Back in the day, Braddon was an industrial area full of caryards and mechanics- aren’t we lucky that has changed!
Over the last ten years or so, Braddon has grown to become the after-work playground of Canberra’s young professionals, with a thriving bar scene and a few choice restaurant picks for those in the know.
But with the redevelopment of Civic stretching right onto Braddon’s doorstep, this after-work haunt is now the place to be and be seen: after work or any time across the weekend.
If you’re keen for a spot of shopping, a place to share a coffee with the girls, or for that much needed after-work drink then there’s lots to check out between Northbourne and Limestone Avenues. And true to its industrial history, you can still get your car serviced at the same time. Bonus!
Here’s what’s going down in arguably Canberra’s hippest suburb.
Have a bar of it!
If you’re after a relaxed drink with a buddy or a casual meal with friends, Debacle’s for you. Open 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner (plus drinks of course) the bar has a spartan but chilled décor which matches its no-fuss approach.
Debacle is famous for its extensive beer list and gourmet pizzas, but my personal favourite is the mezze platter for two- especially good if you can convince the bar staff to serve it up with a jug of their sangria, which isn’t technically on the menu.
Debacle is especially busy on Mondays and Tuesdays for its 2 for 1 pizza deal, so definitely book ahead for this special.
Technically titled Knightsbridge Penthouse, this cool bar is definitely one of Braddon’s highlights. With a kooky mismatched interior and comfy outdoor garden, Knightsies is cool with the afterwork crowd for a glass of wine or fabulous cocktail.
Come Fridays and Saturdays it’s packed out, so put on your heels and glam it up with the best of them. Best thing about Knightsies? The free barbeque on Friday nights, serving up the obligatory sausage sizzle with chargrilled veggies. Did I mention free?
Make a meal of it!
It may only have opened in December, but Lonsdale St Roasters has already made a major splash in the Canberra coffee scene. With blends named Johnny Cash, Cartel and Mojo Rising, plus a dozen single origin coffees, these guys are serious about their beans. The ambience, however, is all about fun – a menu spelled out in a kids’ magnetic alphabet; bikes hanging on the wall, and an impressive collection of vinyl records lend a hip ‘Melbourne-esque’ vibe.
You can’t go wrong at Delissio, which has amazing Modern Aussie dining from Breakfast through til dinner. With a sunny aspect, it’s a great place to while away the afternoon with friends or family over a glass of wine or a coffee. The best thing? Picking a bunch of delicious small tapas to share. I won’t keep count of the treats if you won’t.
Italian and Sons is one of Canberra’s few authentic trattorias and boasts the charm of Italian-speaking waiters. The pizzas are massive and, if you’re planning on ordering the suckling pig you’d better pack your spare stomach… Reserve your table early, as this hugely popular hotspot books up faster than you can say Bellissimo!
Hidden underneath the Phoenix Apartments, Bollywood Dimensions provides delicious Indian food with a side of atmosphere. Not only does it have an extensive and authentic menu of North Indian favourites, but if you need a great night out with the girls it can also provide Bollywood extravaganza nights so you can dance off all that delicious naan!
This Greek Taverna is perhaps the most well established Braddon restaurant, and in an ever-changing suburb this is a sign of the good things on offer.
The bright and welcoming restaurant is family-friendly and provides dishes from all over Greece. You can get all the Greek fare your heart desires, but the specialty of the house is seafood, so definitely consider the blackboard specials and of course the amazing calamari.
Piyaros is a good Thai restaurant with all the standard fare you’d expect. It’s a relatively quiet restaurant , but the staff are courteous, friendly and look after you well. If you’re looking for lunch, they provide cheap lunchbox specials through the week that definitely hit the spot.
Cornucopia has all the trappings of a great bakery, with hand-made bread from scratch, sausage rolls, amazing croissants and cakes to boot. It’s a great place to pop in to first thing when everything is fresh out of the oven… but even early on a Saturday morning you might need some luck getting a table, so it might be an idea to take it away to enjoy at home. Don’t forget the coffee.
Crust is a gourmet pizza place that you needn’t feel guilty about ordering from. With lighter choices and pizzas that have the Heart Foundation tick, you can even give yourself a pat on the back that you’re looking after yourself! They also look after those of us with dietary requirements, providing gluten free bases on request and all nutritional and allergen information online. They’ll also deliver if you’re an inner-northy, for those lazy nights in.
The burrito train from my workplace has happily been calling into the Zambrero station for years now, and we’re thrilled that there’s Zambreros popping up all over Canberra. The ingredients are fresh and everything is made to order so you can pick and choose exactly what you want. The Braddon store is open for lunch Mon-Fri and for dinner Mon-Sat. Apparently burritos sleep on Sundays.
If you fondly remember the old Electric Shadows Cinema, chances are you’ll love the offshoot Electric Shadows bookshop which can now be found in Braddon on Mort St.
They just don’t make bookshops like this anymore- it’s completely independent and provides specialist film, theatre and arts books as well as a huge selection of general subject publications. You can also buy a range of world cinema DVDs, and they even have a rental library for Canberra residents- love!
It’s always been a favourite with the style set of Canberra, and Itrip Iskip just keeps going from strength to strength. Stocking fashion for girls and guys plus some amazing shoes and jewellery, Itrip Iskip always seems to have new stock in and a sales rack that’s worth checking out. You’ll also love the gorgeous vintage section by Canberra local brand Liebe Bluhm.
Is there someone in your life who is hard to buy for? You will definitely find something for them at Unit Concepts, which has a wide range of design icon pieces as well as some kooky gadgetry. It’s the kind of place where you’re likely to find something you never realised you needed- until now.
Opened by the lovely girls from Itrip Iskip, Lellow is boutique store for kids clothes, books and toys with a focus on handcrafted and sustainable products. With a handpainted hopscotch “court” out the front, the kids will be happy to check it out too!
Peek inside and you’ll find Beez Images and Designs, a Canberra photographer who specialises in childhood photography, tucked into a cupboard-sized creative space.
Pink Ink calls itself a ‘treasure trove of beautiful clothes, exotic and interesting accessories, and everyday luxuries,” and it’s not being self-important. Stocking some of the biggest names in Australian fashion (Akira, Easton Pearson, Fleur Wood) as well as international brands (Elizabeth & James; Phillipe Audibert) its intimate closet-like environment is a must visit for the serious fashionista.
If you’re an eco goddess, then the Bodhi Leaf may just be the store for you. It’s new to Lonsdale St and specialises in environmentally friendly goods such as eco-homewares, natural skin care and organic fashion. I hear they’ve got some great yoga wear as well. Namaste.
It’s a little bit hidden, but Hive is definitely worth looking for. This L-shaped gift shop has an amazing array of lovely gifts, mostly for her. If you’re after a gorgeous piece of jewellery, a stand-out piece for the home or a fun kitschy gift then you’ll love Hive. A great find here is the stock of Able and Game gift cards- you’ll find one for every occasion.
Other Handy Info
In Braddon, you can get your car serviced (in the automotive field we can’t say enough good things about Lonsdale Auto Electrical), find all your office supplies at OfficeWorks, get a massage or facial at Orchid Essence, bulk buy your wine at First Choice or take a swing through Macca’s drivethrough. The question should be, what can’t you do?
What’s your favourite Braddon haunt?