All posts filed under: shop

Queen Vic Night Market returns

Heads up, people. The Queen Vic Night Market returns next Wednesday (5 November) for another season of yum food, cool tunes, twinkly lights and sweaty crowds. Yes, it’s full of overheating tourists and it can be nigh on impossible to find a seat, but come here on a balmy summer evening and you’ll feel like you’re on holiday (or perhaps you are on holiday — in which case, soak it up!). The market runs every Wednesday night until 25 March 2015 except Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.   The Night Market Dates: 5 November 2014 — 25 March 2015 Time: 5pm–10am Where: Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne   Advertisements

Captains of Industry

I have a new cafe crush. Captains of Industry couldn’t be more Melbourne. Tucked down a laneway off Little Bourke Street, this cafe sits one floor above street level, its large front windows overlooking the beautiful GPO building on Elizabeth Street. The space has a warehouse look, with painted brick walls and large metal roof beams, but it doesn’t feel cold or cavernous. A smattering of small wooden tables, a long dining table and window benches makes this a comfortable hangout whether you’re visiting as a group, a couple or alone. And here’s where the industry comes in. Branching off from the main cafe space are three tiny shops: a shoemaker, a barbershop and a jeweller. Each is the size of a shoebox, but each is filled with a fascinating array of tools and contraptions. Peeking through these doors is like catching a glimpse into the Melbourne of another era. While the website declares that ‘the practitioners of Captains of Industry are Practical Men of Wide Experience offering the Good, the True and the Beautiful …

CERES Community Environment Park

If you love nature, gardening, organic food, bicycles or animals, or if you’re passionate about conservation and general do-gooderness, you should head to CERES Community Environment Park in Brunswick East. This place is like an urban lung, feeding Melbourne’s northern inner suburbs with oxygen and greenery and the smells of fresh dirt and ground coffee. Apart from being a lovely place to simply wander around and look at chickens, CERES has its own Organic Market, a Permaculture Nursery, and an Organic Cafe. CERES also offers a range of courses and workshops on all things green and sustainable; check the website for details of what’s on offer. There are also a bunch of volunteer opportunities here, so contact CERES if you’re keen to get involved. One popular and very handy CERES service is the team of volunteer bicycle fixer-upperes at The BikeShed. If, like me, you’re a little mechanically challenged, take your ailing bike along to CERES and the kind folk here will teach you how to fix it yourself. You can also buy new and second-hand bicycle parts …

The Night Market at Queen Vic

The 2013–14 season of the much-loved Night Market at Queen Victoria Market kicked off last week and will be rolling on all through the summer. If you’ve never visited this weekly shindig before, make sure you get there this year. You’ll find a mishmash of stalls selling everything from fashions to handicrafts to tarot readings, over 60 street food vendors and three stages showcasing local live music. Come here on a warm summer night and the place will be packed with locals and tourists soaking up the festive atmosphere. You can expect to pay between $8 and $15 for most stall meals, and there are a few licensed vendors selling alcoholic drinks, too. Check the Night Market website for weekly music line-ups and other details.   The Night Market Dates: Running ever Wednesday until 26 February 2014 (excluding 25 December and 1 January) Time: 5pm–10am Where: Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne    

Why do books cost so much in Australia?

Books are expensive in Australia — too expensive for many people to afford to buy them regularly. There are complex reasons for this, which, for an economics dummy like me, are difficult to understand. In a nutshell, it seems publishers’ production costs in Australia are higher than in, say, the USA, and local copyright laws prohibit Australian booksellers from ‘parallel importing’ — importing the same books at cheaper prices. A few years ago, the government considered scrapping these restrictions, but finally decided against it. There was much debate about the pros and cons of parallel importing — see these articles by Jeremy Fisher, Michael Wilding and Matthia Dempsey. Having worked as a book editor in a local publishing company, I understand the need to support this industry that nurtures local writers, but on the other hand it’s difficult to do this if you can’t afford to buy its products. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way around this. If you want a locally produced book by your favourite author, you will need to save your pennies and pay for it — usually between $25 …

