Quirky And Unique Cafes

Where Are The Best Quirky And Unique Cafes In Melbourne?

It’s safe to say Melburnians are spoilt for choice when they’re hankering for a coffee. With over 2000 cafes across the city, sometimes it’s not enough to make just a ‘good’ coffee or something tasty to nibble on; they have to offer something unique.

No longer are people looking for spots just with delicious food. In this aesthetics-driven day and age, more and more people are looking for unique experiences in all aspects of their everyday lives, even for necessary activities like eating.

So if you’re after something different from your food and drinks experience, we’ve got four Melbourne cafés that offer plenty in the way of novelty.

Today, Melbourne cafes show off the city’s creative streak with stand-out snacks, distinctive drinks, and eccentric themes. So if you’re looking for the most quirky, uniquely themed, hole-in-the-wall and Instagrammable cafes in Melbourne, this list is for you!

The 11 Best Quirky And Unique Cafes In Melbourne

The Budapest Cafe

Among the newest cafes to launch in Melbourne, The Budapest Cafe feels like walking through the lobby of the Grand Budapest Hotel. Inspired by director Wes Anderson’s penchant for symmetry, clean lines, and pastel colours, every fine detail at The Budapest Cafe has a handcrafted feel that can only be described as cosy. 

A selection of Japanese staples such as soupless udon and omurice is a hearty brunch paired with top-notch coffee. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, Budapest Cafe also stocks the film’s iconic pink ‘Mendes’ boxes, filled with tasty desserts to enjoy.

498 Swanston St, Carlton, VIC 3053

Easey’s

One of the most original cafe concepts in Melbourne, Easey’s almost defies the laws of physics. On top of a multi-story complex in Collingwood sits three train cars, rusting and tatted with street art. Undeniably one of the coolest uniquely themed vintage cafes in Melbourne, here the trains hang over the city as if placed there by a feng shui King Kong. 

Inside, the carriages have been decked out to mimic a classic American deli, with booth chairs and sauce dispensers. Enjoy drop-dead delicious burgers, fries and hot dogs while gazing over Melbourne.

3/48 Easey St, Collingwood, VIC 3066

One Plus Piece Cafe

Calling all anime fans: the One Plus Piece Cafe will catch you hook, line and sinker. Step inside to find one of Melbourne’s most Instagrammable cafes brimming with merchandise and collectibles from the beloved pirate-themed anime series One Piece. 

There’s even a mural on the back wall dedicated to the show, like an anime Last Supper. Between chunky themed burgers, decadent milkshakes, and One Piece latte art, this American-Japanese fusion cafe will have your tastebuds sailing the high seas.

266 Whitehorse Rd, Balwyn VIC, 3103

Marche Board Game Cafe

Victory has never tasted so sweet at Marche Board Game Cafe. Right in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, this boutique cafe offers the chance to eat delicious Taiwanese cuisine to the clitter clatter of Monopoly pieces. Dozens of board games are on offer: everything from classics like Catan and Cards Against Humanity to any number of obscure tabletop adventures. 

For the more musical among you, Marche Board Game Cafe also doubles as a karaoke bar, letting you belt out classic tunes to your heart’s content. Now it is your turn to try this unique experience for yourself.

63 A'Beckett St, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Cat Cafe Melbourne

One of Melbourne’s many picturesque alleyways lies the perfect place to hang out with friends: Cat Cafe Melbourne. Described as Australia’s first cat cafe, this two-storey coffee shop is littered with fluffy feline friends for you to snuggle up with while sipping a warm coffee. 

As uniquely themed as it is Instagrammable, many of the cafe’s pawed residents come from rescue shelters, giving them time to recover while looking for a new home. So if you’re looking to share a bite with some of the city’s fuzzier patrons, visiting Cat Cafe Melbourne is a tale you won’t forget.

Less than a minute down from Krimper, Melbourne’s first Cat Café provides visitors with the opportunity to play, pat and relax with tons of rescued cats.

There are around 15 cats that roam the two-storey café, and their many beds and countless toys can be seen scattered across the floor. The cafe’s menu is limited, serving coffee, tea, bottled drinks and cake, but the creative concept of having adorable cats vying for your attention more than makes up for it.

