A pumping building and construction industry plus significant investment from the University of Tasmania has kick-started a new microclimate in inner city Hobart.
‘MidTown’ has become the new term for the stretch of Elizabeth Street that connects the heart of the city to the popular restaurant strip in adjacent North Hobart. Gritty and growing, these two or three blocks have sprouted a new look to support both the increasing student population and the willingness of the locals to head out under the cover of darkness – thanks Dark MoFo.
It’s an edgy vibe. MidTown encompasses a small but eclectic collection of ageing shopfronts and glossy new builds. You can find anything here from a CWA shop with the best light and fluffy chocolate sponge cake that you’ll ever eat, through to the almost obligatory urban cafes with their own take on the classic Melbourne grunge feel.
Eateries of all sizes are doing well out of the hundreds of mouths on the MidTown doorstep – UTAS has recently completed a glossy new student residence smack bang in the middle of the area, with plans for more underway. No doubt stressed out students are enjoying some ‘down time’ in MidTown’s various pubs. Take your pick from the hip tacos and booze served up at Grinners Dive Bar through to a contemporary microbrewery like Shambles. The later has become a bit of a local fav for the after work mob.
Perhaps the best bit of MidTown is what it offers outside of eateries and watering holes. This is a hot spot for quirky music stores. Old instruments come here searching for a new lease on life. Yes, you can buy new gear, but preloved and antique items are a speciality. If you want something restrung or repaired, come on down. The shop owners love a chat and it’s always worth asking if you can tinker on some old pianos.
Bikes, boutiques and barbers are the other drawcards. You can pick up some hot new wheels, browse some cool little gift shops or check out where Hobartians go to have their hipster beards groomed. Black puffers essential here, no colours thank you very much.
Coffee? Yes, it’s here in spades. Pause at a hole in the wall as you wander along, or text and collect if you’re in a rush. Those with more time should grab a table in a MidTown café and enjoy the ambience. There’s a somehow pleasing mix of convict sandstone and brick, retro mid-century architecture and alleyways with more recent murals and graffiti. A little drop of something for everyone – with surely more to come along this quickly evolving strip.
Local advice? If you’re staying in Hobart, factor in a later afternoon wander from popular waterfront accommodation spots up Elizabeth Street towards North Hobart. You can enjoy MidTown on the way, with time for a coffee before hitting the well-known restaurant strip of North Hobart for dinner. Top your evening off by catching a flick at the State Cinema. Red wine and hot chocolate are their specialities whilst you get lost in something arthouse. In the summer months, time your visit to enjoy the roof top shows – under the stars with a glass of crisp Tasmanian white.
Delve further into MidTown’s shops, cafes and bars over on Instagram.