The inner east of Melbourne consists of a number of suburbs and localities within the Yarra municipality. Compared with glitzy Stonnington on the other side of the river, the inner eastern area is known among Melburnians as a working-class district, filled with pubs and old factories.
Richmond is the home of many low price fashion stores and restaurants; the northern area, centred on Victoria Street, is often called Little Saigon or Little Vietnam due to the huge number of Vietnamese food and shopping outlets. South Richmond is well known for its low price fashion - along Bridge Road - and other wholesale outlets, mostly found along Swan Street. Fitzroy is known as the Bohemian quarter of the city, with numerous trendy boutiques interesting restaurants. Squeezed in the middle is Collingwood, a suburb that is not held to such a high esteem as the surrounding neighbourhoods, but still has its fair share of character-filled pubs and heritage-listed industrial buildings. Abbotsford sits on the eastern fringe by the river, with some nice parkland among disused factories and breweries.
The inner east can be easily accessed by tram, train and road. As far as public transport is concerned, all of the district lies within Zone 1 of Melbourne's two fare zone structure. See Melbourne's Get around section for an explanation of the zone system and fares.
There are an abundance of trams in the district, as most routes must pass through in order to reach suburbs that are further out. Major roads are listed along with the respective tram routes that traverse them.
- Victoria Street in North Richmond is served by trams 30 and 109. Tram 30 can be caught along La Trobe Street (weekdays only) while tram 109 can be caught along Collins Street in the City Centre.
- Bridge Road is served by trams 48 and 75. The 48 operates along Collins Street and the 75 can be caught along Flinders Street in the City Centre.
- Swan Street in the southern part of Richmond is served by tram 70 which can also be caught along Flinders Street in the City Center.
- Church Street is the main north-south road in Richmond and is served by tram 78. The route begins at the intersection of Victoria Street and Church Street in North Richmond and travel south along Church Street which then becomes Chapel Street. The tram terminates at Prahran in Stonnington. They do not go into the City Centre.
- Gertrude Street is the major east-west thoroughfare in Fitzroy. Tram 86 runs its length, before turning into Smith Street. In the City Centre, it can be caught along Bourke Street. The two end stations for this line are the Telstra Dome in the Docklands, and RMIT Bundoora campus.
- Nicholson Street is a major north-south thoroughfare that borders the inner north district. Tram 96 can be caught along Bourke Street in the City Centre. The tram runs between St Kilda and West Brunswick.
- Brunswick Street also runs north-south, closer to the centre of town. It is served by tram 11 and can be caught along Collins Street in the City Centre. The tram runs between Docklands and West Preston in the northern suburbs.
Trains may be faster but they do not bring you to the heart of Richmond, mostly skirting the western edge of the suburb. The exception is in the southern part of Richmond where trains on the Belgrave, Lilydale and Glen Waverly lines run parallel to Swan Street, which is served by Richmond (all trains stop here), East Richmond (which most trains skip) and Burnley stations (also skipped by many trains). North Richmond is served by North Richmond station which is accessed from Victoria Street, whereas Bridge Road can be reached from West Richmond station. While the stations are on both the South Morang and Hurstbridge lines, only the South Morang trains stop at both stations.
Bikes are the best way to get around a large part of the three inner city hubs of Collingwood, Fitzroy and Richmond. Thanks to the ample bike lanes, biking is the fastest way to get around.
A number of frequent bus routes service areas not generally covered by tram or train services. They are best used for east-west travel or for getting to the University of Melbourne. Routes 200 and 207 operate every 10 minutes on Johnston St and Lygon Street (weekdays) from Melbourne Central in the CBD. Routes 250 and 251 also operate along Rathdowne Street.
Fitzroy can be easily reached from the City Centre via Nicholson Street, which connects to Spring Street in the eastern edge of the CBD, or Victoria Parade, which forms the southern border of the area. Gertrude Street runs off Nicholson Street while Smith and Brunswick Streets run off Victoria Parade. In the northern part of Fitzroy, both Brunswick Street and Smith Street intersect with Alexander Parade which leads on to the Eastern Freeway and the Eastern suburbs.
- 1 Bridge Road. Within Richmond, it is most well known for its abundance of clothing factory outlets, which makes it a popular tourist attraction. There are also many stores of up-and-coming local fashion designers.
