Buy buy baby
Music Swop Shop
This musician’s haunt on the corners of Lygon and Elgin Streets has been accumulating vintage, collectable and rare musical treats for nigh-on 25 years, which is why so many bands pay a visit when in town. As the name suggests, it specialises in second-hand stock – and not just electric gear; you can pick up brass and woodwind instruments, not to mention mandolins, banjos, accordions and fiddles. The staff are also pretty nifty with repair jobs, so you can take along that three-stringed, busted acoustic that’s been languishing in the corner of your room for eons.
Make Designed Objects
A store dedicated to promoting the best in home gadgets and designs from Australia and abroad, this could be the perfect pit-stop for that illusive “what do I get someone who has it all?” mission. From designer salt and pepper shakers, cushions, toothbrush holders to bins, there are 4000-plus products to hand. Don’t worry – you can always search their website beforehand, by designer, brand or object.
An op shop with real op shop prices in the heart of inner city Melbourne? There are ripper good finds in here, like 80s cookbooks and mad VHS titles. You run the risk of also walking out with a baby chair, floral tablecloth and a ghastly Copper Art lamp, but if it tots up to just 20 bucks, who cares? NB: Be ready to do some hunting and gathering, as everything in here is thrown together in a mad frenzy of finds.
Here’s an upstairs/downstairs book retreat for the lover of the written word. If you really want to get away from it all, head down to the well-worn leather couch at the bottom of the stairwell with a Peter Temple novel, retracing his very footsteps in the same part of town. Scour through wall-to-wall second-hand books – with some new and some rare in the mix. Don’t forget to check out the recommended shelf (across from the counter) to find something that will tickle your literary tastebud, and don’t be scared by the mass of stock – the staff have every book accounted for and they will make it their mission to find it for you.
There’s no mistaking what you will find in this shop with a massive bling bling signage saying Booze. Booze glorious booze! What better way to end a day in Carlton than taking home a crispy Adelaide Hills Riesling home with you, or local Sweet Water Beers from Mount Beauty. Cleanskin wines direct from local wineries – Yarra Valley to Mornington to King Valley – and with Lobo Cider on hand, who can resist a cheeky swig on a hot summer’s day. There’s imported entry level wine from France and Spain with low price tags to boot. The knowledgeable staff are on hand to guide you – and even give a sip to try – a pinot gris from a sauvignon blanc. Go in for a six pack and you’ll probably end up walking out with a carton of Margaret River vino.
Every day, the Bezela team whip up take away meals for those of us craving home-cooked delicacies but are time poor. Pick up a copy of the weekly menu to make sure you’ve sampled the meatballs, chicken paprika, frittata and minestrone. You’ll find only free-range goods here – smallgoods, cheese and antipasto included –so the best way to enjoy the produce is to grab some salami, bresaola, Dorset cheddar, Tarago wild olives and vegetarian dolmathes, some fresh bread and head on down to one of the many parks surrounding Elgin Street.