We’re spilling the beans on the city’s newest hotspot.
With a history dating back to 1936, String Bean Alley was once where greengrocers sold their string beans. Now, the laneway is home to 26 independent traders, providing a truly unique shopping experience. Each of the traders has set up shop inside bespoke shipping containers – it’s all very Melbourne.
The revitalisation of String Bean Alley comes as part of City of Melbourne’s $250 million renewal of the Queen Vic Markets, and Lord Mayor Sally Capp is just as excited about it all as we are.
“String Bean Alley is the new place to find Melbourne’s best independent makers, creators, designers and artists,” says the Lord Mayor. “More than nine million visitors come to the Queen Vic Market each year for its traditional open-air market experience, and this magnificent new precinct will be a drawcard for new and existing customers.”
Along with some existing traders, an additional 12 have joined the team and now they’re peas in a pod, offering a variety of locally designed, sourced or produced fashion, vintage goods, jewellery, art, craft, skincare, toys, books and just about anything else you could want.
Queen Victoria Market CEO Stan Liacos said the revitalisation of String Bean Alley was crucial to encourage new visitors to the Market, while celebrating its rich history.
“The String Bean Alley precinct represents a new era for the Market,” says Mr Liacos. “This section of the Market is now acting as a small business incubator, providing a platform for specialist traders offering products and services that are locally designed, sourced or produced.”
Now to the good stuff – the shopping. Here are some highlights from the new artisans moving into the alley.
Mary Martin Books
The award-winning indie bookshop – with a history almost as old as the alley – has set up shop with a collection of books specially curated with book lovers in mind. Fresh from winning the title of Independent Book Retailer of the year, they also stock an extensive and unique range of greeting cards, children’s gifts and toys.
Melbourne Makers Pod
Three Melbourne makers have joined forces to create the Melbourne Makers Pod. Expect a rotating lineup of products such as handcrafted gold and silver jewellery, bath and body products, dream catchers and crochet critters, all locally designed and made.
Miss Brown Vintage
If you can’t get enough vintage, Miss Brown Vintage is a market leader for sustainable vintage fashion, offering a stunning collection of vintage clothing and accessories. Owner Madeleine Thomson travels the world to source unique pieces from the ‘50s to the ‘90s and also creates new pieces from authentic vintage fabrics.
Offering something new and innovative, Artist Mitchel Zeer turned his passion and studies in psychology and photography into a desire to see the human eye in a new way. Iris Photo photographs your iris; kind of like an optometrist, but not to check your eye health. Instead, they capture all the details and colours in your iris and turn it into a stunning artwork.
Chocolate heaven, here in Melbourne? Um, yes please! Melbourne Cocoa is brought to you by Jeremy and Philippa Kennedy-Wilson, second generation artisans behind Kennedy & Wilson. You can customise your own truffles, enjoy a chocolate cupping session, or simply pick up a block of their locally-made premium chocolate.
Another Man Barber Shop
For over 70 years, and across three generations, the Mariani family have been barbers in Italy. Now, Amleto Mariani is bringing the fine art of Italian-style grooming and barbering to Melbourne to give the Queen Vic Market its first barber shop. Another Man use and sell a range of locally made and certified organic grooming products for all you well-groomed fellas – including beard oil, beard balm, shaving cream, face wash, shampoo and after shave.
This is only half of the 12 amazing new traders moving into the alley. As for the other 14 original traders moving in and setting up shop there, expect to see the likes of Qn Flowers, Nautical Replicas, Made In Japan, Aminalee, Ronnie Z and the Fabulous Juice, and heaps more.
With the stores open Fridays to Sundays, and Wednesday evenings during The Night Markets, you can be one of the first people to check out String Bean Alley. It’s the new place to bean.
String Bean Alley is now open Fridays to Saturdays 8am – 3pm, Sundays 9am – 4pm, and Wednesday evenings 5pm – 10pm during The Night Market event series. More info and additional traders can be found on the Queen Victoria Market website.