As the march of development continues in Melbourne’s inner north, Thornbury is becoming a suburb with plenty to offer.
It’s only 7km north of Melbourne’s CBD, so it should come as no surprise that Thornbury is rapidly changing. Most of what it has to offer can be explored by catching the number 86 tram up High Street.
If dining is on the agenda, there’s plenty to please. Moor’s Head bills itself as offering ‘inauthentic pizza’. The chefs take the flavours of the Middle East to make Lebanese round pizza, also called manoushe. The thin bases are topped with haloumi, bastourma (cured and air-dried beef), za’atar, tomatoes and other fresh ingredients. Team it with fresh mint tea, a local beer or one of the signature cocktails. If you prefer your pie more traditional, head to Pizza Farro. In the warm, rustic interior you can feast on any number of traditional Italian numbers. The good news is that bases can be ordered gluten-free, and there’s also a vegan menu.
Steak lovers should book a table at Northern Git, where grass-fed beef, aged for 40 days, is the specialty of the house. Start with some of the house-made smallgoods then go all in with a perfectly cooked ribeye or porterhouse.
The City of Darebin is well known as Melbourne’s music hub — this is where songwriters live and perform. The Croxton Hotel reopened its band room in 2015 and has played host to some favourite local and international acts, including You Am I, Radio Birdman and Eagles of Death Metal, since then. Another venue for live music is The Thornbury Theatre. It also hosts the very popular Women of Letters events. Held once a month, they feature a number of local celebrities —often musicians, writers and comedians — who read out a letter on a predetermined topic.
For low-key fun, try The Thornbury Local. Here, you watch singer-songwriters do their thing, spin your favourite tunes at the open decks on Sunday, take part in Tuesday trivia nights, order a pizza or chill out with a cold beer in the courtyard.
In a low-lit warehouse space, explore the concise beer and whisky lists at Trumpy. It’s got a cosy vibe and has great small plates if you start to feel peckish. It’s licensed until 3am, too, so there’s no rush to head home.
Head off High Street to Anderson Road for the Islamic Museum of Australia. The architecture of the building is stunning, and the exhibits within aim to foster a culture of awareness and understanding. There are a number of permanent exhibitions focusing on Islamic art, the history of Islam in Australia and explanations of the faith.
It might not be close to the action, but that shouldn’t stop surfers from heading to Zak Surfboards. As well as locally made new boards, you can check out the second-hand offerings, wetsuits and accessories.
If you’re more of an indoor type, Perimeter Books is a specialist store that stocks tomes from small presses, as well as rare books on art and photography.
When it comes time to stock the home bar, head to Carwyn Cellars. This family-owned store features small-batch beers, wines and spirits. Can’t work out what you want? Head to the back bar where the 20 taps have a changing roster of craft beers, a cider and the house-mixed negroni.