It’s business time. You need a place quick smart. It needs to be quiet and have enough space for two people or more, if the need arises. And while there’s no shortage of places to meet in Melbourne’s CBD, it can be tricky to find a good place for a business meeting.
The Fetch invited us to suggest a handful of the most suitable and tasty places for business meetings in our lovely city. And while each of these establishments is excellent for holding business meetings, we propose using this list as the basis for an ongoing conversation about great meeting venues in Melbourne. We’d love to hear about some of your favourite places and why you like them. We’ll write them up in Part 2 of this series.
Now let’s get down to business…
Captains of Industry
Photo credit: Michael Krypuy
Opening hours: 10am – 9pm Tue-Sat; 10am – 5pm Sun-Mon. (*from website)
Address: Level 1, 2 Somerset Place, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Facebook // www.captainsofindustry.com.au // +61 3 9670 4405
Judging by the name, Captains of Industry sounds like a great place for business meetings and on many levels it is. Located on Somerset Place off Little Bourke Street, the venue is accessed up a flight of stairs on the left when peering down the laneway. The vibe at Captains is cool and stylish and the space is adorned with vintage tools and old-world sewing machines hinting at the venue’s other offerings.
The space has a single long table for large groups and free Wi-Fi. It’s best to avoid the lunchtime rush and come during mornings or afternoons. The coffee is excellent and the blend is unique to Captains from Josh Bailey of Bailey Coffee. Thom, one of the proprietors, suggests the charcuterie board for sharing. Their sandwiches are also held in very high regard.
In addition to lovely coffee and food, Captains of Industry also offer bespoke footwear and leather accessories, traditional haircuts and Made to Measure suits. This means you’ll walk out of Captains looking very smart indeed.
The Little Mule Cycle Co. & Cafe
Photo credit: Nico Alary
Opening hours: 7:30am – 3pm Mon–Fri, 9:30am – 3pm Sat, kitchen closes @ 2:30 pm most days.
Address: 19 Somerset Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000
Facebook // @thelittlemule // www.thelittlemule.com // +61 3 9670 4904
The wonderful The Little Mule is also located on Somerset Place laneway a few yards down from Captains of Industry. It’s also a great place for smaller meetings (two to four people) and the vibe is causal and relaxed outside of peak times. Free Wi-Fi is also available. Owner Hugh suggests dropping in anytime besides 12pm to 2pm to avoid the lunch rush. If you’ve got a big group (e.g. eight people or more) give Hugh or Garrett a call to secure their long communal table.
From Wednesdays to Fridays Little Mule’s popular slow cooked pulled pork sandwich is served and is recommended. The breakfast menu is also good for quick meetings and the baked eggs are a great vegetarian option. The coffee is excellent and the blend is the super smooth Coffee Supreme South Blend.
If you’re looking for a sweet ride back to work, Little Mule also builds custom single speed and fixed gear bikes with frames that have been especially designed for them. Riding one of these one-off bikes is probably the hippest way to arrive back at your office, studio or coworking space.
Photo credit: Emily Biffa at Kinfolk
Opening hours: 7am – 3pm Mon–Fri
Address: 673 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000
Facebook // @kinfolk_cafe // www.kinfolk.org.au // +61423 229 953
Wi-Fi: No but they’re looking into it.
The people at Kinfolk are a lovely bunch and what makes this place really special is that it’s a non-for-profit business. So while you might ask “where’s the money?” you’ll feel good knowing that Kinfolk distribute the profits of your meal to four development projects, two in Australia and two internationally. Funds go to indigenous education, Melbourne’s homeless and communities in Rwanda and Ghana.
Kinfolk is located a short stroll from Southern Cross Station in the “Beirut end” of town (as opposed to the Paris end). The vibe is casual and relaxed outside of peak times and Emily suggests coming in from 10am to 12pm and after 2pm to avoid the lunch crowds. The space is best suited for smaller groups and there are a couple of larger communal tables. The coffee blend is by Di Bella, who also has a unique link to the café. The coffee is 100% sponsored by Di Bella (i.e. no charge to Kinfolk) and this was a major element in how Kinfolk was born, along with the café space being made available.
The menu is seasonal and comprises local produce and organic ingredients wherever possible. The baguettes, frittatas and the Convent Bakery pastries are perfect for a quick bite.
Urban Table at The Urban Workshop
Photo credit: Michael Krypuy
Opening hours: 7am – 5pm Mon–Fri
Address: Foyer Kiosk, 50 Lonsdale Street, Ground Level
The Urban Table café in The Urban Workshop precinct is located in the Paris end of town a short walk from Parliament Station on Lonsdale Street. You can spot this café from the street by the prominent timber blocks in the café’s window.
Upon walking in you’re greeted with a roomy and bright venue decked out in timber and there are several long communal tables making it perfect for large group meetings. The vibe is friendly and a little more up-tempo than the other places mentioned. An advantage of this large space is that you’ll be able to find a free table at most times of the day.
The coffee is by Merlo and there’s a selection of muffins, cakes, slices, biscuits and cold drinks on offer. Ask the kind staff for the details of the free Wi-Fi too. While the food on offer here is limited the venue stands out as a great space for those larger business meetings.
The Fair Trader
Photo credit: Michael Krypuy
Opening hours: 7am – 4pm Mon-Wed, 7am till late Thu–Fri.
Address: 11 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
+61 3 9686 1888
The Fair Trader opened in June 2012 and is another great meeting venue in the Paris end of town. It’s bright and roomy like The Urban Table, the vibe is casual and there are plenty of long timber tables for large group meetings.
You’ll be able to find a free table at most times of the day because it’s such a large space and the longer opening hours on Thursdays and Fridays are a real advantage for any late meetings.
The coffee is great with the blend from the St Ali crew. There’s also a great selection of sandwiches and salads on offer for a quick bite. The lunch menu is modern with items such as an open steak sandwich and pumpkin gnocchi. There’s also a large selection of beers and wine on offer to wind down after those power meetings.
A big thank you to everyone we spoke to for this post, especially Shaun Byrne, Julia Ford and Evie Thuy Nguyen for their awesome suggestions for venues.
To see all the venue suggestions mapped out, visit –> http://bit.ly/Melbmeetingcafes
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About our Contributors // The Dishcovery Team aka Michael and Joe. Dishcovery is an iPhone app that provides a community ratings system for some of your favourite dishes. It’s the brainchild of Joe Nguyen and Michael Krypuy, two Melbourne guys who love food and technology. The app was born from the conversations about how to answer those commonly asked questions like “Where is the best burger in town?” or “Where is the best pho in Melbourne?”. Everyone can have a say by grading a dish, adding a comment or adding a photo. You can download and check out the app via their site.
I would also recommend eclipse, on Flinders lane behind the Realto. Aside from being a serious contender for the best cup of coffee in Melbourne the staff are excellent, mood perfect for business (particularly around the back in the hotel area). I have frequently camped out for an entire morning with multiple meetings ending in lunch (which is almost as good as the coffee).
Thanks Simon! Just checked out Eclipse and you’re right, it’s a great place for business meetings. Coffee and staff are excellent. Definitely going in Part 2 of this article series 🙂
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