose quality puts it above the rest. 8bit is a reminiscence to video games of days gone by. The interior is fun and playful with a bold blue and yellow colour scheme. On the walls you'll see 8bit artwork of your favourite Nintendo games. Even the tiles are pixelated. At the front of the store, you can get your 8bit fix while you wait with the old school Arcade Classics game machine.

The menu has all of the varieties of burgers and hot dogs you could ever want (and they are all named after old school video games, of course). Grab the 'Double Dragon' for double everything, the '1 Up Mushroom' for all of your veggie needs, or the 'After Burner' if you think chilli sauce and jalapeños should coexist. But sometimes you've just got to go for the classics. The '8bit with Cheese' comprises of a juicy beef patty with tomato, lettuce, onion, pickles, mustard, cheese, ketchup and 8bit sauce all squeezed into a soft sesame seed bun. While the '8bit Dog' consists of a huge smoked frankfurter topped with grilled onions, pickle, relish, ketchup, mustard and spring onions. 

For those who say it isn't over until they've had dessert, don't you worry, salted caramel, peanut butter, and strawberry cheesecake milkshakes are available. And there's even a changing weekly chocolate bar milkshake.

Classic 8bit, classic food.

www.eat8bit.com.au

231 Swanston Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000

 

Goldilocks

Have a rooftop bar to yourself, go to Goldilocks.

Hidden above a bustling Chinese restaurant (Noodle Kingdom) lies a rooftop bar that apparently nobody has heard of. Jump in the elevator, head up to the fourth floor, walk through the exquisitely decorated yet outdated interior bar, climb up the stairs on the left and you'll find yourself with your own private rooftop bar. Well, we did.

With wine, cocktails and craft beer aplenty, you can while away a fair few hours at Goldilocks. Grab a seat around one of the barrel tables or sit on the edge (quite literally) to take it all in. Try the Lebowski and sip on a delicious blend of butter vodka, kahlua, black walnut bitters and almond milk. Get some Dutch Courage in you with a gin, lemon, lavender, and white cacao number. Or indulge in a classic Espresso Martini. Feral, Murray's and Mornington are the main craft beers on offer. And as those those cold winter months start to set in, so too does Goldilocks hot mulled cider (in collaboration with Custard & Co.). For extra warmth, add spiced rum or red wine to this beautiful concoction.

Among sleek skyscrapers and funky architecture, this is a great little rooftop spot to take in the bustling city of Melbourne while feeling like a million miles away from it all. At sunset is the best time to go. As the sun lowers, it’s last few rays flicker in and out of view as they weave their way around dark office buildings. And as day turns into night, see the city become even more alive.

Watch Melbourne life go by from up high at Goldilocks rooftop bar.

www.goldilocksbar.com.au

Level 4, 264 Swanston St, Melbourne, 3000

 

Doughboys Doughnuts

Happiness in circular dough form in the heart of Melbourne's CBD.

Among skyscrapers and business suits, you’ll find a small shop serving happiness in circular dough form – often with sprinkles on top. Doughboys Doughnuts brings a little life to Melbourne’s CBD with a variety of creative doughnut flavours to try, as well as coffee (of course).

The space was created primarily with doughnut production in mind. From the rolling to the baking to the dipping, you can see it all - whether you're inside waiting for your doughnut or walking past glancing through the window. That being said, the place is pretty small with limited seating and has more of a grab-and-go feel to it. Check out those checkered floor tiles though...

The doughnuts are delicately soft, pack a lot of flavour and end with a sweet finish. Our top picks are blueberry coulis, apple spiced cider, almond butter and original glazed. If you’re really going for it, sit in and grab the affogato - enjoy the hot-cold sensory combination of espresso poured over Messina ice cream and a sugar donut.

And don't worry if you can't get to Doughboy's CBD store as they deliver their goods to a number of Melbourne cafes.

Get your afternoon delight at Doughboys Doughnuts.

www.doughboysdoughnuts.com.au

535 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000

 

Williamstown

A bayside suburb offering views of Melbourne from a different perspective.

Only 15km from Melbourne's central business district, Williamstown is a great spot if you want some time away from the city. Established in 1837 as Melbourne's first port, Williamstown and its sheltered harbour played an important role in the early settlement of Victoria. Delve into the rich maritime history of this quaint little suburb, soak up some local life and admire the city skyline from the other side.

The best way to get to Williamstown is by jumping on a ferry – see how the city meets the seaside as you cruise along the Yarra River through the waterfront hub of Southbank, past colourful corrugated cargo in the Docklands, and into Hobson's Bay before arriving on the other side. 

A walk along the waterfront provides you with an insight into life in Williamstown, way back when and present. Originally built in 1867 to protect Melbourne from invading ships, Two Sir William Armstrong Rifled Muzzle Loading Fortress Guns (or cannons, to the rest of us) bring to life the town's history. Nowadays, you’ll see an abundance of boats bobbing up and down in the water in an almost rhythmic pattern. Get even closer to the action by taking to one of the many piers. At the end of Ferguson Street Pier, local fishermen dangle their feet over the edge as they wait for the catch of the day.  

Over winter, you'll find the Steve Irwin Sea Shepherd ship docked at Gem Pier. Sea Shepherd, the non-profit ocean conservation organisation provides free tours of the vessel every Sunday (while it's docked) from 10am-4pm, with crew members onboard giving you the latest info on current and recent campaigns. 

After taking in all of that ocean air, while away the rest of the afternoon at Crowded House cafe and enjoy some good ol' coffee.

Williamstown, you cute.
 

www.visitwilliamstown.com.au

Williamstown, Victoria, 3016

 

Cape Schanck

Walk from clifftops to beaches in the Mornington Peninsula.

