Things to do in preston
For what is Preston renowned?
Preston, which Courtney Barnett most infamously referred to as “Depreston,” is a bustling city renowned for its remarkable diversity. Its wonderful market, which relies on its rich multicultural background, has significant ties to the Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, African, Indian, and Middle Eastern groups.
With deep working-class roots, Preston is “a bit of an underdog with a former reputation for being a rough part of town, but on the cusp of transformation into a suburb with a very diverse and energetic population,” according to Aaron Au of Japanese izakaya-style restaurant and sake bar DenDeke on Plenty Road (where the karaage is a favourite).
A stroll down High Street or Plenty Road will reveal secret warehouse bars, antique stores tucked inside Victorian storefronts, and contemporary eateries that cater to the never-ending northside hipster migration, all of which are comfortably tucked away among the authentic multicultural fare that both the established communities and more recent residents enjoy.
Why do the residents adore it?
The residents’ embrace of both the ancient and the new. While you can find inexpensive, delectable Chinese, Vietnamese, gozleme, and traditional fish and chips, you can also scavenge well-stocked record stores, op shops, and bric-a-brac emporiums. Additionally, there are a few breweries where you can drink locally brewed beer, and Jamsheed Urban Winery serves wine. The key is creativity now. Make something new out of something old, dusty, and desolate while retaining its inherent appeal.
The Preston Market is so beloved by the locals that any planned modifications are vehemently rejected. The “atmosphere, activity, commotion and aromas [of the market] are unsurpassed,” according to Ellie Marin, proprietor of Preston Market’s taco truck Cornutopia and Fried Hustle on High Street, the place to go when only southern fried chicken will do. Locals like to support small businesses and adore the variety at the market, according to Sue Sheehan of Rhubarb Rhubarb Organics at Preston Market.
DenDeke’s Aaron wonderfully captures the push-and-pull between the old and new. “Preston feels like a battler suburb taking art lessons, and I for one am curious to see what it learns to paint over the course of the next ten or so years.”
Where can I find Preston?
Simply move north. The Bell, Preston, and Regent stations on the Mernda train line are where the trains stop. The 11 tram will take you to Miller Street and Gilbert Road, while the 86 will take you up to the intersection of Plenty Road and Tyler Street.
What is close by?
Preston’s more well-known neighbour is Thornbury, and the two are linked to the point where it’s difficult to tell where one ends and the other starts. Reservoir, sometimes referred to as “Rezzie” by locals, borders Preston to the north. Merri and Edgars Creeks border Preston to the west, and Darebin Creek borders Preston to the east. The waterways are encircled by lush parkland and laced with extensive walking and cycling paths that are well-liked by locals.
If you just take one action,
After an afternoon of bric-a-brac, vintage, and op-shopping, stroll up Plenty Road and unwind with drinks at one of the top-notch bars at the intersection of Tyler Street and Plenty Road. Melbourne’s northside at its best.
You must have Chinese food if you visit Preston. The difficult part will be deciding between Sichuan-style noodles at Tina’s Noodle Kitchen (352 High St.), traditional Cantonese BBQ at C-Culture (437 High St.), where the duck is undoubtedly delicious but the beef and fried egg noodles are also outstanding, and traditional yum cha at the comfortingly traditional and OTT Gold Leaf (419 High St).
Chumanchu (2/4 Gilbert Rd) is a large, sophisticated yet laid-back modern Vietnamese restaurant with more modern dishes. Along with making excellent pho, the team also makes a breakfast scrambled egg roti wrap with lap cheong that will make your dreams come true. The legendary hot beef doughnuts and American slow-smoked barbeque at Dexter (456 High St.) are made without restrictions. A chic prosecco bar and Italian restaurant, Sonny’s Bottega (647 Plenty Rd), wouldn’t look out of place amid the green streets of Carlton North.
Would you like to have anything delivered or picked up to go? The staff at this American-style diner, Borderland (208 Tyler St.), are friendly, and the comforting moreishness of their poutine will have you going back soon. Maharaja (560 High St.) offers both high-quality, dependable in-home delivery and a dining experience that is distinctly Indian in technicolour. Enzo’s Pizzeria (201 High St.) has the perfect combination of classic and gourmet pizzas because sometimes you just want that comforting crunch of shredded ham, even though it isn’t the most cutting-edge pizza option in town (for that, head to Dexter’s adjacent companion, Takeaway Pizza, for American style pizza and craft beer).
