If you travel to the eastern parts of Melbourne looking for an active nightlife and places to party, you’ll be disappointed as these are family suburbs, known as the “dry zones”.  What you will find are a number of excellent cafes that churn out great coffee, with great menu items to choose from.  After a long day of shopping and conducting your affairs in the central business district, a trip out to Eastern Melbourne would be just the thing to help you unwind with friends and family. You can easily add one or more of these cafes to your lists for future travels.


PROJECT ESPRESSO, located off of Burke Road in Camberwell offers a range of ethically sourced coffees that go from Vietnamese iced to cold drip.  They’re open Monday through Friday 7AM – 4PM, and weekends from 8AM – 4:30PM.  This is an intimate venue with only thirty seats, but its well worth the wait to get in.  From the outside, the appearance is unassuming but that adds to its cozy atmosphere. The menu includes banana bread with walnuts and expresso butter, goat’s cheese, and panko crumbed eggs with spiced beans.  This is a great place to come for brunch and a leisurely coffee.


The SQUARE AND COMPASS has done a lot to put the eastern dead zone of Melbourne back on the map.  Patrons can dine in the spacious courtyard on fare that is both hearty and healthy.  Due to its proximity to local hospitals, area doctors and surgeons have made this their favorite gathering place. The varied menu includes omelettes, lobster, and you’ll want to sample the California super food salad. Desserts include cacao hotcakes with whipped cream, strawberries and sour cherries.  The café’s décor is uncluttered, enclosed in a Victorian style red brick terrace house. They’re open Monday through Friday 7AM – 4PM, and weekends from 8AM – 4PM.


COLLECTIVE ESPRESSO attracts students, locals, and commuters, who come by in the early hours of the day for some of the best coffee in the city and menu items that include bircher muesli, and beignets with caramel ice cream.  A favorite on the menu is the Emu burger, so if it pops up on the specials board, get your order in quick. They’re open Monday through Friday 7AM-4PM and weekends 8AM-4PM.  They tend to have a rush of business up till about mid-morning, after that there’s a laid back vibe that customers can enjoy for the rest of the day.


Don’t be fooled by their name. VICTORIA’S SECRET BAR & GRILL won’t have famous models walking around.  What they do have is great coffee and food, and in the evenings they have a great reputation for the bar scene.  They’re only minutes away from the Central Business District and the Brunswick Street area. They open Monday through Friday at 7AM, Saturday at 8AM, and Sunday at 6PM.  There’s a cozy, relaxed atmosphere here, perfect for hanging out and forgetting the troubles and cares of the outside world. The menu, in addition to great coffees includes sandwiches, soups, and salads.  If you want to book them for a special event, call ahead or email, and they’ll make sure you get the best accommodations in the house.