- Brunswick Street - Long and lively cafe/bar strip in Fitzroy with cheap and decent eats. It's a mixture of eclectic and interesting shops, clothes and food. If street art is your thing, the surrounding alleyways and backstreets are also interesting, with an ever-changing array of graffiti, stencils and stickers on show.
- Gertrude Street - Charming street of Fitzroy with cafes, bars, and unique clothing (and other) shops and art galleries. It runs an after dark light show. Centre of the local Aboriginal community.
- Johnston Street - A street in Fitzroy, the western end is home of the local Hispanic community. Many restaurants, bars and pubs, and the infamous Tote Hotel.
- Smith St - Slightly run down yet charming street in Fitzroy with cafes, bars, and unique clothing (and other) shops.
- Victoria Street - In North Richmond, the street contains a strip of Vietnamese restaurants and shops.
- The heritage listed Foy & Gibson factory buildings in Oxford St.
- 2 Fitzroy Gardens and Conservatory. Conservatory is open daily 9AM-5PM (5:30PM daylight savings). Features a cafe and a conservatory amidst a lush garden setting.
- 3 Centre for Contemporary Photography, 404 George St, Fitzroy, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. W-Sa 11:00-6:0; Su noon-5PM. Daily night projections after dark. One of Australia's premier venues for displaying contemporary photographic works.
- 4 Collingwood Children's Farm, 18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford (Buses 200 or 207: Clarke St stop; cross road and up Clarke St, left at St Heliers and at end of street.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 9:15AM-4:30PM. Perched on the banks of the Yarra River, the attraction's aim is to provide a traditional country farm experience for city-dwellers. A perennial favourite with kids, the farm allows visitors to unwind in the peaceful setting whilst interacting with a variety of farm animals. Cow milking is held daily at 10AM and 4PM, and visitors can also cuddle animals such as guinea pigs, lambs and goats. A café is on-site, and a lively farmer's market is held on the second Saturday morning of each month. $10 adults, $5 children/concessions, $20 families (2A+4C).
- 5 Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford (Buses 200 or 207: Clarke St stop; cross road and up Clarke St, left at St Heliers and on the right), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 7:30AM-10PM daily. This site is host to a number of historic buildings which were originally home to sisters from a Christian religious order. Traditionally associated with community service, the convent now houses a variety of community organisations, including restaurants, bars and two art galleries. Many visitors simply enjoy the ambience of the grounds and soak up the building's history. Guided social history tours run every Sunday at 2PM for $15/person, but must be booked. There are also occasional markets and rotating exhibitions. Free entry.
- Melbourne Fringe Festival, 25 Easey Street, Fitzroy, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Melbourne Fringe is an umbrella organization that aims to support and display the artwork of local, innovative artists. Every year from late September to early October, they feature independent, contemporary artists in the Fringe Festival that spans from the streets of Brunswick to the sands of local beaches. Tickets starts at $10 with some free events.
- Little Salon, 71 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM,. Little Salon is a small boutique specializes in retailing local designer accessories, housewares, and clothing.
- Fat 52, 209 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. With a reputation for Australian Avant-garde and contemporary fashion and design, Fat 52 delivers unique clothes that have the fashionistas clamouring over. Labels include Antipodium, April77, Beat Poet, Chronicles of Never, Criola, Fat, Friedrich Gray and Hem and Haw.
- Kleins Perfumery, 313 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, ☎ . Home to all things that look and smell desirable, Kleins Perfumery stocks more than 60 fragrance and cosmetic brands. An assault on the senses in the very best way.
- 1 Rowena Parade Corner Store, 44 Rowena Parade (between Richmond Station and Bridge Road). This is a hidden away breakfast and lunch place, frequented by locals. It aims to recreate the community focused cafés in Europe. They offer seasonal foods for breakfast and lunch. Good atmosphere, good coffee, and freshly prepared quality food, make this place a favourite with locals. If the seating is full in the front of the store, walk through the kitchen to more tables out the back and in the garden! Dishes start at $8 for breakfast and $12 for lunch.
- 2 Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder, 48-50 Bridge Road, Richmond, ☎ . 7AM-5PM. An established cafe with a wide selection of cured meats and cheeses.
Most eateries in Richmond have something vegetarian on the menu. Here are some options for exclusively vegetarian restaurants.
