Once a hotbed for Greek and Italian migrants, then new arrivals from Vietnam and a number of African nations, Footscray is a melting pot of cultures and influences. These have swept across the neighbourhood in a wave of opportunity and gentrification, making Footscray an exciting suburb to visit.
Take a wander down bustling Barkly and Hopkins streets and you’ll find eye-popping pastels, American diner-inspired decor and more at Bad Love Club, a bakery with a twist. By day there’s Sensory Lab coffee, fresh bagels and hot jaffles with fun, musical names like Fleetwood Cheese n Mac and the Fab Four. By night, it transforms into a bakery-slash-bar, whipping up cocktails and serving home-style cakes, pies and donuts.
For a relaxing watering hole with a rustic vibe, head to Bar Josephine. There are 12 craft beers on tap that are consistently rotated across a variety of local and international ales, sours, stouts and lagers to keep things interesting. There’s a small list of wines and cocktails too, and a dog-friendly beer garden out the back where you can enjoy your bevy.
For the perfect blend of community and local culture, check out Footscray Community Arts Centre. It’s the central hub of creativity in Footscray, with exhibitions and performances by emerging and established artists, as well as art workshops for kids and adults. There’s also a cafe and bar on site, and you’ll have great views of the Maribyrnong River and out to Melbourne’s CBD from here. It also plays host to the annual St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, with a line-up of international and local music acts and performers.