Forget the constraints of contemporary responsibilities and become a free spirit for a day and night in Melbourne. With a thriving culture of bohemia, particularly in the inner north-eastern suburbs, our city provides an unconventional playground for those with a love of all things weird and whimsical. Follow the links below to see our suggestions for a recreational rendezvous into the world of boho quintessence.
The name conjurs up visions of an underground den of dark wood, dim lighting and worn red velvet, brimming with bons vivants that have neither a care in the world or a penny to their name, who play violins jauntily one moment, with unprompted melancholy the next, paint images of cryptic eroticism then disappear mysteriously into the secrets of the night.
These tempting imaginings aren't quite the way of things at this Northcote café, however. Light, bright and airy, Gypsy Hideout is far removed from the shadowy and enigmatic character its name implies, but is, nevertheless, a fantastic place to start your foray into bohemia. Go without the expectation that you'll find a gnarled fortune teller in a darkened corner (assuming you'd quite like to come across one) and you'll be right pleased with the place. Featuring a few bits and pieces of quirky knick-knackery, a menu of less-than-common delights and a following of arty wanderers, Gypsy Hideout is the ideal modern folk venue for a boho-chic brunch.
Explore the Eccentricities of Fitzroy
Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Image credit - Mat Connolley.
It may be known for its pretensions of unpretentiousness, but there's no denying that Fitzroy is the centre-point of bohemian culture in Melbourne. With its diverse heritage architecture blending incongruously into urban hippy street-life and the indie arts scene, this offbeat suburb is a hive of outré attractions. It's easy to spend a whole day in Fitzroy, and especially the main Brunswick St strip, perusing the unorthodox shops, unique galleries and vibrant street art that make it the perfect hang-out for bohemian beings.
As night descends it's time to head to Borsch Vodka & Tears, the number one spot for social bohos (and bobos – that's bourgeois bohemians for the uninitiated) in Windsor. Serving a feast of traditional Polish, Russian and Hungarian fare and more bizarre vodkas than you'll know what to do with, this lively restaurant and bar on Chapel Street will top off your day of bohemia with the flair of gypsy mystique. It can be hard to get a table here, as the place is extremely popular and has limited seating, so it's best to book before starting your devil-may-care adventure, or else take your chances in the style of a true happy wanderer – and rely on the luck of the gypsies.