- The Loving Hut, Shop 10, 242 Victoria Street, ☎ . International dishes from Europe and Asia. Meat, alcohol and smoking free zone, this place offers cheap, tasty and healthy meals. Open lunch and dinner every day except Monday.
- 3 Tofu Shop International, 78 Bridge Rd, Richmond, ☎ . This little gem has been in operation for around 25 years. They make their own tofu, and serve a range of vegetarian main courses, as well as deserts. A plate for 2 people to share costs $23 and a takeaway box for 1 person is $11. The seating inside is limited to benches facing the wall and window. Eat in or Takeaway.
Victoria Street in North Richmond is virtually synonymous with Vietnamese food. Head here for the best pho (rice noodle soup with beef or chicken), com tam (pork ribs with broken rice) and other delicious dishes.
- Van Van Vietnamese Restaurant, 160 Victoria Street, ☎ . Complete menu with everything you could want from Vietnamese food. Most popular are the noodles and rice dishes. Individual dishes start at $8.
- Pho Dzung, 208 Victoria Street, ☎ . Strictly for noodle lovers because they do not serve anything else. But rest assured, the pho dac biet (special beef noodle soup, complete with tripe and other innards) and others on offer are excellent.
- Quan 88, 88 Victoria St. Tidy and simple - try the chilli eggplant stuffed prawns - Delicious!
Fitzroy is a well-known cafe precinct of Melbourne. The majority are concentrated around Brunswick Street , although many are starting to spill over to Smith Street, where you will see more ethnically-unique food amongst the neighbouring streets. Napier Street runs parallel to Brunswick Street and contains a series of friendly residential pubs.
- Babka, 258 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, ☎ . The all-day breakfast menu is great, but you may also be tempted by the Russian blintzes filled with cottage cheese and served with a citrus sauce.
- Atomica, 268 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, ☎ . Renowned for blending the perfect roast, Atomica is mecca for coffee lovers looking for their caffeine high. Cakes and pastries are made inhouse and are the perfect accompaniment to a smooth flat white.
- Vegie Bar, 380 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, ☎ . Specialising in organic, vegan and gluten-free meals, Veggie Bar offers healthy food in generous servings with a price range that doesn’t break the bank. Serving food so tasty that even hardened meat eaters will be impressed.
- Trampoline, 381 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, ☎ . Enormous variety of mouthwatering ice cream and gelato flavors.
- Bimbos, 376 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, ☎ . Hard to miss, with a giant Kewpie doll stuck to its roof. Bimbos serves $4 gourmet pizzas from Sunday to Thursday and has an outstanding range of chilled infused vodkas made on the premises.
- Joes Garage, 366 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. An all-time favourite which is always busy due to huge meals and cheapish prices.
- Napier Hotel, 210 Napier Street, Fitzroy, ☎ . The Napier is a great local pub with a laidback atmosphere, excellent food and an outdoor seating area. The bogan burger has a reputation because of its size, but the real winner here is the parma with smoked kangaroo.
- Marios, 303 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, ☎ . With white tablecloths and old fashioned waiters, Marios is still serving good Italian-Australian cuisine and satisfying coffee.
- Books for Cooks (Books for Cooks), 233-235 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy (Take 86 Bundoora RMIT tram to Smith & Gertrude Streets), ☎ . M-Sa 10SM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Specialist culinary book store with over 30,000 new & old cookbooks & books about wine & food bought & sold. Victorian Specialist Bookseller of the Year 2009, 2010
- Doctor Java, 87a Smith Street, Fitzroy (Take 86 Bundoora RMIT tram to Smith and Gertrude Streets), ☎ . M-Sa 8:30AM-5:30PM, Su 10AM-5:30PM. Family run cafe with excellent coffee. Ask Tim about his coffee art!
- Atomica Cafe, 268 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, ☎ . A great cup of coffee to cure jetlag. Strong, but well balanced mix of coffee and silky smooth milk. Atomica has seats on the footpath too, if the upbeat music is too much for your coffee buzz, and where on a warm sunny day, it is an ideal spot to mix it with the Brunswick Street crowd.
It is said that Richmond has a pub on every corner and it very nearly does! There are heaps of fantastic places, something for every taste and budget. Here are a few the locals like:
- All Nations Hotel, 64 Lennox St. Can be a bit hard to find, (head south off Victoria Street or north from Bridge Road), but well worth the effort. Fabulous bar menu, friendly staff, cosy snug bar and airy beer garden. The sort of pub where everyone knows your name. Open til 11pm every night.
