by James Ridenour
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Localing Night Life Tour of Fitzroy

The hottest new private tour company in Melbourne ‘Localing’ invited me out on night life a tour of Fitzroy and Collingwood.  The charming and in the know duo Daniel and Dean have created this genius venture.   The idea is for Daniel and Dean to help travellers experience Melbourne as they would if they were visiting family and friends.  The concept of your own network of friends ready and waiting for you is just what is needed for today’s savvy traveller.

Daniel and Dean can organise a mobile phone, sort your accommodation, plan you itinerary, show you around by foot, tram, car or SUV.   They can even take you camping or even glamping (camping but with a few more mod con’s)!  What makes a Localing experience so inviting is the insider knowledge they bring to not only Melbourne but to the entire state of Victoria.  They both grew up in Melbourne and have travelled extensively around the world.  Both have been working for years as tour guides here in Melbourne and abroad.  They can show you the best place to see a koala in the wild, the best beaches and waterfalls, the best hiking trails, the best view of the Apostles.  The also know where to find Melbourne’s best coffee, cocktail, beer or even the hottest new cafe or restaurant or night club.   On top of this they are truly connected knowing all the current trends and the who’s who of Melbourne’s businesses, writers, musicians and even a few concierges!

So what of the tour?  Our evening started at one of Melbourne’s best cocktail bars The Everleigh.  The bar’s inspiration was the famous Milk and Honey in New York City, famed for revolutionising the cocktail.  The Everleigh takes it’s cocktails seriously and you will find Melbourne’s best cocktail library including a copy Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide which was the very first cocktail book published in 1862.   The Everleigh puts so much care and attention to detail into every cocktail that they even produce their own ice which is specifically engineered to melt to time allowing you to get the most enjoyment out of your cocktail.  We also happened to be at the Everleigh for their Murder Mystery night which is held in the function room.  It’s the perfect way to to catch Professor Plummer and Miss Scarlet in the Library with a martini!

Our next stop was The Rickshaw a new Asian hawker eatery also on Gertrude Street.  We sampled some of the wonderful cuisine here and had a chance to chat with the owner Satish about his restaurant and the Melbourne food scene.

From The Rickshaw we ventured down to Smith Street.  On the way we learned more of the history of the Fitzroy and Collingwood suburbs which were working class neighbourhoods in the early Melbourne gold rush days of the 1850’s.   We chatted about the lifestyle of the early residents, the businesses and architecture of the period.  We even chatted about the social structure of the suburb today from its underbelly to it’s graffiti loving hipsters and affluent fashionistas.  Smith Street is now Melbourne’s hottest culinary avenue with more of the best bars and eateries than anywhere else in the city.  For travelling foodies Smith Street is a must.

Our next two stops were the bar duo Los Barbudos and Mr Wow’s Emporium, complete with food truck out the back.  For the best rum concoctions in town Los Barbudos is a Cuban imperative.  Upstairs Mr Wow’s emporium offers a bit of kitsch fun with bacci pitch and free popcorn to enjoy.  These two bars along with the food truck make for a fun night out with the locals.  No doubt you will enjoy the energetic bar staff, great drinks and food.

Then to one of the highlights of the tour Gelato Messina where we were whisked past the massive line up which stretched down the block.  We were invited into the kitchen where the charming manager Simone Panetta explained why Gelato Messina is so popular.  The freshest quality all natural ingredients and a traditional process combine to make the best gelato in town.  Its what keeps the line ups running down the block.  I also think it tasted better just because we skipped the line!  Who doesn’t like a VIP entrance now and again?

Our last stop for the night was the charming eatery Hell of the North housed in one of Fitzroy’s oldest homes.  The restaurant is named after a cycling road race which runs from Paris to Roubaix in France.   One section of the race is over a bluestone cobbled road which is very treacherous and has become known as the Hell of the North.  The bluestone cottage in Melbourne’s hottest northern suburb took its name from this race.   We were greeted by the charming and affable manager Mark (Daniel and Dean have nicknamed him Mark of the North).  Mark sat down with us and enjoyed a few late evening dishes and a drink.  He explained that the concept of the restaurant is all about food and hospitality.  Quality products, expertly prepared, well priced and in an incredible location is the mantra of this gem.  Hell of the North is not trying to be the next flash in the pan, they are here for the long run and have already built up a steady regular clientele.  This is one of the most charming places I have been in a while, with excellent food, drink and amazing service.  Hell of the North is one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets (for now) and is the perfect place for some great food and wine in chic historic surrounds.  The even do supper!

So if you are a local looking for some fun in your own city or a traveller looking for a local Melbourne experience Localing is for you!  The great thing is your adventure will be fully customised.  You will come away with a great understanding of what makes Melbourne so special.  It’s the history, culture, architecture and the ease and friendliness of our residents.

You can contact Daniel and Dean at Localing on +61 412 386 788.   Tours start from $150.  Tell them your friendly concierge sent you and enjoy one of the best tours around!

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