Part of the ever-expanding St Jerome empire is a combined café, exhibition space and cinema. Housed in a vast former workshop on Little Lonsdale Street, it looks like the lumbering spawn of an aircraft hangar and a Fitzroy lounge room.
The café, which occupies the front half of the ground floor, boasts mismatched vintage furniture, op-shop art and a relaxed, pleasantly shambolic atmosphere. There’s a hot food menu in addition to all the usual coffees, teas and cakes you’d expect; we were excited about trying the burritos, but the chef couldn’t find the spicy beans that day. Happily, the popular saganaki burger with tomato relish and salad turns out to have been worthy of the rave reviews.
There’s a comfortable seating area for smokers in what may have been an office once, and indoor parking for your bicycle.
Beyond the café is the cavernous exhibition space, home to an ever-changing roster of shows; it hosts a broad and eclectic range of styles and mediums, from furniture design graduate shows to street art battles.
Finally, upstairs lies the screening room, furnished with an array of mismatched chairs, beanbags and that St Jerome staple, milk crates. Once a month it plays host to the Melbourne Horror Film Society; coming attractions are announced on a chalkboard in the café and through the St Jerome newsletter, Get Notorious.
It may be only moments from Elizabeth Street, but 1000 £ Bend feels far removed from the unpleasantness of rush hour in the CBD. Bring a sketchpad and linger for the afternoon.