Melburnians are enamoured, besotted, and obsessed with coffee. And because cafes are the place to get that bitter-yet-sweet black nectar, we’re obsessed with those too.

Cafe culture makes a place more liveable, according to the latest Domain Liveable Melbourne study by Deloitte Access Economics and Tract Consultants. It’s one of those things that adds to the amenity, hand in hand with walkability, and helps develop the community in any given suburb.

The study measured the distance to cafes from the centre of any given suburb and number of cafe jobs available in Melbourne’s 307 suburbs as a way of seeing which had the most lively cafe scene. The tiny inner-city enclave of Cremorne, wedged between Richmond and South Yarra, took the top spot.

“For me, it’s the coolest part of Melbourne,” says Wani Sak, the owner of 1983 Espresso and Panini Bar on Cremorne Street.
She and her fiancee Melinda Aloisio opened the cafe in 2012, and then six years later took over the space two doors down for the restaurant and bar Ms Frankie.

Cremorne beat out Melbourne CBD, Southbank and South Melbourne as the prime spot for cafes, with those suburbs ranking second, third and fourth, respectively.

While the study did not measure the quality of cafes in any given suburb, one of its authors Adam Terrill from Tract Consultants says looking at the number of them gave a good understanding of where cafe culture was at its highest.

“The provision of cafes in any given suburb provides a local amenity for residents that can be enjoyed – and the quality of cafes across Melbourne is generally pretty good no matter where you go,” Mr Terrill says.

With businesses, of course come people, and with people – you guessed it – cafes. It’s a $2.2 billion industry in Victoria, and coffee alone is about 10 per cent of our discretionary spend, says University of Melbourne marketing professor Simon Bell.

“It goes to the heart of what our identity is,” Professor Bell says. “There are some aspects of our coffee culture that’s really ahead of the world – Melbourne International Coffee Expo, which attracts the world’s best in specialty coffee; the sheer number of micro roasters that we have in Melbourne, for example.”

It’s even started to influence how the rest of the world does coffee and brunch.

“Aussie cafe culture is finding a foothold in the US – the flat white, the smashed avocado – those are the sort of things that have become associated with an Australian-style cafe.”

For Ms Sak, the growth of Cremorne as a cafe hub has led to a burgeoning nightlife scene as well, with more restaurants and bars opening and thriving.

“It’s becoming more of an understood location,” she says. “It’s a little sub-city on the fringe.”

Written by:
Jemimah Clegg
As found on Domain.