1000 £ Bend
The big warehouse space generally means it’s easy enough to get a seat and you won’t feel rushed or like you have to move along. Bagels and nachos make for affordable snacks throughout the day, although there are heartier meals, too. There are also plenty of comfy couches if you’re in for the long haul, and good happy-hour specials for when it’s time to reward your hard work.
Mismatched retro couches, kitsch artwork and cheap meals and drinks are all staples of 1000 £ Bend. A venture of Jerome Borazio, owner of former bar St Jerome’s, 1000 £ Bend is appealing in the unpretentious, shabby-chic way Melburnians love so much.
The cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a cup of coffee is a mere $3 during the morning rush. Dishes include burgers and burritos, couscous salads and the usual breakfast fare with plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
The gallery hosts rotating exhibitions, music events and fashion parades, whilst the cinema offers documentary screenings and film festivals. 1000 £ Bend’s relaxed, lounge room-like aesthetic, ample seating and free wi-fi encourages all manner of people to come in for a break and stay for a while.
361 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Transport: Nearby Stations: Melbourne Central
Features: Free Wi-fi, Lots of table space.
Opening Hours: Thu to Fri 8:00 am – 1:00 am, Mon to Wed 8:00 am – 11:00 pm, Sun 10:00 am – 11:00 pm, Sat 10:00 am – 1:00 am
1000 £ Bend website
Time Out Café
Well named café with outdoor area on Federation Square
These guys have one of the most enviable café spots in the city, slap bang in the middle of Federation Square. This makes them perfectly suited for after-work drinks (no need to disappear into Flinders Street Station on the dot of 5.30pm, surely?), or meet-ups with unsure out-of-towners, not to mention pre-movie cocktails before heading into ACMI. Just head for the big orange umbrellas that shade diners from the summer sun. There you’ll have a great vantage point to watch the world go by – from the Swanston Street crowds to the Fed Square Piazza moochers. The all-day menu includes extensive share plates, gourmet takes on classic sandwiches and modern Australia mains. Happily, they also serve breakfast until 3pm. Wash all that down with imported wines, beers and summer pitchers and you might just find yourself staying at your rendezvous point for a few hours.
Cnr Swanston & Flinders Sts, Melbourne 3000
Telephone: 03 9671 3855
Transport: Nearby Stations: Flinders St
Opening Hours: 8am-late
Time Out Café website