However, unlike other cafes, the Cat Café has an entry fee of $12 for an hour, and pre-booking a spot is essential. This can be done either online on their website or over the phone. But whether or not you are crazy over cats, we can guarantee you won’t regret visiting the Cat Café!

 30 Guildford Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Quirky And Unique Cafes

Eggholic

Eggholic operates by a simple philosophy: do one thing and do it well. The newly launched sandwich eatery offers customers mouth-watering Korean-style egg sandwiches. For those unfamiliar, imagine two thick slices of brioche bread, toasted, crammed with an egg and a variety of fillings. 

One of the best cafes in Melbourne, this street food staple pairs egg-silently with their Korean lattes or even a bubble tea from one of Melbourne’s best boba shops. But you better crack on since the sandwich shop closes at 3 pm or until sold out!

G06/545 Station St, Box Hill, VIC 3128

Bakemono Bakers

A converted city garage, Bakemono Bakers, looks like a private parking spot when the roller doors are down. But when opened, the space transforms into a Japanese hole-in-the-wall cafe and bakery – complete with a wooden façade and rich doughy aroma – reminiscent of those found in Kyoto or Osaka. That inspiration carries onto the menu: 

Popular items like their Korean-style garlic bread or Shokupan (milk bread loaf) are hard to come by in Melbourne. Time is of the essence at Bakemono Bakers: their pastries often sell out by midday – so plan to get there early if you’re keen to try one of the most uniquely themed cafe experiences in Melbourne.

273 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Cafe Colores

Cafe colours may bring a little colour into your life. This new, Melbourne-based Instagrammable cafe has made a name for itself with a bright idea: the whole space is lined with LED panels that change colour every month. While every new combination changes the mood and feel of the cafe, their South American styled snacks and coffee are consistently excellent. Of note are the pasteles, square-shaped pies popular in Colombia, filled with either chicken, beef, or eggplant.

783 High St, Reservoir, VIC 3073

Krimper

Tasked with taking over a former sawmill and cabinet factory, the team at Krimper wanted to preserve as much of the original charm and interior as possible. The result is a rustic, vintage cafe in the heart of Melbourne that captures the feeling of an industrial warehouse with bare brick walls, lofty ceilings and wooden tables. Just as quirky as it is beautiful, take a snap of that history in between steaming coffees and a standout brunch menu.

Born from the remnants of an old warehouse, Krimper holds its industrial past close to its heart. The tables and chairs are made of old timber obtained from the original warehouse, and the centrepiece of Krimper, the single dining booth, was created using a 100-year-old car lift also found on site. The warm-lit setting and the exposed brick walls further ensure that visitors feel nice and cosy as soon as they step through those big wooden doors.

The café itself is huge, with plenty of room for you and your friends, and the hospitality and service here is exceptional. Krimper serves very high-quality coffee, along with a delicious fusion of French and Japanese food. Beautifully presented, the dishes are worth taking a few snapshots of before you dig in.

 20 Guildford Ln, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Hopetoun Tea Rooms

While most cafes come and go, some have stood the test of time. Hopetoun Tea Rooms – with decadent cake displays and period-specific décor – feels frozen in time from when it first opened its doors back in 1892. 

The vintage charm carries over to their sophisticated selection of teas, scones and cakes that will have you raising your pinky in glee. One of the most audacious high tea experiences Melbourne has to offer. This Instagrammable cafe will ensure that you spoil yourself silly with this ageless institution.

421 Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Ponyfish Island

Ponyfish Island is a modern floating cafe, bar and restaurant; a paragon of Melbourne’s quirky café scene.

Located right under the Southbank Pedestrian Bridge, it is surrounded by water and can only be accessed through stairs descending from above. The décor of recycled timber and wooden boxes filled with assorted exotic flora perfectly aligns with their theme. 

Ponyfish Island’s menu changes seasonally, but they have crowd favourites like nachos and sharing platters all year round.

So please drop by for a drink or a spot of dinner at sunset, perhaps, where you can rest your gaze on the gorgeous Melbourne city skyline, with the great Yarra River running resolutely alongside it.

Southbank Pedestrian Bridge, Southgate

Melbourne’s Themed Cafes 

It’s no secret that Melbourne is renowned for its cafe scene. With an endless supply of cafes that produce good food and coffee, it can be difficult to decide which new brunch spot to hit up, especially when most places have the same carbon-copy ambience. 

