Located five kilometres south-west of Melbourne’s CBD, Port Melbourne is a stunning bayside suburb that has something for everyone, whether it’s a walk along the beautiful waterfront overlooking Port Phillip Bay, a drink and a bite to eat at a historic pub or, if you’re in the mood for a spot of shopping, a stroll down Bay Street with its gorgeous homewares havens.
Here are our must-visit hot spots:
1. Mister White
Thirty years ago, Melissa Wills was running a very different business on the site that is now homewares and gift store Mister White. “It was originally a hotel I ran with my husband,” says Melissa. Six years ago, after spending some time in Bangalow, NSW, Melissa and her daughter Charmion decided to reinvent the space her husband still owns. And so, Mister White was born. When choosing items for the store, the duo focuses on looks as well as quality. “Finding products that last is a huge factor,” says Melissa.
MUST-HAVE: The Dharma Door laundry basket, $149
OPEN: Tues-Fri, 10am-6pm; Sat, 10am-5pm; Sun 11am-5pm; Mon, closed
VISIT: 2/190 Bay Street, (03) 9681 9109
BOOKMARK: Mister White
2. Junior Republic
When Soonee Armsby went shopping with her two young daughters, who are now tweens, she always found it hard to browse with them tagging along. This gave her an idea; to create a store where children were always welcome, which is how Junior Republic was thought up. “I wanted to create a space where little ones could play so you could shop in peace,” says Soonee, who has owned Junior Republic for almost 10 years.
Originally stocking only childrenswear and a select range of toys, the store has expanded into gifts and beautiful homewares over the years.
MUST-HAVE: Leaf & Bear kokedama plant, from $24.95
OPEN: Mon-Sat, 9.30am- 5pm; Sun, 10am-4pm
VISIT: 51 Bay Street, (03) 9646 1135
After years of helping small business owners grow their businesses and achieve their goals, Sue Asciak had a dream of her own; to one day own a homewares and lifestyle store. In November 2011 she made her dream come true and opened the doors to Co.Co, a place with beautifully curated pieces, set up in different spaces throughout the store to provide inspiration for her customers. “At Co.Co we truly aspire to be your lifestyle confetti,” she says. Whether you are looking for a special gift, a divine cushion or a fun piece to finish a room, Co.Co is the perfect destination.
MUST-HAVE: Brent Rosenberg artwork from $750/unframed
OPEN: Mon-Wed, 10am-5pm; Thurs-Fri, 10am-6pm; Sat-Sun, 10am-5pm
VISIT: 58/59 Bay Street, (03) 9681 7878
4. Thyme for living
Judy Stevenson managed multiple stores over the years, so when it came to choosing a name for her own store in 2015, she had one objective – for it to reflect a relaxed, calm and inspiring shopping experience where the customer’s time is valued. She thoughtfully chose Thyme For Living. It’s with this same thoughtfulness that Judy has created a fun boutique where people can just come in as they pass by and find ever-changing homewares, gifts and fashion. “Atmosphere is everything in our shop and by creating a positive, relaxed, warm and inviting store, customers really enjoy the experience,” says Judy, proudly.
MUST-HAVES: Heirloom exotic faux fur throw, $450; Apsley & Company ‘Glorious’ candle, from $175
OPEN: Mon-Sat, 10am-5.30pm; Sun, 10am-4pm
VISIT: 74 Bay Street, (03) 9646 1067
5. Harry & Frankie
When wine enthusiast John Tennent opened Harry & Frankie five years ago, he wanted to create an unpretentious place to not only celebrate food, but also to highlight delicious local and international wines. Take a seat at the bar and marvel at the shelves full of wine. Whether you want to purchase a bottle directly from the shelf or enjoy some vino by the glass, you’ll be spoilt for choice. And the extensive beer and spirits list is equally as impressive. As for food, Harry & Frankie offers a menu that changes weekly (depending on what is in season); expect homemade gnocchi, croquettes, and sliced-to-order salumi and cheeses.
MUST-HAVES: Any wine; cheese, from $14/40g
VISIT: 317 Bay Street, (03) 9645 4414
OPEN: Mon, 4-11pm; Tues, closed; Wed-Thurs, 4-11pm; Fri, 4pmmidnight; Sat-Sun, 2pm-midnight
WHILE YOU’RE THERE
Looking to find the best places for food and coffee in Port Melbourne? Head to Grey & Bliss for delicious brekkie and lunch served seven days a week, with dinner available Thursday to Saturday and, of course, amazing.
The Cricketers Arms is a hidden treasure, a cute-as-a-button hotel offering modern dishes as well as pub classics. Feeling like you need to walk off that delicious fare? Why not do the 11km Foreshore Trail from Port Melbourne’s Sandridge Beach to Elwood’s Head Street. Follow the trail along the coast and take in the sights. Visit stkildamelbourne.com.au.
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