Take a trip on the No.???86 tram to the inner-north's hub of music, shopping and food. High Street, Northcote, is an ever-changing shopping strip, where even the locals can always find something new. Among the just-opened cafes, pop-up shops and restaurants, this quirky-cool 'burb has a bunch of stalwarts that continue to deliver good vibes, unique wares and delicious eats. Here's how to spend a perfect Saturday on High Street.
9am: A takeaway coffee at Top of the Hill
- 208 High Street, Northcote
These new kids on the block have fast become the locals' favourite coffee peddler - just ask the line of people waiting at the counter for their afternoon pick-me-up. Open just over a year, the teeny cafe has a bar opposite the counter where you can pull up a Scandi-style stool, and outdoor tables if you want to take in some rays. Besides coffee, they also do some sinful pastries, killer sandwiches and a tasty array of bagels.
10am: Fun and Games at Big Dreams
- 267 High Street, Northcote
If you're a parent, an aunty, uncle or just a big kid, look no further than Big Dreams. This wonder emporium has been my go-to for gifts since the first of my seven nieces and nephews came along nine years ago. They specialise in super-cute yet funky clothing, beautiful baby blankets, and toys - so many toys. Wooden, interactive, educational and more, they're all high quality and sure to provide hours of fun.
11am: Breakfast at Poke the Bear
- 2a Mitchell Street, Northcote
This side street venue has been through a few iterations over the past few years, but this one seems to have struck a chord with local and visitors alike. Comfy furniture, a garden wall and bear puns throughout the menu (try the Grin and Bear it - chilli scrambled eggs with goats cheese) make for a fun and relaxing atmosphere.
12.30pm: Hunt for cool wares at A Quirk of Fate
- 289 High Street, Northcote
A little further north on the same side of the street, you'll find a toy shop for grown-ups. Clothes, shoes, books, jewellery, sunnies and more: this cosy shop is a trove of hip wares. Much of what owner Kylie Weir stocks is by local designers, including knitwear brand Uimi (made in Thornbury), and eye masks and wheatbags from Northcote's Wheatbags Love. ???
2pm: Take a load off at Wesley Anne
- 250 High Street, Northcote
Walk through the slightly rickety french doors into watering hole, Wesley Anne, with its towering stone walls and abundance of candles, and you're transported back in time. To the left is a band room that attracts up-and-coming and established acts. Down the back, you'll find a beer garden overhung by fig trees. Of course, there's a great range of wines and beer on hand, along with share plates or something larger for a late lunch.
4pm: Shop ethically at Green Horse
- 255 High Street, Northcote
Sustainable shoppers will never want to leave this cute little space. Every corner is stylishly filled with ethical goodies including clothing from Kowtow, body products from Hunter Lab and baby wear from Milk and Masuki. They also carry the largest range of sustainable footwear brand Veja in Melbourne.
5pm: Pick up a bottle at Wine Republic
- 226 High Street, Northcote
It would be wrong to head to High Street without bringing home some vino from Wine Republic. This is the expert sellers' second outlet, which opened in late 2015, and you can't walk in without being introduced to something new from local and international growers. My favourite right now is the Longline Bimini Twist - a beautiful ros?? perfect for the warmer evenings we've been having lately.
7.30pm: Indulge at Estelle by Scott Pickett
- 245 High Street, Northcote
Famed chef Scott Pickett's two-hatted restaurant lives up to the hype. Sleek black and charcoal surrounds, black leather chairs and a stunning light installation suspended from the ceiling add to the theatre of the open kitchen at the back of the space. Dishes on the seasonal seven course tasting menu include scallops with daikon and apple and Macedon duck with kumquat and turnip.
9pm: Have a nightcap at Joe's Shoe Store
- 233 High Street, Northcote
- 9482 7666
Pull up a stool at the bar or squeeze into a cosy booth at this little bar that was once - you guessed it - a shoe shop. Records play, bar flies chat and laugh as the staff mix up a mean martini. On a warm evening you can head out the back and make like you're in a friend's backyard under the fairy lights.