Mornington Peninsula is the perfect day trip when you need to escape the hustle and bustle of Melbourne city life. Only an hour from the city, the region boasts a number of vineyards, farms, and outdoor activities. And with a plethora of picturesque coastal spots to choose from, you'll definitely have to go back more than once. 

Cape Schanck, the southernmost tip of the peninsula, is a great place to go if you want a leisurely stroll along a striking coast. Atop of the cliff stands the Cape Schanck Lighthouse showing off its 1859 architectural beauty. A timber boardwalk begins at the main car park, descending you from the clifftops through bush to rocky beaches. Along the way, there are several viewing platforms to take it all in.  The large jagged rock formation at the bottom, which seems as if someone has just plonked it there from out of the sky, is Pulpit Rock. Formed over millions of years, it is a remarkable coast line complete with ferocious waves and basalt rock pools.

If you're wanting more of a walk, the Bushranger's Bay Trail begins at Cape Schanck and ends at Main Creek. The 5km (return) path meanders through the Australian bush, next to farmland and along the rugged coast, with stairs heading down to the bay if you want to get close and personal with those wild waves.

Cape Schanck, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Victoria, 3939

Mammoth

Creative brunch served like a work of art.

Perched on the corner of Beatty Ave and Malvern road in an unusual triangular-shaped space is Mammoth. A cafe brought to you by the culinary geniuses behind Barry, Touchwood and Pillar of Salt, this is definitely one to add to the 'must eat here' list when in Melbourne. Mammoth goes above and beyond your run-of-the-mill avocado on toast, and instead, delivers an innovative menu that will make you think Picasso is in the kitchen.

The interior is dreamy with exposed white brick walls, oak surfaces and splashes of pastel colours throughout. With downstairs seating, an upstairs area and a bar top, the space is surprisingly roomy. In the middle of the cafe a little hole in the wall (with incredible chefs behind it) delivers the goods.

The menu is bold and exciting with each choice arousing curiosity. With four separate stacks, the North Shore is always a head-turner. Barrels of ham hock hash, poached eggs, and a cheesy jalapeño popper are balanced (on top of each other and in taste) by a grilled pineapple topped with caramelised sugar and filled with tabasco. Equally impressive is the Egg Brulee - rolled-up pickled zucchini, artichoke and soft boiled eggs with a burnt sugar finish are beautifully assembled on top of multigrain rye bread. Other weird but alluring dishes include the Cherry Lamington Puffed Pancake, Char Spanner Crab Egg Crepe and the Lobster Donut Burger. All menu choices are served as impressively as their names would suggest.

Coffee is on point too, with the use of Five Senses beans.

An imaginative brunch menu, tranquil decor and friendly staff put Mammoth leaps ahead of the rest.

www.eatmammoth.com

736 Malvern Road, Armadale, Melbourne, 3143

 

Mile End Bagels

Wood-fired bagels and cream cheese schmear for days.

On the outskirts of Fitzroy, a graffitied warehouse has been transformed into a bagel-making bakery-come-café. This is no ordinary bakery as it includes a custom-built wood-fired bagel oven, specially crafted by a Canadian stonemason.

From the outside, you wouldn't even know Mile End Bagels existed (I should know I walked past it three times). The outside walls are constantly being plastered with posters of upcoming events or specials that the bakery may have. Inside, the space is small as the majority of the venue is being used to make and bake those delicious bagels in an open kitchen - you can see the whole bagel process from start to finish. White walls, exposed bricks and bags of flour encircle a large communal table on the left, whilst takeaway Seven Seeds coffee is available on the right. The minimalist yet gritty vibe perfectly suits Fitzroy, and has a certain similarity to the hip Mile End suburb in Montreal, Canada (where the name of the bakery derives from).

The bagels are Montreal-style, which means that they are slightly sweeter and slightly denser than their New York counterpart. You have the choice of plain, sesame seed, poppy seed, a combination of everything or cinnamon-raisin. The cream cheese selection is also aplenty - plain, spring onion, dill and caper, tobiko, or honey ricotta,. Keep it simple with just a cream cheese schmear or try one of the sandwiches: smoked salmon with lettuce and tobiko cream cheese, smoked beef with kraut and spring onion cream cheese, maple bacon and cream cheese, to name a few. The menu updates regularly so you can try something different every time you visit. Bagels can be also be bought by the dozen and taken home in old school brown paper bags.

Check the guy's Instagram for specials and nonstop bagel love.

www.mile-end.com.au

14 Johnston Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, 3065

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scroll Ice Cream

Ice cream rolled up and put in a little cup.

Inspired by Thai street vendors, Scroll Ice Cream brings to Melbourne a new way to eat a much-loved dessert. How does it work? Local ingredients (predominantly milk and cream) are placed on a -20°C cold plate, crushed up, flattened and spread out to make an even layer. The cream quickly freezes into ice cream, and before you know it your dessert is being spiralled into five cute scrolls, placed into a little cup and sprinkled with delicious extras.

Scroll’s interior is playful with bright and colourful artwork, wooden pallet furniture, faux grass and a white picket fence. One wall is plastered with customer comments on sticky post-it notes - have a read, people are funny.

Ice cream flavours are fun with a number to choose from, some of which include: Pavlover which comes with strawberries, passion fruit coulis and a dusting of meringue, Coco Lovin' made with coconut cream, lychee, blackberries, and blueberries, Say Cheese - a baked New York cheesecake flavour with strawberries and biscuit dust, or Nutter Butter consisting of a Tim Tam, crushed nuts, brownie, wafers and chocolate.

And best of all, this stuff is preservative free so indulge you must.

www.scrollicecream.com.au

190 High Street, Windsor, Melbourne, 3181