I’m a little bit obsessed with Offspring and am devastated that this week is the season finale (not to mention last week’s episode). How will I cope without Doctor Patrick on Wednesday evenings? I know I’m not the only one to be obsessed as well. There are blog posts devoted to how to dress like Nina Proudman and how to dress like Nina and how to decorate your room in Offspring style. Of course though my focus is on the food and drink in Offspring. One of my favourite things about the show is the use of real Fitzroy bars, restaurants and cafes in the filming (along with some surrounding locations which are technically Collingwood and Northcote, but I’ll cut them some slack). It gives the show a much more real feel and also reminds you what a great part of Melbourne Fitzroy is.
So for my fellow Offspring obsessives here are some of the key bars, cafes and restaurants featured in the TV series to dull the pain:
1. The Union Club Hotel
This seriously good pub is tucked away in Fitzroy’s back streets. It gets a lot of air time in Offspring as Jimmy works there, Mick hosts gigs at the pub, Kim gives birth on the pool table and Mick and Billy even get married there. The food is fairly standard pub grub so it’s more about having a beer here.
Details: The Union Club Hotel, 164 Gore St, Fitzroy (Ph 03 9417 2926)
TomBoy only opened last year but Offspring was straight onto it as a location thanks to its sweet vibe. It’s at TomBoy where Billy starts grabbing a magazine article which features her out of people’s hands and yelling “I’m not mad”. On my visit things were a little calmer at TomBoy but they did have a good stack of Sunday magazines. I loved the egg tacos ($12.50) and the girly details from the jam jars of flowers, leather detailing on the aprons worn by the waiting staff and the bright candy cane striped straws our juices come served with.
Details: Tomboy, 356 Smith Street, Collingwood, VIC 3066 (Ph +61 3 9486 0162 )
3. Madame SouSou
You could be in a little bistro in Paris when you are eating at Madame SouSou thanks to its antique mirrors and cane furniture. The look of the restaurant makes it an atmospheric filming location for Offspring and it’s here that Nina meets Chris’s wife Alice and then runs over her foot in the street outside. My meal there was a little less drama packed and instead focused on the French classics the restaurant serves up. My steak in the steak frites dish ($38) was cooked perfectly medium rare although Madame SouSou’s boullibaisse ($36) was less of a soup and more of an assortment of seafood. A bit more broth would have been welcome.
Details: Madame SouSou, 231 Brunswick St Fitzroy 3065 (Ph 03 9417 0400)
4. Gertrude Street Enoteca
One of my favourite Melbourne restaurants and bars, Gertrude Street Enoteca is an easy place to while away an evening ordering bottles of wine off the well stocked shelves that surround you. The menu is very limited with lots of bar snacks and only one main meal option but when that option is so good, who’s complaining. I like to go here for dates with Meat-and-Three-Veg and order the main which could be roast chicken or a lasagna. Nina went here for a date with a cardiologist in the time I like to call BP (Before Patrick).
Details: Gertrude Street Enoteca, 229 Gertrude St Fitzroy 3065 (Ph 03 9415 8262)
An easy walk from the hospital Nina and Patrick work at Sonido becomes a Peruvian restaurant for Jimmy and his girlfriend of the time, Tammy (it’s hard to keep up). In real life Sonido is a little slice of Colombia. Sonido serves up arepas every day. They’re like a more puffy, thick version of a taco and come with a serving of guacamole and salsa. My pick is the beef ($12) thanks to the generous serving of slow cooked meat.
Details: Sonido, 69 Gertrude St, Fitzroy 3065 (Ph 0404 621 946)
6. Belle’s Diner (now Belle’s Hot Chicken)
The Offspring cast haven’t missed Melbourne’s current obsession with all things American thanks to the inclusion of Belle’s Diner in the show. It’s here that Nina has lunch with Sheree and her dad and they announce they are off for a Kombi trip around Australia. In real life, this is the place to get your fried chicken and waffles on. The fried chicken is excellent here – really soft, moist chicken with a crispy coating. Order one plate to share as it’s pretty big. I can also recommend Belle’s Diner’s vanilla milkshakes – very old school.
Details: Belle’s Diner, 150 Gertrude St Fitzroy VIC 3065 (Ph 03 9077 0788)
Update: Belle’s Diner is now called Belle’s Hot Chicken. But guess what? You can still get hot chicken and vanilla milkshakes there.
Plus there’s heaps more, including:
- The Black Cat: A regular hangout in Offspring the battered, worn couches of this cafe give a perfect Fitzroy vibe to the show. In the early series Nina talks with Chris here about getting naked and it’s also the place Mick and Billy discuss IVF. Details: 252 Brunswick street, Fitzroy 3065 (Ph 03 9419 6230)
- Radio Cafe: Look out for the round windows which signal Radio Cafe and of course the radio in the window (in reality more a bar than a cafe). Details: 79 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy 3065 (Ph 03 94161963)
- Palomino Cafe: Adam makes Nina a coffee the morning after. Details: 236 High St Northcote 3070 (Ph 03 9481 0699)
- The Everleigh: Patrick and Eloise have a drink at what is possibly Melbourne’s hippest bar and discuss their awkward work history when Eloise reported Patrick for drug use. Details: 1/150-156 Gertrude St Fitzroy 3065 (Ph 03 9416 2229)
- South of Johnston, Billie and Nina have breakfast together here. Details: 46 Oxford Street, Collingwood 3066 (Ph 03 9417 2741)
- The 86: Nina has a hilarious girls night out at this club after breaking up with Patrick. Love the dancing scenes (imaginary and reality). Details: 185 Smith St Fitzroy 3065 (Ph 03 9077 4360)
- The LuWow: I love the kitsch cocktails at this Tiki club and so do the Offspring gang when they head there to take Eloise out to “Lickety Sip” a lesbian night. Details: 62-70 Johnston St Fitzroy 3065 (Ph 03 9417 5447)
- Northcote Social Club, Mick and Rosanna perform here and Zara’s waters break here. Details: 301 High St Northcote 3070 (Ph 03 9489 3917).