Last summer, when I came home, I was thrilled and surprised to discover The Proprietor. This summer, after a year away, I am thrilled and surprised to see there is suddenly a sprouting of hipster places in Albury. The seeds have been sown for a scene, and it is a happy thought indeed that there are several places that I can go for a good coffee and some city vibes when visiting the family back here.
So here’s my quick hipster guide to Albury (and a splash of Wodonga). (Updated to reflect a few places I forgot)
Tried and tested
The Proprietor: I reviewed this place last year, and it is still great, with lovely coffee and a fab menu. My sister and I enjoyed some very yummy mushroom toasties there the other day with a visiting Canberran-Melbournian, who was also impressed.
Boom Boom: laneway cafe/bars and hipsters= like moths to the flame. Albury now has one! Boom Boom is in AMP Lane, near the newly revamped MAMA gallery and some cute boutiques, and it is very cute and pleasant inside, with lovely outdoor seating in the laneway. We had a friendly lunch there– the coffee (Proud Mary) was very good, and the lunch was nice. My potato/proscuitto salad was good but could have done with bit more dressing, but my sister’s lamb salad with spiced chickpeas was very tasty. My sister also went there for drinks in the evening and gave it a big thumbs up.
Lunch at Boom Boom. A photo posted by Ashlee Betteridge (@ashbetteridge) on
BeanStation: Wodonga usually lags Albury in all things cultural. But thanks to a Victorian government funded revamp of the town’s old railway station (now called Junction Place), it’s finally getting a small hipster precinct (apparently there will be a boutique beer cafe there as well next year–it’s early days but if they keep getting quality tenants in there this precinct could really take off… and Wodonga really needs something like it). BeanStation is one of the early tenants, and it’s a great space both indoors and out (with outdoor dining on the old railway platform). The coffee was lovely (pictured in the post header), and my breakfast (thyme roast mushrooms, homemade corn bread, gruyere and truffle marscapone) was decadent and absolutely delish! The staff were all super friendly too. Great place.
Hipster pubs: Hipsters like to drink, particularly craft beers… Albury doesn’t really have hipster pubs by any stretch of the imagination, but if you need to get your booze on, I’d suggest Bended Elbow (which has a nice rooftop courtyard and new laneway section), The Star (away from the main street, pretty old school with a good outdoor area), Sodens, or Paddy’s (which is now called Beer DeLuxe and has had a hipster-style renovation– big beer garden) and Zed Bar. Of course, if you are out late, you should hit up Sweethearts Pizza for all your late night food requirements.
Cafe Musette: a new cafe right near Albury’s beautiful historic railway station. My sister and I visited for lunch–the decor is great, nice shady and sunny outdoor seats, including a couple of outdoor lounges and a good spot for the kids. We really enjoyed our coffee, and the food was great, full of veggies. It took us a while to decide, but we shared an okonomiyaki and the roasted vegetable salad with goats cheese and pistachio. Both were great. We also got a takeaway wrap for our uncle. The place was bustling, and it’s easy to get a park nearby (depending on the bus/train arrivals/departures).
A photo posted by Ashlee Betteridge (@ashbetteridge) on
A photo posted by Ashlee Betteridge (@ashbetteridge) on
Monumental Icecreamery: locally made icecream and sorbet–I love the coconut one!
The word about town
(Places I’ve been told about but haven’t yet tried)
Broadgauge: a hatted restaurant, also in the Junction Place precinct in Wodonga. Really want to check this place out sometime, menu looks great. Unfortunately a bit broke for fine dining this holidays, so another time.
SoCal Cantina: a Mexican restaurant and bar that is increasingly popular. Menu and decor looks good and hip. Might try to try it this week (currently knocked around by a cold).
Nord: in my South Albury stomping ground, which has never had any hints of hipsterdom whatsoever, a new Scandinavian-style bakery. Unfortunately it is closed over the holidays so I haven’t been able to try, but my dad highly rates their blueberry danishes and said that they are so popular they often sell out.
Nutrition Station: some hipsters are into paleo and crossfit and want to ‘fuel their bodies’ with healthy foods and smoothies that include ingredients that look like they have come from a green waste bin. My mum likes this place in Wodonga for healthy takeaway food and healthy smoothies in various hues of kale-green.
Soho: the nightclub formerly known as Liquid (showing my age here)/ROI/Groove Saint has had a hipster revamp and is now called Soho.The sticky floors of its nightclub years have been vanquished (don’t even want to know how much industrial chemicals were involved in that feat lol)! It is now more of a restaurant/bar, with a tapas-style menu. Looks like it is well worth checking out.
Union Lane: a nice-looking new restaurant that is getting positive reviews–according to Facebook it has something called Paella Sundays, so that alone sounds worth a visit.
Geoffrey Michael Patissier: I haven’t been to this place yet, but I have certainly seen hip Albury folks instagramming their pastry and cakey delights. They look very good.
MAMA (Murray Art Museum Albury): Art is for everyone, not just hipsters. But hipsters also like art, so it’s fitting that Albury now has a wonderful renovated gallery in the heart of town. My sister Britt checked this out and said it is a great space–it’s also really brightened up the whole QEII Square precinct, connecting to the new bright area in AMP Lane/Volt Lane too (which has a few cute hipster boutiques). I want to go and check it out before the holidays are over. I’m also super proud of this one, as my dad has been a big supporter of the art gallery renovation and has his name on a brass plaque on the building ;). Guess all the flute/violin concerts, dance recitals and plays he had to sit through over the years rubbed an appreciation of the arts off on him lol. There’s also a cafe/restaurant at the back of MAMA with lovely outdoor seating and grassy space for kidlets to run around that I have heard really good things about (it is called Canvas), and a museum shop with gifty-type things.
Other hipster things
For your hipster children… for little hipsters under 5, there is a wonderful new Children’s Garden in the beautiful Albury Botanic Gardens, tried and tested by a happy mini-Canberran last week. There’s also a mini railway on the Lincoln Causeway for little hipsters–it’s a good way to introduce them to public transport, odd hats and beards. The Oddies Creek Adventure Playground is great for medium-sized-hipsterchildren and there’s also a BBQ area there for cooking your vegan/local sausages.
Hipsters always need WiFi–the Albury LibraryMuseum is a good place to hook up to do some mobile working or to hang out (hipster children are also welcome).
I got some great local produce at the pre-Christmas twilight farmers’ market at Hovell Tree Park, an offshoot of the regular Albury-Wodonga Farmers’ Market, which is well worth checking out. The pic below is a salad I made with ingredients from the market — also got some beautifully festive red and yellow tomatoes.
Salad made with amazing local teeny tiny zucchini and squash, pan fried in a Honey Rosemary vinaigrette, topped with pan fried haloumi and a splash of mint and lemon. My Xmas contribution. A photo posted by Ashlee Betteridge (@ashbetteridge) on
On the deli front, for making your own fabulous picnics to enjoy in one of the lovely outdoor spots around town, Jones the Grocer has lots of fancy treats. For local smoked goods, I also love Butt’s Smokehouse–their smoked trout and their smoked trout pate are fab. Green Zebra is the place to go for great take-home pasta, antipasto and other deli treats (also a great place to eat-in).
There’s also the classic attractions, like the Murray River and the Hume Weir. And other places to get back to nature, like Wonga Wetlands. And since hipsters tend to really like bikes, they should also check out some of the wonderful cycle trails in the local area, like the Waigirra trail.
Have I missed anything hipster in Albury/Wodonga? Let me know in the comments and add your views!