Historic Downtown Melbourne has long been the heart and soul of The Harbor City. What once was thought of as a lunch-time meeting place, has now turned into an all-day destination – so much so, that high-rise apartments and hotels are now calling it home (more on that later). The best part is, with each trip, your itinerary can change completely. This blog post may be nearing 1,300 words, but trust us, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Along with the growth in Downtown Melbourne over the years has come the addition of some new welcoming, yet sophisticated, eateries where you can dress up (or stay casual) for a night-out on the town. Ember & Oak is a not-so-traditional steakhouse that offers a tapas-style dining experience where plates are meant to be shared, and memories are meant to be made. Crush XI, a “casually-hip” gathering place is the mouthwatering addiction you have been looking for. They take craft cocktails to the next level, which goes along with their perfectly crafted menu. Although not a new addition, The Dove III cannot be left off our elite eats list. The spot in Downtown to celebrate the special occasion, The Dove III offers fine-dining Italian favorites with a Neapolitan flair. This place is so good, they had to make three.
EASY GOING EATS
Along with the new and exciting elite eats are some easy-going options for a stop after your retail therapy or before your night out at one of the many local watering holes (scroll down!). Grey Belly’s monster sandwiches, including their famous Maryland Crab Cake sando, have made it a hot spot for locals for both eating and that IG photo. Mustard’s Last Stand has been serving the Space Coast since 1987 with a Chicago-style eatery that is famous for, you guessed it, hot dogs. Backwater, allows your artistic side to come out with make-it-yourself (at your own table) pancakes with homemade OJ for the PERFECT mimosa. For some drop-dead Korean barbeque and sushi, Mangetsu delivers, and even offers built-in grills right at your table for personalized perfection. Pub Americana, which has been a Space Coast favorite in Cocoa Village, recently opened shop in Downtown Melbourne, and residents couldn’t be happier with this new addition (hello Buffalo Mac ‘n Cheese).
There may be a lot of new (and good) newcomers to the Downtown Melbourne scene, but the classic faves locals have visited for years still call it home, too. Matt’s Casbah adorns the corner of Waverly Place and New Haven Avenue with its wave-inspired awning and array of colorful lights. This is the perfect back drop for its exciting menu and live entertainment. Grab a fresh squeezed cocktail (no sour mix here!) at Mainstreet Pub in one of their three unique atmospheres: their upstairs Observation Deck, their backyard patio, or inside their welcoming pub. The Mansion is a unique blend of southern sophistication with modern touches, like its rooftop bar and terrace overlooking the Indian River. If the food and drink underneath trees in the garden weren’t enough, their cellars, which offers everything from private barrel selects chosen by the owner himself, to some of the most specialized bottles in the world, will surely be the cherry on top. Hell ‘N Blazes is Downtown’s brewery, housed in an 1890’s Melbourne-original building that has still kept some of that historic charm but has added so much more. From their game room to the perfect leather sofa to relax, this is the stop you need to make, whether for a bite or a flight. The Burger Place does retro right, with classic fries, shakes, and burgers with homemade buns served in that classically-updated diner atmosphere.
Of course with their great food, many of the establishments we mention above provide great drinks late into the night. However, a few really take drink destinations to the next level. The Foo Bar, is a hidden oasis, lined with lanterns and quiet corners for the perfect night out. Hurricane Creek Saloon will release your inner-cowboy with line-dancing. If you need a little courage to get on the floor and boot scootin’ boogie, they have a full bar and a handful of frozen daiquiris to help out. Off the Traxx has long been the bar of Downtown Melbourne, where you get the “everybody knows your name” vibe, yet an exciting crowd to fill the night with endless fun. Plus, their Pizza Off the Traxx with its giant slices is open late enough to crush that late-night craving. The Iron Oak Post is a drinking destination with over 150 whiskeys, and a combination of 77 craft beers, house-made cocktails, ciders and meads on tap. The building, which was Melbourne’s 5th post office from the 1920’s to 1950’s, offers some history along the walls, in a setting fit to sit and relax.
When it comes to shopping, Downtown Melbourne has it all for your retail therapy needs, including several locally-owned spas. However, there is more fun to be had. The Henegar Center, a local performing arts center, is celebrating its 30th season of live entertainment on the Space Coast in the historic 1919 Melbourne School building, which features a 430-seat Main Stage Theatre and an 80-seat Blackbox Theatre. The Melbourne Civic Theatre at the heart of Downtown Melbourne is now entering its 67th season in its intimate 93 seat community theatre, providing a feeling of a personal performance just for you. If you’re more into competition, give Lumber Jack’s Axe House a whack. If you can’t hit the bullseye, no worries, they have a drink waiting to cheer you up. The newest addition to Melbourne, right outside Jack’s, is Downtown Biergarten Melbourne. Visit them for a stein and live music, including dueling pianos every weekend.
CALLING IT HOME
Historic Downtown Melbourne is growing in more ways than one, including vertically. In addition to Hotel Melby, a Tapestry Collection by Hilton set to open this year, The Highline Apartments offers the best of urban living STEPS away from it all, with water views from its high-rise to boot.
Keep up with the latest news and events from Downtown Melbourne at www.DowntownMelbourne.com.
Did you know that the global headquarters for L3 Harris Technologies is located a few mere miles from Historic Downtown Melbourne? The company continues to grow, hiring hundreds of new workers in 2020, with additional hiring planned for 2021.