Melbourne’s inclusive cafe scene ensures everyone gets a slice of its cake – including those who desire something a little more novel and quirky! From whimsical wonderland to retro chic, these are some of the uniquely themed cafes in Melbourne

Alice Nivens

Take a little trip down the rabbit hole and find yourself in Alice Niven. This Wonderland-themed cafe has a whimsical character, with its black and white tiled floors, garden chairs, and an impressive mural interpretation of Alice in Wonderland. 

Various knick-knacks scattered around, such as inverted teacup pendant lights, rosebuds in glass bottles, and various rabbit figurines, make this place an Instagrammer's paradise. However, what charms everyone into grinning like the Chesire Cat is the glass cabinet holding an array of freshly baked goods like cake slices, muffins, brownies and more. 

  • Address: Shop 13, Port Phillip Arcade, 228-236 Flinders Street. Melbourne 3000, VIC
  • Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 730 pm – 4 pm

Flipboard Cafe

Located at the end of La Trobe Street is a cafe that makes creative and efficient use of its space with its wooden decor. Resembling a Tetris game, the cafe is split into two levels, with surprises hiding around each corner. As per its namesake, the interior relies on hinges – its seats and tables are good examples of this.

One highlight that’s sure to catch your eye is the wooden row of boxes on the exterior that reveals a cosy seating area for two and has a table made out of recycled papers. It’s the perfect urban hangout to sit back and enjoy good coffee while chatting with your mate.

  • Address: 141 La Trobe Street, CBD, Melbourne
  • Opening hours: Mon – Thurs, 7 am – 430 pm | Fri, 7 am – 10 pm

Little Mule Cafe 

The Little Mule is every bike enthusiast’s haunt for quality coffee. Tucked away in an alley, this hidden gem is modern and chic, with white brick walls, cables hanging from lighting fixtures and various bike parts adorning the roof. 

The bicycles are not merely for decor – the staff can build and fix your gear bikes too, or you can buy a custom bike off the shelf. The cafe offers an extensive breakfast menu (all-day breakfast on Saturdays!) and delicious poached eggs. It’s two-in-one – get your bike fixed and grab some grub while you’re at it.

  • Address: 19 Somerset Place, Melbourne, Australia
  • Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 730 am – 330 pm | Sun, 930 am -330 pm

Larry David’s Cafe 

Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm (which has started filming its ninth season!) fans may rejoice at these New York-inspired bagels. The shop itself is kept simple and clean with white tiles, wooden chairs and potted plants. The real showstopper is the large mural of the famous comedian’s ‘meh’ expression painted across the wall. 

Grab their “some vanilla bullsh*t, latte cuppa thing” tee and try their innovative bagel flavours perfect for a grab-and-go. While this cafe is relatively new, we are sure it is “pretty, pretty good” – as said by the man himself. 

  • Address: 461 St George’s Rd. Melbourne, Australia
  • Opening hours: 8 am – 3 pm, daily 

Quirky And Unique Cafes

Brother Baba Budan

The strong smell of freshly ground coffee wafting will lead you to join the suit-clad line of people extending to the streets for the morning cuppa. Named after the world’s first coffee smuggler, this pint-sized gem of a cafe has a growing reputation inverse to its size. 

This place could almost be described as having a vintage traders shop feel with the dark wood, warm accents and shelves of coffee beans. What stands out is the canopy of wooden chairs that cover the ceiling. 

Despite the abundance of seats, the tiny bar only holds a capacity of about 15, with a single communal table. Their focus is on producing good quality coffee; hence there is not much food beyond bite-sized cakes and pastries.

  • Address: 359 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
  • Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 7 am – 5 pm | Sun, 9 am – 5 pm

Operator 25

Preserving the original concept of the heritage-listed building (built in the early 1900s), Operator 25 transports you back to a 20th-century telephone exchange room. With the brick walls, catchy slogans, hanging cord wires, copper-coloured light shades and timber tables, the cafe’s interior design plays into the era of operators that sit at switchboards and connect phone calls.

The only difference is the comfort and the delectable array of brunch items from the seasonally changing menu – no wonder people are willing to “stay on the line” despite the long queue. 

