If Melbourne is known for its laneways, hidden cafes and secret shopping, then Captains of Industryis the epitome of this. Walk down a cobbled lane-way off Little Bourke St, climb up a rickety wooden staircase, enter a large, sunny warehouse and there you are – yet another cool café to chill out in, and if in the mood, do a little shopping. But this is no ordinary café; you can get your hair-cut, have leather shoes custom made or a vintage suit tailored to your exact measurements. Sadly for the ladies, the ‘captains’ only cater for the gentlemen, but thankfully the café welcomes all.
The café is a simple affair, with 1930s style décor. If you were to have a cup of tea and a biscuit with your grandpa, then this would be the place. They even serve their water in those metal camping cups – it makes you want to tell a story. They are open 9am to 5pm all week, and the menu changes daily. On one of my first visits, when I asked for the lunch menu, I was told that it would just be a minute – they had to type it up. And sure enough, out came the old school type-writer, complete with blue copy tissue. I even ordered something not on the menu, and this was no problem. To add to that vintage era feeling, the menu is listed with the old pre-decimal pound symbol, which almost made me wonder if I had to convert the prices. Their selection of reasonably priced food includes bircher muesli, sandwiches, soup and toasties. To my sweet tooth delight, they serve mars bar crackles and rocky road. Their coffee is great too. There is plenty of seating, but I would recommend getting in early for lunch.
Captains of Industry is a little quirky, a little different, and a lot like my grandma’s kitchen. A great place to soak in that essential Melbourne experience.