1. The Best Hangover Brunch: The Green Refectory
Sydney Road (stop thinking about Savers) is home to an absolute gem known as The Green Refectory. When you emerge from a night which you entered thinking, ‘oh, I’m not going to drink much’, and left by passing out on a beanbag, The Green Refectory offers love and hangover nursing meals. The menu states ‘we understand and sympathize that your brain feels like jelly and your soul hates you’ and offers delicious breakfasts, hot drinks and cakes ready to be a band-aid to your burden. If the ‘Breakfast Stack’ (mushrooms, egg, mashed potato and spinach) isn’t enough, or the UFO sized pancakes don’t tickle your fancy (or soak up the alcohol), then surely the price tags will – this place is cheap, with most menu items going for only $10.
You can find The Green Refectory at 115 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
2. The Best Chai Latte – Dukes
Sometimes, you just don’t feel like a coffee. Being a mature 20-something, you can’t face the judgmental face of the barista as you order a hot chocolate (best to leave it until you can make a Milo at home). So a chai latte does the trick.
I have been searching for a chai that wins my heart and finally, I found my prince – in the form of a duke. Dukes, in Chapel, is well known for its coffee. However their chai latte takes the cake, in my humble opinion. Made with chai tea leaves and brewed milk, it goes down very nicely indeed served with just the right amount of honey. A royal treat.
Dukes Coffee is at 169 Chapel St, Windsor.
3. The Best Jeans – Dejour Jeans
Now here’s something you don’t see every day. Down Sydney Road, you will find yourself standing outside a seedy looking late eighties styled shop shouting Dejour Jeans: Factory Direct in an (ironically) denim blue type. It’s no surprise that the shop appears dated, as owner Nam opened the store in 1989 after moving from Ho Chi Minh City.
The drabby exterior turns into jeans heaven inside. Every single pair of jeans you could ever want await you – low-cut, cords, skinny-leg, high-rise – in every colour. For $40. And they’re tailored to you. As you wait. For no extra cost. And that’s not even the best part.Their motto? “Good Jeans. $40. We make them fit. For free. You go on hot date.” Yeah you do.
Venture to 542 Sydney Rd, Brunswick, for your hot date with Nam.
4. The Best Bar – Bar Nothing
No, take a breath, it’s not Cherry Bar. Deep within Carlton (no cab drivers have ever managed to find it without our help as of yet) lies gorgeous little Bar Nothing. The humble name is very fitting once you are greeted by the low lighting and slouchy garage sale couches filling the inside. With only one small bar at the back, first impressions lead you to believe someone has just opened up their living room for a few drinks. But you are oh so wrong.
Now, I know it keep banging on about places that are cheap, but let’s be honest here. Being students means that we’re in a constant state of being broke. How many times have you rocked up at a club only to find out it’s $20 entry and then slunk away to Lucky Coq because you know you can get in free? I thought so. That’s why Bar Nothing makes all its patrons smile. They offer a range of fifteen different cocktails, for $4.50 each, or five for $20. Take that, club entry.
Drink to your heart’s content (responsibly of course) at 16 Pigdon St, North Carlton.
5. The Best Vintage – Lost and Found Market
“Now, don’t get excited. Don’t lose your head, Augustus. We don’t want anybody to lose that.” Truer words have never been spoken than these by Willy Wonka, and they express exactly the advice you’ll need when stepping into the Lost and Found Market. It seems as if every vintage clothing hunter in the world has pooled the best from their collection and delivered it directly to your eager little paws here. There is a seemingly infinite number of clothes and accessories for men, women, and children too. Not only can you create a wardrobe for life in this single store, you can also furnish an entire house. It’s as if the Chapel Street Bizarre and Shag had a love child together.
A small warning: It is a little overwhelming. You will get lost. But it’s worth it for what you’ll find.
Get lost at 1-5 Perry St Collingwood (just off Smith St)