Posted: February 1, 2016 in Obscurities
Tags: , ,


All of the ‘hey man, hip cat, cool, groovy funky dude’ areas in any city I’ve visited globally share common attributes; inner city precincts filled with students, professionals and those of more limited means, ‘tree-huggers’, bohemians and artists with the restaurants and shops those types attract in areas which are architecturally interesting, a blend of the old and the edgy in terms of the built environment?!

Melbourne’s CBD in totality ‘cuts the mustard’ these days, do stay in the CBD if you visit for the Australian Grand Prix.


Smith Street urban art

Outside the city grid Melbourne has two precincts which meet said criteria, there are some pretenders which have fallen from grace in my book. These include Chapel Street and Toorak Road South Yarra, Lygon Street Carlton, Fitzroy and Acland Streets St Kilda and Greville Street in Prahran. A sure sign an area is about to lose its appeal is the arrival of major retail chains  despoiling the magic of  places which are about difference, not the formulaic sameness of da big guys.

So, my (and more importantly my 3 sons who are in the right age-group to judge such things!) two hey man etc precincts in Melbourne at present are the stretch of Chapel Street, Windsor from High Street to ‘Dandy’ Road and Smith and Gertrude Streets Collingwood/Fitzroy with that intersection the epicentre.


‘Suus’ is a motor-cycle emporium which has recently moved into Collingwood adding some coolness @ 12 Smith Street. The place is a blend of retail outlet, clothes and bikes, custom shop to build and modify ‘cafe-racers’ and most recently a coffee shop. I do mean coffee, just coffee.


I’ve no vested interest in the place at all other than the hope that a venue where bike and car guys can go and talk about salient gob-shite survives and thrives.


‘Suus’ nice Ducati 750SF in the window @ present


Coffee area, workshop out ze back


‘Bell’ stockist, ‘mood and vibe’ of the place tops


It’s a long time since automotive establishments where one could gather like the Light Car Club, Lou Molina’s ‘Anchor and Hope’ or more colloquially and appropriately the ‘Anchor and Grope’ hotel and more recently Jeff Duttons house of fine cars existed.

The latter was a global pioneer of the automotive retail/food/lifestyle cocktail in his Church Street, Richmond facility. ‘Duttons’ survives in a fashion but lost its soul when Jeff exited and is now in the bowels of Richmond way outta sight.

The point is we don’t have too many nice Melbourne ‘automotive’ environments so check ‘Suus’ out when next in the area. Better still take the other half, there are loads of ‘chick boutiques’, restaurants and bars close by so one can have a win for a change; keep yourself and ‘the chief” happy.

The pick of the local pubs is ‘The Builders Arms’ in nearby Gertude Street, order the fish-pie which is sensational and will sate the appetite of even the most corpulent. The bar is a place where fossils like me feel just as comfortable as the young and the pert. The outside area is tres-pleasant with trams rumbling gently past under brakes for the off-camber approach to the challenging Smith Street apex…



‘Builders Arms Hotel’ one of Andrew McConnell’s joints so is consistent. As in good


‘Pickings’ in Gertrude Street for hipster gear should you be so inclined


Gertrude Street looking west towards the city and Brunswick Street


Gertrude Street towards Smith Street, out front of ‘Ladro’ also good Italian grub


Photos M Bisset

Tailpiece:’Suus’ showroom…


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