While Moon Dog World (32 Chifley Dr.) is the big attraction and makes it worthwhile to travel to Preston’s eastern side, it’s the small bars that make the neighbourhood interesting enough to explore further. A family-run establishment featuring a pool table, a cosy courtyard, and a wide assortment of spirits is the Raccoon Club (145 Plenty Rd).
Ragtime Tavern (206 Tyler St.), a darkly lighted tavern with maroon walls and gold-framed artwork, is a little further away and will transport you back to your vacation to New Orleans with its revolving grand piano. Hard Rubbish (670 Plenty Rd) is well worth the trip; it’s a retro-themed pub with salvaged trinkets, a Space Invaders arcade game, and the customary overturned milk crates, but it has enough unique art painted on the walls, personality, and good beer and cocktails to win you over.
Another popular establishment in the neighbourhood is Audacious Monk (128 Regent St.), which during lockdown transformed its bar and bottleshop (which sells excellent craft beer and an exquisitely curated wine selection) into a tiny gourmet deli and corner shop and constructed a pavillion for the beer garden in time for summer.
With their unique Scottish Wee Man’s Kitchen, Tallboy & Moose (270 Raglan St.) is a great place to catch up with friends who are travelling with young children. They brew a variety of beers on-site.
The Stolberg (197 Plenty Rd) is a pleasant surprise if you’re looking for a traditional pub, nevertheless. Although it appears simple from the outside, the interior features wood-paneled and wallpapered walls with just a hint of an old English tavern to make it feel cosy. The pub food is also good and reasonably priced.
It’s difficult to find a terrible cup of coffee in Preston, as one might anticipate from a neighbourhood with a mix of Italians and sophisticated northsiders. The variety and calibre of the cafés make it difficult to single out a select few, but the Pearl Oyster (114 Miller St.) and Merri Clan (15 Gilbert Rd. ), both with charming courtyards, help the Miller Street and Gilbert Road hamlet punch above its weight.
conversion of a warehouse Modern and roomy Sartoria (115 Plenty Rd) serves gourmet coffee, while Moon Rabbit (218 High St) is an eco-friendly social company with fantastic takeout options.
Check out Arepa Days if you want coffee with a side of Colombian flatbread, eggs, and guacamole (25 Preston St). Alternately, stop by the renowned Cedar Bakery (33/35 High St) for Lebanese baked products, superb coffee, and a wide selection of Middle Eastern spices, pickles, and speciality items.
Vintage shopping in Preston is a must, whether you’re looking for clothing, furniture, or collectibles. In addition to the numerous wonderful op shops, Retropolis (1 Newman St) is a sizable converted warehouse with a variety of retro clothing and bric-a-brac collectors all in one place, Hunter & Co (553 Plenty Rd) is crammed to the gills with one-of-a-kind finds of every description, and Preston Vintage & Antiques Warehouse (407 Plenty Rd) has an outstanding collection of mid-century furniture and more.
Grab a speciality gelato from Augustus Gelatery (501 Plenty Rd.) or Gelato Papa to keep yourself energised for shopping (14A Gilbert Rd). Visit Twisted Vine (98 Miller St.) while you’re in the area for a hand-selected selection of domestic and international wines, weekly tastings, and service that makes you feel at home.
You can’t beat Slavonija Deli (C234, 235 The Centreway) in Preston Market for European small products. Alternately, if you’re throwing a barbeque, put an order for an actual gyro spit roast from Metaxas Meats (546 Murray Rd). You provide the spit and place kilo-based orders!
What to do
There are many businesses that are dedicated to the arts, such as the Gertrude Contemporary gallery and artists’ studio, as would be expected in a developing suburb filled with creative people from the northside and empty warehouse spaces (21-31 High St).
If you have any aches and pains that need seeing to, you can book an appointment online or call Rosanna Physio on (03) 9457 2336. They are located right near Preston and can address all your physiotherapy needs.
The 400-seat proscenium arch theatre and function spaces of the Darebin Arts & Entertainment Centre (Cnr. Bell St. & St. Georges Rd) play host to a variety of community performances and events.
For something a little different, the School of Historical Fencing (4/84 Oakover Rd) offers free trial classes, social events, and even competitions. It teaches mediaeval and Renaissance Italian and Spanish sword fighting.