Chaps Back Baby! And it's pretty apparent judging from the cars and crowds that line the streets every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, especially after hours. A hot spot with lots to offer socialites, don't choose boring, choose Chapel!
Cafes and dining have a new look on C St (Chapel Street Precinct) with eateries now spreading out onto what was once street parking. Greville Street, beside the Town Hall, has been nipped in the waist for foot traffic only, with a portion of the street dedicated to the cafes, restaurants and retail businesses on the street. Blocked to traffic, you'll find a haven of tables and chairs constituting an open-air eating area.
This amounts to less street parking, but fear not, there's the new Cato Street Car Park which launched a year ago - down Izett Street, an offshoot from Greville Street. It's a multi-level underground car park with 500 parking spaces available 24/7 for a $1 for the first two hours of parking.
Come up from the carpark to street level and you're in Prahran Square. Call it a mini Fed Square if you like, where everyone hangs out just to chill, with a variety of activities and entertainment happening from time to time. Recently it was home to a brand new mass contemporary dance event called Multiply from Melbourne Fringe Festival, and was embraced by locals who participated - myself included.
The Square just this weekend completed housing an UooUoo, 1 of 6 spread dotted around Melbourne. We're so lucky to have got one in the City of Stonnington, considering all the other popular hot spots it could have gone to. It will stay hidden and protected in a warehouse until 20 Jan, when it has an important part to play. A fundraiser for The Royal Children's Hospital, 100 of them will be coming at us between Jan and Mar 2021, at the end of which they'll be auctioned.
The Square, as it's affectionately known, also supports youth performances and many other lifestyle and fitness activities and more. On the weekends leading up to Christmas, you'll find performances of The Nutcracker taking place from 1-3.30pm. Follow Prahran Square on Instagram to keep updated. Surrounded by a border of Prahran Central (food court), Coles, Woolworths, and more, it's but a few steps to pop in and get sustenance or snacks to keep you going for a few hours while you enjoy chilling at The Square or you could buy up an impromptu picnic's worth and sit under the striped umbrellas and seats that are normally housed at Prahran Square for the community to utilise. Toilets at The Square means it's terrifically convenient for everyone.
Awakening from lockdown and launching straight into the festive season now is the time to support local, and there's plenty to enjoy on Chapel Street alone! Did you say Brunch? There's such a huge variety dotted along Chapel Street from Windsor to South Yarra, many of which you'll find via the link given. From casual cafes to cheap eats, it's all there. You'll be spoilt for choice.
If you're shopping at Aldi off Chapel St, you can fall into Abacus Bar & Kitchen for a farm to fork mantra that sets the tone for the brunch menu. Oscar Cooper, Babble Bar & Cafe, St Edmond's - all within a stone's throw of each other are a little more central Prahran just beyond the Town Hall. Popular eateries, like Tusk, Journeyman, School of 7 Bells, Yellow Bird Cafe - you're starting to step on the toes of Windsor where a lot of the eateries lie.
Some of the brunch/cafe eateries tend to close around 4pm when a whole new lot of choices for dinner rise to the occasion. For a bar, the Wolf of Windsor serve up some great food, and the up-market ever popular Morris Jones is across the street. Wolf, Morris Jones, and Borsch Vodka and Tears are in close proximity and are great places that take you from dinner to bar, where you'll find over 100 vodkas, a wine list, fantastic cocktails and a beer garden at Morris Jones and pub fare at the Wolf.
Dare I say there's so much more on offer on C St and beyond, like Hanoi Hannah's Firebird on High Street. An entirely new concept, its menu is grill-driven and packed with flame-licked Vietnamese/South East Asian flavours.
With Christmas a breath away, bring on the joy while supporting local. Give more than just a gift because we know Christmas is all about giving, and generate support for local businesses that inject so much culture, life and spice into Chapel Street. There's no better time to flood them with support than this festive season. Take a look at the Local Gift Guide for some ideas. As the C St saying goes, as you're making your list, and checking it twice, sparing a thought for local business would be awfully nice.
Stay close to C St Online and find the best of everything - top vegan eats, top bars, best brunch, best picnic food hampers, Chapel caffeine fix, outdoor dining and beer garden summer sip hotspots, second-hand and vintage stores and more.
Spending a whole day on Chapel Street is not a hard ask with so many quirky retail stores, where you'll go from new to vintage at places like Design A Space, Shag, Chapel St Bazaar, and dare I say more. Then you can stop for brunch or a caffeine fix - afternoon tea at a cafe, then move on to dinner, and some of the top bars to take you through to the early hours of the next morning. Revolver Upstairs (was a 24 hour night club pre-COVID) has just opened its doors again and they would definitely appreciate your support before they take full flight in 2021. Colonel Tan's is their Thai fusion restaurant, where you'll find the food is great, coupled with the atmosphere at Revs!
In the lead up to Christmas, C St has been playing A New Door A Day - Chapel Street Precinct's Digital Advent Calendar. They will unveil a new and exciting business each day until Christmas. Catch up here on the last 13 days and get to know the locals waiting to give you a good time, and draw you back into this iconic precinct, like a Siren's Call.
With businesses having done it tough, you support is more important than ever. You can support them for free by sharing a post, liking a post, reposting, tagging a friend, comment a nice word, comment an emoji, post a pic, shout them out, refrain from negativity, write a 5-star review or register for their newsletter. Chapel Street Precinct has launched its most important campaign in its history as it urges Melburnians to support local in order for its 2200 business to survive the COVID-19 economic downturn. The campaign Two Words. Support Local is a barebones, no-frills push for Melburnians and Victoria to spend their money with independent local businesses.
We cannot be lax as we enjoy our newfound freedom from lockdown. You still have to take precautions by getting tested as necessary and keep a 1.5metre level of distance from your fellow street users when you leave the house. Have that mask on the ready for when you need to, as regulations dictate I think by now, we all know what to do and how to manage it. It would be a shame to go backwards when we can all work together to move forward. The campaign Shopping, Social Distancing Style came up with a few fun videos as reminders. Check them out here. Keep safe, play safe and have a Merry Christmas on C St,