  • Address: 25 Wills Street Melbourne 
  • Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 7 am – 4 pm | Sat-Sun, 9 am – 4 pm

Marche Board Game Cafe 

With over 100 board games ranging from classics like Cluedo and Monopoly to newer ones like Cards Against Humanity, it doesn’t matter how many people are at your party. There’s something your group can enjoy. A 3-hour session costs $8, and you’ll be required to buy drinks on top of that.

Apart from board games, there is even a private karaoke room with the latest English, Chinese, Korean and even that. Marche Board Game Cafe isn’t just a restaurant. It’s an entertainment centre – the perfect place for a fun date activity, or even as an outing with friends or family. 

  • Address: 63A Abeckett St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
  • Opening hours: Sun – Thurs, 11 am – 11 pm | Fri & Sat, 11 am – 12 am

Biggie Smalls 

Named after the late Notorious B.I.G, Shane Delia adds a new twist to the classic kebabs with a special homage to rap’s golden age. It’s designed like a New York-style diner – the joint is decked out with counter stools, coloured tiled walls, vinyl, veneered panelling and polished alloy. 

While the setup is old school and Americanised, the menu is anything. Shane’s Middle Eastern roots are fused with American flavours, creating a menu for adventurous taste buds. The recipes are eclectic – fried chicken with pumpkin pie hummus, chips coated in butter, preserved lemon and thyme, and even Turkish ice cream sandwiches.

  • Address: 86 Smith Street Collingwood
  • Opening hours: Sun-Wed, 12 pm – 10 pm | Thurs – Sat, 12 pm – 11 pm

The Austen Tea Room 

Sense & Sensibility, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice – three of Jane Austen’s novels that inspired The Austen Tea Room’s inception. Decorated with prints from the 1996 BBC Pride and Prejudice, this space respects Jane Austen and allows you to retreat from reality. Delicate china and gorgeous floral embroideries furnish the cafe like a true English cottage decor.

Try their $45 high tea set, which consists of an array of fresh ribbon sandwiches, warm scones with lashings of jam and cream, petite cupcakes and more for a truly posh afternoon meal. It’s an 18th century England hangout! 

  • Address: 40 Nicholson St Essendon, VIC 3040 
  • Opening hours: 8 am – 4 pm, daily  
  • High tea: weekdays, 12 pm – 2 pm | Weekends, 2 pm – 4 pm 

Matcha Mylkbar 

This plant-based eatery feels like a modern-day Zen garden that oozes tranquillity. With a minimalistic industrial chic theme (much hipster), Matcha Mylkbar offers something different to locals needing a new Instagramable spot. 

The cafe’s concept makes vegan food appealing to non-vegans – think bacon made from dehydrated mushrooms and poached eggs made from sweet potato, turmeric and coconut milk. Your weekly healthy meal craving can be satiated with Match Mylkbar’s pretty dishes, a wide range of lattes options like mushroom and beetroot, and matcha!

  • Address: 72A Acland St, St Kilda VIC 3182
  • Opening hours: 7.30 am – 4 pm, daily 

FAQs About Melbourne Cafes

MELBOURNE has been voted the city with the world's best coffee by travel website booking.com, beating Rome, Vienna and Sydney to top place. MELBOURNE has beaten Rome, Vienna and Sydney in being judged to have the best coffee in the world.

Australia's true coffee capital revealed

Are you expecting Melbourne to come out on top? Not so. Hobart took out the number one spot, with an average rating of 4.29 / 5. More than half of reviewers rated their cafe five stars! It also sported the most coffee shops per capita, which is good news for anyone with a particularly urgent need for a caffeine fix.

Melbourne's coffee culture is all about paying homage to the classic bean while innovating new coffee styles from pour-over and siphon to cold-drip coffee. From veteran roasters to pioneering upstarts, Melbourne's iconic coffee culture is paving the way for the rest of the world.

"Generally, the roasts used by Australian venues are much smoother, lighter and more caramel than a lot of US coffee which is a much darker roast and more bitter. "There has been, especially in the past five years, a much greater appreciation for quality espresso coffee.

Australian coffee is espresso-style, in contrast with the drip-style filter coffee typically consumed in the US. While Americans love the sugary extravagant coffee beverages such as Frappés or Macchiatos, Aussies keep it simple and prefer coffees such as long black or flat white.

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