Like Fitzroy, Richmond has a proud working-class history. This background is still evident in the narrow, one-way streets, even if most of the small worker’s cottages have now been renovated and occupied by young professionals or wealthy downsizers.
The north end, along busy Victoria Street, is the last real holdout against gentrification. Known as Little Saigon, it’s been a destination for authentic, affordable Vietnamese cuisine for decades. For many residents, easy access to steaming bowls of pho and crispy banh xeo pancakes is one of the suburb’s biggest draws.
Another is proximity to the ‘G and other stadiums. Richmond is the place to be if you’re a footy or cricket fanatic. On game days, the area’s many pubs – another vestige of its working class history – are reliably filled with fans grabbing a few pints before the first bounce. One pub, the Corner Hotel, has been a live music venue since the 1940s and hosted names such as Mick Jagger, David Gilmour, the White Stripes, Ben Harper, Crowded House and Queens of the Stone Age.
Bridge Road was once a major retail destination, particularly for clothing. It bottomed out in August 2014 and has been slowly transforming into a dining destination since. Anchovy and Minamishima, two of the city’s best restaurants, call the strip home. There’s also plenty of action on Swan Street in the form of fast-casual chains such as Belles Hot Chicken and Benny Burger.
The south end of Church Street, close to the Yarra, is one of the better places in Melbourne to shop for furniture and homewares.