Freshly brewed: the best Melbourne cafes for design buffs

The hottest pilgrimage spots

Melbourne is known for its bustling cafe culture, with good coffee, food and design merging to create the ultimate cafe experience. Local design studios are pushing the envelope with their offerings, creating minimalist haunts and tropical brutalist boltholes and cafes that rethink that classic industrial aesthetic.

Coffee shops are a daily pilgrimage spot for Australians who value the quality of their coffee as much as their interior design – and we’ve picked out the best new openings.

Here are 5 of the best cafes for the design (and coffee) obsessed in Melbourne.

Gathered, Footscray, Melbourne

Courtesy of Gathered

This 1920s converted warehouse was once a wool factory and now houses Melbourne’s Gathered cafe, designed by local duo Sam and Celeste Gant. Tall steel-framed windows rise to the ceiling and fill the spacious warehouse cafe with natural light. Sheer curtains drape to the floor and minimal timber furniture is strategically scattered around, contrasting the starkness of black factory light fixtures.

Courtesy of Gathered

Ground Floor, S02/90-96 Maribyrnong St, Footscray VIC 3011, Australia

Penta Cafe, Elsternwick, Melbourne

Photography: Tom Blachford

Melbourne practice Ritz & Ghougassain was tasked with designing a simple interior for the pared-back Penta Cafe. The architects opted for a monochromatic, brutalist palette featuring polished concrete floors, terrazzo details, metallic surfaces, black furniture, solid concrete benches and splashes of greenery. The 125 sqm coffee shop is located in the suburb of Elsternwick.

Photography: Tom Blachford

28 Riddell Parade, Elsternwick VIC 3185, Australia

Mr Robertson Cafe, Nunawading, Melbourne

Photography: Sharyn Cairns

Local architect Maria Danos designed Melbourne’s Mr Robertson Cafe which draws inspiration from the historic Robertson Chimney it sits above within a suburban industrial park. Interiors of the Nunawading cafe unfurl around a central stone bar and feature a neutral colour palette with concrete, steel and timber finishings which are accented with touches of rich, earthy browns, and a single olive tree.

Photography: Sharyn Cairns

Shop G01/31–39 Norcal Rd, Nunawading VIC 3131, Australia

Via Porta, Mont Albert, Melbourne

Photography: Sean Fennessy

This all-day cafe in Melbourne evokes the cobbled streets and winding alleyways of old-world Italy. Spreading across three levels, it includes a cafe and dining room with unusual paved floors. The deli’s designer and co-owner, Studio Esteta’s Sarah Cosentino, wanted to evoke Italian tradition with the intentionally minimalist design. Walls are covered in rough plaster, contrasting the smooth veined marble of the deli’s counters, and the pale green leather of banquette seating.

Photography: Sean Fennessy

677 Whitehorse Rd, Mont Albert VIC 3127, Australia

Bentwood Cafe, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Photography: Kylie McDowell for The Spaces

Taking over a former furniture workshop, Bentwood Cafe has become a popular haunt for locals in Fitzroy and it’s easy to see why. The 190 sqm open-plan cafe was designed by Ritz & Ghougassain and retains its industrial proportions via high ceilings clad in a primed red oxide grid. Exposed concrete columns cross the space, and large windows wrap around its red-brick facade. Its neutral interior colour palette was inspired by the red brick building’s heritage, with simple timber furniture used throughout.

Photography: Kylie McDowell for The Spaces

237 Napier St, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia

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