Hoboken couldn’t be more picture-postcard Melbourne. It sits on Hosier Lane, the CBD’s most famous “open air gallery” and possibly the world’s most popular backdrop for edgy, urban wedding photos. Directly adjacent to famed contemporary art gallery Until Never, the small, hip and spanking-new café overlooks an ever-changing vista of colourful street art and wide-eyed laneway tourists. It’s the latest venture of Hugh Thorn, proprietor of the delightful Von Haus and Misty, also of Hosier Lane.
Hoboken’s style is a lesson in studied casualness. Glass jars are used as water jugs, and old tins serve as sugar bowls. The walls are plain and freshly painted, the wooden floor has been stripped to bare boards, and every element, while arranged with great care, seems to be saying “Oh, this old thing? Pshaw!” The menu is simple but very good – along with soups, salads etcetera are such classic comfort foods as toasties, omelette sandwiches and red beans and rice served pretty much any way you want ‘em. There’s also an old-fashioned cake rack loaded with pastries and dainties. The coffee by Seven Seeds is mighty fine, as it tends to be: also available are McIver’s teas and Hepburn sodas.
Hoboken is licenced, and in keeping with the rest of the menu the drink selection is small and no-nonsense. The wines are all cleanskins slapped with the Hoboken label, and aside from that there’s one cider and one beer which goes by the enticing name Hobobrew. Its minimal website hints that there may be outdoor seating in Hoboken’s future – if that happens, it’ll be the perfect vantage point to enjoy a drink and watch street art masterpieces take shape.