Nick Tranter originally moved to Melbourne back in 2011 to start his postgraduate studies. Now, he’s a teacher at a local High School. During his student years he worked with various arts organisations in Melbourne and enjoyed exploring it from his bicycle. Having grown up in Canberra, he’s enjoying the proximity to the beach, and the sheer amount of arts events going on in the city.
What do you love about this city?
The food – it’s a wonderful conundrum deciding whether to eat at the amazing place you went to last week or the amazing new place you’ve been told to try. The people – this city is full of creative kids doing exciting things. The flatness – Melbourne is a great city to cycle around.
How come you like Brunswick so much?
Brunswick has a great local neighbourhood feel to it. I see familiar faces at Barkly Square, on the tram, at Brunswick Baths and at the parks all the time. It’s a culturally diverse neighbourhood, reflected in the amazing array of choices for dining out. Beyoncé ventured up here to shoot a video, so she thinks its cool too – just sayin’.
The bike of one half of Klaus and Fritz is from Samson Cycles on Barkly St
If you have friends visiting, what places would you bring them to?
Get on a bike! If you don’t have a spare for your mate, Samson Cycles on Barkly St hire spiffy bikes out at reasonable rates. If you need to escape a heatwave in the summer, then Brunswick Baths is the place to be. The northern end of Lygon St has lots of great stores to pick up a special gift for a friend (or yourself) and Five Boroughs is well worth a visit. The store is full of beautiful knick-knacks by local designers as well as some excellent international imports. For dinner, Kumo Izakaya on Lygon St will impress with its stunning interior and exquisite food – don’t leave without trying the scallops. Once you’ve had your fill of Japanese, head down the street and join the queue at Gelobar for dessert.
Where would you take them when they get hungry?
The Union, named for the street you’ll find it on, is the quintessential local pub. Trivia night goes off, and the locals flock for intimate gigs and generous meals. The fries are the perfect crispy accompaniment to that afternoon bevvie. Los Hermanos on Victoria St is a cosy place for authentic Mexican, and Tandoori Nights on Sydney Rd is my pick for great value Indian.
And when you want to get a bit tipsy, or even full on drunk?
Howler is a recent addition to the neighbourhood and it’s an impressive place. My housemate describes it as “hanging gardens meets futuristic architects’ beer garden drinking hub” and she insists you try the bao. The Alderman on Lygon St is a great bar to catch up with friends or play scrabble by an open fire. It’s like the cosy living room of a friend that mixes a good drink and has a sweet stash of wine. Atticus Finch is just across the road – they often have good DJ’s and always have good snacks.
Wide Open Road on Barkly St
And most importantly – where would you drag them for that hangover breakfast (in your suburb)?
Wide Open Road on Barkly St offers a bacon sandwich that makes hangovers vanish, and the space is beautifully designed. Their coffee never disappoints and the extensive menu has so much variety. East Elevation on Lygon St do a mean full veggie breakfast, and the fact that the Monsieur Truffe chocolate factory is under the same roof means your sweet tooth can be indulged.
Brunch at Tom Phat
Mention some of your favourite, don’t-miss places in your neighbourhood.
My favourite place to eat is Tom Phat on Sydney Rd. I always have the roti with peanut satay, and Monday is happy hour all night! Miss Marmalade on Union St is great for a big breakfast, and Sugardough on Lygon St has the most delicious apple and raspberry cake that you won’t believe is vegan. Tiba’s on Sydney Rd is known as the place to go for great value Middle Eastern food. Get the vegetarian platter or the mixed meat grill and bring a friend to help you get through it all.
What’s your absolute favourite place in Melbourne in general?
The foyer of Malthouse Theatre is the best place to have a drink and talk about everything and anything. The productions divide people and spark the most fascinating conversations. It’s a hothouse of the best kind of arguments.
Do you think we have we missed something?
The best haircut in Melbourne is the guerilla hairdresser at the Rose Street Artists Market in Fitzroy. According to the proprietor, the haircut is free, but you pay for the conversation. I always buy books for family at Christmas from Metropolis in Curtin House (ask the staff for recommendations), and Vincent 2 on Little Bourke has beautiful things to treat yo self. Karaoke is an underappreciated art form, and I think you’ll find that KBox on La Trobe St is a great place to unleash your hidden talents. Don’t think you can sing? Just add umeshu.