- Collection, Bridge Rd. Cocktail bar with an impressive selection of drinks and has Sunday afternoon jazz sessions. Not much room outside but the drinks are tasty.
- The Corner Hotel, Swan St. Deep grungey hole of Richmond with band room and fabulous rooftop bar. If the band is worth seeing, they will play at the Corner.
- 9T4, 94 Swan St. Place to go once the Corner across the road serves last drinks. Smallish but heaps of atmosphere and bands on weekends.
- Terminus, Victoria St in Abbotsford and a wee way away from everything else, but a 'must' drink location. Grungey, retro, with a bistro, pool room plus an enormous beer and rooftop garden, the Termi is the essential final stop on any Richmond pub crawl.
- 7 grams, 505 Church St, Richmond, ☎ . For a 'best in show' coffee (check out the shelves housing their trophies). Despite these grand accolades, the cafe is unpretentious, with an understated decor and a row of black-topped, chrome-legged stools along a mirror bar. It's an all Greek family affair, with the three Haralambopoulos brothers running the cafe, while their mother Georgia helps out behind the scenes.
- Scarlett Lounge, 174 Burnley St (near the corner of Bridge and Burnley), ☎ . A hidden Marrakech in Richmond. Moroccan-themed night spot with dance floor. Very popular with amazing atmosphere.
- 1 Royston Hotel, 12 River Street (near Bridge Rd and Burnley St). 3PM-midnight. Great local microbrewery beers, great pub food and quiet atmosphere. Don't bother with the restaurant section out back, just stick to the front bar. The chips are amazing value and Monday/Tuesday is locals night for slightly cheaper meals ($17-20). Avoid on Wednesdays unless you have a trivia booking or you may not find a seat. $10-25.
- 2 The Goat Bar, cnr North & Clark St (opposite the Royston Hotel). W F 5PM onward. This is the brewery that started the microbrewery fashion in Melbourne back in the early 1990s. The brewery is at an industrial warehouse that holds the Mountain Goat Beer brewery, and if you go on Wednesdays you can join a free brewery tour at 6:30PM (no need to book for groups under 4). Otherwise, drop in for good local beer and pizza. Bike friendly but can get very crowded on Fridays.
- The London, 238 Lennox St (between Swan St and Bridge Rd), ☎ . 11am - late. The London is a large tavern, with lots of room to sit down and have a drink, or enjoy a high quality pub meal. Show sports on various channels. Can be very crowded during a big sporting event, and before and after an AFL match at the MCG.
- The Nunnery, 116 Nicholson Street (between Hanover Street and King William Street; near the Museum; catch the 96 tram from Spencer Street Station, get off at stop 13 on Nicholson Street), ☎ , toll-free: 1800 032 635, fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Fitzroy. 24-hour reception. Dorm beds $23-$27, single $60, double/twin $65-$75, other options also.
- Richmond Lodge, 37 Buckingham Street. Richmond. These serviced apartments are near Victoria Street restaurants and Bridge Road shopping! What more could you want!
- Riverwalk Melbourne, 649 Bridge Road, ☎ 1300-857-922 (local rate). 4 km from the CBD, the hotel is in the popular Bridge Road shopping precinct.
- Andre's Mews, 89 Church Street, ☎ . Luxurious 1- & 2-bedroom apartments available with private bathrooms, internet, air conditioning/heating, TV, etc. Within an easy walk or tram ride to these shops, MCG, Rod Laver Arena. The city is less than 4 km away.
- The Metropole Hotel and Apartments (Chifley at Metropole), 44 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, ☎ , fax: . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. 60 apartments, with a mix of studios, hotel rooms, standard and executive. Amenities include business and secretarial services, express check in, 24 hour reception, complimentary full security undercover parking, guest laundry and same day dry cleaning, Cafe Metropole, and an outdoor heated pool and gymnasium.
- Quest Royal Garden Apartments, 8 Royal Lane, Fitzroy, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Quest Royal Garden Apartments offers hotel services with the privacy of an apartment in a garden setting. Each apartment furnishes a dedicated phone line with fax and modem access and secretarial services.