The 9 Best Cafes In Collingwood For A World-Class Brunch
— 21 December 2023

The 9 Best Cafes In Collingwood For A World-Class Brunch

— 21 December 2023
Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon

Collingwood is known for a few things: Doc Martens, greyhounds, and chore jacket-clad yuppies who own both of the aforementioned. As a Collingwood resident (all I’m missing is the greyhound), the suburb is also home to some of the best cafes in Melbourne, slinging world-class batch brews and the slices of avocado toast so good they keep Tim Gurner up at night.

Despite its notoriety, Collingwood isn’t all that big of a suburb (Richmond is more than three times larger), making its density of cafes all the more impressive. On top of that, there are also plenty of excellent restaurants and bars including Scott Pickett’s Smith Street Bistro and the World’s 50 Best Bar’s inclusion Above Board.

How do you judge a great cafe? I’m sure there are plenty of turtle neck enthusiasts who weigh their coffee beans at home with strong opinions, but I’m looking for a great all-rounder.

Friendly service, good food, great coffee, and a nice environment that you can settle into for a few bloody marys or long blacks — depending on what the rest of your day looks like. Pretentiousness is out, as is the kind of apathetic, exhausting service that’s all too common in Fitzroy and Collingwood.

So without further ado, let’s get into the best cafes that Collingwood has to offer.

Boss Hunting’s Favourite Cafe In Collingwood

South Of Johnson

Best Collingwood Cafes

One of the most popular breakfast/brunch spots in Collingwood, South Of Johnston is quickly becoming an institution in the inner north. Run by Stuart McKenzie (who also owns Oxford Larder around the corner), the interior of South Of Johnston is homey and bustling no matter the time of day you arrive, with a comfortable outdoor space to enjoy if the sun is shining.

On the menu, the shoestring fries and mimosas are the perfect complement to any larger plate, which include corn and zucchini fritters, chorizo eggs, smoked salmon, and more. The coffee is excellent, the service friendly and if you’re bringing a four-legged friend they’re more than welcome too.

The Best Collingwood Cafes Right Now

Proud Mary

Best Collingwood Cafes

Proud Mary is a stalwart for Melbourne coffee lovers (along with its sibling venue Aunty Peg’s), opened over a decade ago by Nolan Hirte in Collingwood, and most recently in the news for selling $200 cups of Panamanian coffee. The massive brew bar tells you all you need to know as soon as you walk into this impressive space — Proud Mary is nothing if not serious about their coffee.

Expect experienced baristas, immaculate service and a small army of grinders making the most of the cafe’s own blends and some well-sourced single origins that are roasted close by.

Not convinced? When Proud Mary opened, Hirte welded together two three-group Synesso machines to create his own custom machine, ensuring each single-origin bean doesn’t suffer from cross-contamination and is expressed perfectly to make the perfect cup.


CIBI in Collingwood is a stone-cold classic for Melbourne locals. This beloved Japanese concept store places a lot of value on house-made ingredients and the dedication makes a difference. The traditional Japanese breakfast plate is usually the way to go for first-timers, presenting some moreish grilled salmon along with a tamagoyaki egg omelette, seasonal vegetables, miso soup and the store’s own Cibi rice blend.

This store is valuable far beyond brunch, however. There’s a nursery in case you want to take home any plants, as well as shelves stacked with a curated selection of high-quality Japanese grocery ingredients.

Falco Bakery

Best Collingwood Cafes

Located in the heart of bustling Smith Street, Falco Bakery is a favourite of just about anyone who’s ever enjoyed their bread, sandwiches and pastries. Seriously, the Falco Chicken Sandwich is one of the best in Melbourne, while the Cardamom Buns, Ham and Comte Croissants, and Country Loaves are more than worth the price of entry.

In addition to the elite-level baking going on behind closed doors, Falco also sells a solid range of premixed cocktails and natural wines, as well as a curated selection of bread knives and other homewares. If you ever find yourself in Smith Street with an empty stomach, make sure you visit Falco Bakery.

Smith Street Alimentari

Best Collingwood Cafes

Alimentari was born on the ever-popular Brunswick Street, and after enjoying several years of success decided to open doors on nearby Smith Street as well. While the Brunswick Street location has a focus on Mediterranean food, the Smith Street venue has expanded its menu to include a suite of Middle Eastern dishes too, giving patrons a mouthwatering selection to pick from.

With piles of pastries and sandwiches stacked for the taking, Smith Street Alimentari is staffed by a friendly and hospitable crew that is more than happy to go the extra mile to make your visit the best it can possibly be. Another perfect spot for lunch.

Two Birds Cafe

Best Collingwood Cafes

Located just a block down the hill from the hustle and bustle of Smith Street, Two Birds Cafe is a cafe that prides itself on serving consistently excellent breakfasts and lunches. With coffee that ticks all the right boxes too, it’s a spot that isn’t overwhelming with the roar of service, has a well-constructed menu with all the classics you’d hope to see, and even enjoys a few outside tables to relax in the sun at.

While some Collingwood and Fitzroy cafe staff are apathetic to the point of comedy, the team at Two Birds Cafe are attentive to your needs, while the kitchen is efficiently run judging by the speed at which your order arrives. If you’re hunting for a well-cooked burger or a good old-fashioned Big Brekky, you’ll be plenty satisfied with Two Birds Cafe.

Everyday Coffee

Simple and unpretentious, Everyday Coffee is as easy and accessible as its breezy name. Located in Sackville Street, not far from Acoffee, this small space by some ex-Seven Seeds baristas is all about consistency and flavour.

The team even serve each cup of coffee with a glass of sparkling water so you can refresh your palate between sips, which goes to show you how serious they are about making sure you’re cup of coffee is an experience as much as it is a necessary part of your day. Without question, another of the best cafes in Collingwood.


Pristine design favouring a bright white palette makes Collingwood’s Acoffee look like somewhat of a showroom for some minimalist fashion brand. Some may find it garish, but the distinction is undeniable. And it’s functional too, with the look and feel of the Sackville Street cafe looking arrestingly simple, communicating the light and pure approach they take to coffee.

Aunty Peg’s

When Proud Mary’s Nolan Hirte decided to open sister venue Aunty Peg’s, he wanted it to be more than just an extension of the brand’s already solid reputation in the world of coffee.

The two-storey venue is a complete masterclass on how he arrives at the perfect coffee each and every time, offering something that works just as well as a coffee museum as it does one of the best coffee shops in Melbourne. In true purist style, only expect to find black coffee at Aunty Peg’s.

How Boss Hunting Chose Collingwood’s Best Cafes

Growing up in the inner north of Melbourne, Collingwood was where I spent many of my childhood years and have lived there for three of the last four years. It’s safe to say I know Smith, Johnson and Langridge Streets like the back of my hand and have visited all of the cafes on this list many, many times.

For more on how we put together lists like this please have a read of our editorial policy.

Did you find this list helpful? Check out some of our other Melbourne dining content.

Subscribe to B.H. Magazine

Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon is the Editor of Boss Hunting, joining the team after working as the Deputy Editor of luxury watch magazine Time+Tide. He has a passion for watches, with other interests across style, sports and more. Get in touch at nick (at)


Share the article