St Kilda Neighbourhood Guide
It’s plain to see from the throngs of backpacker hostels rubbing shoulders that St Kilda has already earned a reputation as a backpackers wonderland, however there’s more to do in this neighbourhood than just sinking beers in the sun. The revamped waterside strip is now a foodies playground filled with artistic spaces to admire local works, markets to be explored and community projects to inspire you.
Veludo Restaurant & Bar
Nestled in the busy shopping strip of Acland Street, Veludo embodies the casual and versatile nature of St Kilda. You can pop in for brunch, stay for a midday bite or enjoy a sit-down dinner before heading upstairs for some live music and DJs until late. The food is classic Melbourne, with some original food combinations and a contemporary but relaxed atmosphere. There are also specials throughout the week to satisfy any type of foodie, from pasta night on Monday to Parmas of the World on Thursday and everyone’s favourite ‘Cheap Tuesdays’, featuring a buffet an all day happy hour.
Milk The Cow
An intimate fromagerie and wine bar, Milk the Cow has shored up its reputation as a quality outlet thanks to its spectacular cheese range, including cheese flights with matching booze and signature cocktails. Despite its popularity, it manages to remain humble and hospitable and is favoured by foodies, tourists and locals alike. There’s no need to be a connoisseur to enjoy the selection though, the knowledgeable staff are always happy to offer their wisdom and advice. For something a little different, Milk the Cow also offers unique events, including guest chef appearances, special cheese-inspired dinners and wine-matching nights. This sophisticated hideaway is truly a must-try in St Kilda.
This lively watering hole is notable for its retro New York apartment fit-out, being equipped with a bed, bathtub and quirky home ornaments to boot. The most distinctive feature is the bar’s ability to simultaneously host casual work drinks, a dance party and a seriously intense game of Giant Jenga with ease. The menu features a generous offering of cocktails, pizza and regular specials all named after Hollywood movie stars and landmarks. A night at 29th Apartment is like one of those effortless house parties with all your pals, except no one needs to crash on the floor and no one is stuck scrubbing the carpet the next morning.
This gem on the St Kilda shoreline has become a popular local regular for a reason. On a bright summers day it’s the perfect beach bar, opening out onto the boardwalk and a breezy courtyard with envy-inducing hanging wicker seats for two. Inside, there are live music events and options for either fine dining or a casual bite. There’s Lazy Yak on tap to quench your thirst as well as cocktail jugs and Happy Hours throughout the week. If you’re keen for a greater seaside view you can also visit Republica’s upstairs rooftop bar, Captain Baxter. Republica is a self-described hangout ‘For The People’ – be it for a Sunday session, quick lunch or Saturday night out with your mates.
Day Of The Dead
Day of the Dead is a dreamy and lavish cocktail bar, making it the best of all the Mexican offerings in St Kilda. Hiding inside the George Building, this welcoming bar offers an unrivalled cocktail menu crafted with care and intrigue. There are old favourites, twists on the familiar and ‘The Masterpieces’, all complemented with simple but generous servings of Mexican-style bar food. Day of the Dead invites guests into a world of fantastical art, culture and inventive hospitality.
Veg Out Community Gardens
This tranquil community garden in the shadow of Luna Park is the perfect oasis in an otherwise bustling suburb. Run solely by volunteers and community groups, the grounds host garden plots, art and installations all year round. Best of all the greenery is organic and chemical free – the perfect way to enjoy some time out and get back to your roots.
Veg Out host an organic Farmers’ Market on the first Saturday of each month. The market, held at Peanut Reserve behind the Gardens, showcases a range of fresh produce and unique products from primary producers. This not only includes fresh fruit and vegetable; you can also grab cheese, meat, jams, olives and even coffee straight from primary producers.
Pumpkin Lane is an artist-run gallery showcasing modern art and celebrating local talent and culture. Exhibited inside a converted brick house, Pumpkin Lane hosts a variety of paintings, sculptures and photographs. The studio is run by modern street artist, Jaromir Krejcik, and graphic designer Lisa Krejcik, who even offers her graphic design services through the gallery, and the pair host art workshops, classes for kids and artist talks throughout the year. Pumpkin Lane is the perfect place for local art-lovers and creators to gather and revel in the creativity of St Kilda’s art community.
Alternative retailer Chakra is a veteran of the Acland Street shopping strip, specializing in rustic jewellery, vibrant clothing and spiritual ornaments. Inspired by Hindu and Tibetan culture, the owners are ethically conscious and happy to assist customers in navigating the large array of adornments available. Chakra has stood the test of time, not only for its reasonable prices, but also for its ability to celebrate culture and externalize the unique essence of St Kilda.
Hiding just off Grey Street, Bookhouse is a quaint second-hand bookstore with a focus on architecture, photography and design. You’ll find a range of vintage magazines and comics amongst the array of books, as well as a distinctive collection of wall art. Visiting Bookhouse is an experience in itself, even if it’s just to scan the shelves and leaf through the vibrant visual publications.
The Classic Bicycle Shop
The Classic Bicycle Shop offers exactly what you imagine – vintage bikes and accessories in classic single-speed or three-speed style. The showroom on Grey Street exhibits their entire range and the passionate staff are happy to help you find your perfect European-style bicycle, or simply chat about this niche and elusive hobby. If you want to splurge, they even offer custom built pieces and specialty bikes.