Garage Sale Trail 2013

It’s the ideal way to spend a Saturday morning in spring: grab a friend or three and while away few leisurely hours visiting garage sales around the neighbourhood. Most Saturdays there are usually a few garage sales (also known as yard sales) happening around Melbourne, but they’re often spread out and difficult to find. But on Saturday 26 October, that’s going to change as the country explodes into one big garage-sale smorgasbord extravaganza. … Ok. That may be a slight exaggeration. But there will be an unusually high number of sales happening in Melbourne on this day, thanks to the Garage Sale Trail. This initiative started three years ago in the suburb of Bondi in Sydney, and has since spread across the country. The GST is all about fostering sustainability and creating a better sense of community by encouraging households to hold garage sales rather than throw unwanted bits and bobs into the tip. Already there are 898 sales registered in the Melbourne region, over 200 of which are in the city’s inner suburbs. The …

foreign language bookshop

    If you’re new to Australia and craving some entertainment in your own language (or you’re trying to learn a new language), head to the Foreign Language Bookshop in Collins Street in the CBD. This place sells books and films in over 125 languages. They stock fiction and non-fiction books, language learning courses, foreign-language board games and gifts, dictionaries, foreign-language travel guides and ESL products. The store is located below street level near the corner of Collins and Elizabeth Streets. It’s easy to miss — keep an eye on street numbers and look for the neon red sign pointing down a flight of stairs.   Foreign Language Bookshop Address: 259 Collins St, Melbourne Open: Monday–Friday 9am–5.30pm, Saturday 10am–5.30pm Tel. 9654 2883 Email: shop@flb.com.au  

Mediterranean Wholesalers

One of the best things about Melbourne — if not the best thing — is its multiculturalism. Not only do we get to interact with people from a huge variety of cultural backgrounds, but we also get to eat their food. The Mediterranean Wholesalers in Brunswick is heaven to lovers of Italian cuisine. This place stocks pretty much everything you could wish for, and much of it can be bought in bulk. Even if I don’t feel like buying anything, I love wandering through this place just to smell the delicious food and hear the tiny nonnas with their perfectly coiffed hairdos chat away in Italian. Coming here is like going on a miniature holiday. Food plus culture plus travel. To me, that equals big love.   Mediterranean Wholesalers Address: 482 Sydney Road, Brunswick Vic 3056 Tel: 9380 4777 Opening hours: 9am–5.30pm Monday to Thursday, 9am–7pm Friday, 8.30am–2pm Saturday Read more reviews on

doing the block

– – A hundred years ago, Melbourne socialites would dress in their finest and head into the CBD to ‘do The Block’ on a Saturday afternoon. This entailed strolling around the city’s two fashionable shopping arcades, The Block and Royal Arcade. While this tradition has unfortunately been lost (I must admit I would love to carry a parasol and walk haughtily around the city), these two arcades are still very much in existence. Today, they’re filled with posh boutique stores and have become one of the CBD’s main tourist attractions. The Block was built between 1891 and 1893 and has the somewhat random distinction of featuring the largest mosaic tiled floor in the country. Royal Arcade was constructed a little earlier, in 1869, and is known for its large clock flanked by the mythical characters Gog and Magog, which have been in place since 1892. Both arcades are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register as particularly fine examples of Victorian-era architecture. It’s rare to find public buildings in Australia that convey such a strong sense …

seek, and ye shall find

– – The Brotherhood of St Laurence store in Brunswick Rd is a particularly great op shop. It’s enormous, and it’s a triple threat: a go-to place for clothes, furniture or books. They’ve got mountains of everything. – Brotherhood of St Laurence Community Store Address: 109 Brunswick Rd, Brunswick 3056 Tel: 9387 9519 Opening hours: 9.30am–5pm Monday to Friday, 9.30am–5pm Saturday, 10am–4pm Sunday –