If you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new kid on the block at the Queen Victoria Market. String Bean Alley is Melbourne’s newest laneway, lined by bespoke shipping containers each housing stores. There are 26 shops along the alley, 14 old favourites and 12 stores new to the Queen Vic Market. It’s a truly Melbourne experience, and we’ve got six of the most Melbourne activities you can do there.
Buy some vintage denim
Miss Brown Vintage has some of the finest, well-kept vintage clothes – and they don’t smell like mothballs. A market leader for sustainable vintage fashion, the owner Madeleine Thomson travels the world to source unique pieces from the ‘50s to the ‘90s, as well as creating inspired pieces from authentic vintage fabrics. The majority of their vintage goods at the moment are Levi’s jeans, overalls, and denim jackets which have the original tags from San Francisco still sown on.
Grab a coffee and a trolley
What’s more Melbourne than a coffee? You’ve got a couple of options in the Alley: Market Espresso and Little League, both offering quality coffee. Market Espresso grind you up their own bean, which they sell on site, and have trolley hire available for $5, so you can shop with your hands free.
Get a fresh trim
If you’re after an authentic barber experience, Amleto Mariani’s Another Man Barber & Shop will provide you with just that. For over 70 years and three generations, the Mariani family have been barbers in Italy, and now you can get the fine art of Italian style grooming and barbering inside a shipping container – very Melbourne. They also use and sell a range of locally made, certified organic grooming products including beard oil, beard balm, shaving cream, face wash, shampoo and after shave.
Go on a blind date
While there isn’t a dating service at String Bean Alley per se, you bibliophiles out there may find love at Mary Martin Bookshop. The indie bookshop with a 75-year history has a selection of books wrapped in brown paper with a small hand-written description of each novel – a bit like a Tinder bio. Go read a few bios and pick your date for the night at $20 a pop. It’s a safer gamble than Tinder, really.
Peruse Melbourne made artisan products
Three Melbourne artisans have joined forces to create the Melbourne Makers Pod. There’s a rotating lineup of unique products like handcrafted gold and silver jewellery, bath and body products, dream catchers and crochet critters – all locally designed and made. There’s also Mr.B Handicraftsman specialising in all things handmade, with an extensive range of handbags and purses.
Indulge with a custom truffle (or two)
If you fancy a chocolate treat, Melbourne Cocoa presents a truly Melbourne chocolate experience. You can customise your own truffles, enjoy a chocolate cupping session, or simply pick up a block of their locally made premium chocolate. Yum!
Find String Bean Alley at Queen Victoria Market. For more information and opening hours, head to the Queen Victoria Market website.