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Beat Eats: when books and coffee come together

‘How do you spend time in the cold?’ is a question I’d say is pretty on-topic at the moment. Most would respond with watching films, attending art galleries and planning summer escapes. However, it’s those small, intimate moments that I’m really interested in.

Almost always, I start by wrapping my hands around a hot coffee, in a big coat, before heading to a library in the CBD – it’s a truly wonderful place to watch the day pass by. So, here are my top picks for quality coffee near great Melbourne libraries, assuring the cosiest days this chilly season.
 
State Library Victoria is a classic choice, with its heritage beauty inspiring awe in everyone passing by. The building is in fact made up of 23 individual buildings, that have changed dramatically over the years (fun fact). Personally, I enjoy walking up to the second level, and then up again, above the main foyer. Here you’ll find sweet, singular tables – the perfect spot to get lost in books for hours. But before you do, enjoy a coffee at Mr. Tulk near the entrance of the building. Their coffees are the most celebrated nearby, with food offerings just as impressive. Try their chicken and silverbeet pie with red wine sauce, or their pork and veal meatballs served with Turkish bread fingers. Once you’re caffeinated and well-fed, you’ll have all the energy in the world to nerd up next door.  
 
City Library down the sweetest lane in the CBD – Flinders Lane that is – is my next most cherished library to enjoy a lazy day in. The library has plenty going on and you can find exhibitions, concerts, storytelling and workshops daily just waiting to be explored. The building itself offers a gorgeous view across Flinders Lane, and I find it’s perfect when seeking a more intimate library-vibe. Plus, just like State Library Victoria, they host a great coffee shop on ground level – Journal Cafe. Far from a secret hidden away gem, as the cafe constantly flows with regulars all day long, I always find myself coming back to their house-made baked beans. Their tomato, bocconcini and olive oil bruschetta is also delicious.