The People’s Market (plus Phat Brats)

It’s pretty hard to create atmosphere out of nothing.  Just ask the organisers of The People’s Market in the Docklands.  Try as they might, even on the sunny Saturday afternoon that I visited, the place was desolate and soulless.  If you close your eyes and try to forget that the market is located in an industrial wasteland on the edge of the Docklands the whole set up does not look too bad, constructed from brightly coloured shipping containers.  It’s a little like Section 8 but in the middle of nowhere rather than squeezed into a cool CBD laneway.

The Peoples Market – not exactly overrun with people

However once I started having a wander around it was clear the market was more style than substance.  The advertised farmers market was only three paltry stalls while the flea market was a handful of vendors touting the same old tat that you could buy anywhere.  There were a handful of brave food and drink vendors with The League of Honest Coffee selling coffee, Thousand Pound Bend manning the bar and Phat Brats selling their gourmet hot dogs from a fire engine red shipping container.

Phat Brats beer soaked bratwurst

Phat Brats is one of Melbourne’s new wave of “gourmet ” sausage vendors and has just opened up a store on Brunswick street.  I wrote something for Broadsheet recently about how the humble snag has gone all upmarket and Phat Brats is leading the charge with its gourmet hot dogs.

Phat Brats chilli dog

I’m all for putting the sizzle back into sausages but Phat Brats’ meaty beer-soaked bratwurst ($8.90) was overwhelmed by the lashings of mustard it was covered in, forcing me to abandon my hot dog halfway through.  A better option was the spicy chilli dog ($8.90) with its combination of meaty sausage paired with yet more meat in the form of the chilli and a cheese sauce.

Coffee at the market from the League of Honest Coffee

I felt my sorry sausage was symptomatic of the market itself, rather unsatisfying.  I said as much on Twitter and one of the sellers at the market agreed that they were also disappointed:

Headed down to @thepeoplesmkt today in the Docklands -nice idea but seriously lacking in stalls- only 3 farmers market stalls
@carawaters @thepeoplesmkt There’s talk of lot’s more produce available next weekend I was a little disappointed myself. Thanks for coming

Lets hope things do improve.  I am fully in support of The People’s Market for trying desperately to bring some life to Melbourne’s blighted Docklands area but if a market like this is struggling on a sunny, summery day I hate to think what it will be like on a wintery Saturday.

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Details: The People’s Market, 453-507 Docklands Drive, Docklands. Open Saturday 10am -9pm.  You can also find Phat Brats at 320 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 3065 (Ph 94195526) Open: 12-11pm.
Damage: Free entry.  Reasonable prices for food and drink.

Phat Brats on Urbanspoon


  1. Ohhh I’m really interested in the people’s market ๐Ÿ™‚ i haven’t heard about it but it seems like somethign that i’d really like because i love going to markets hehe ~ thanks for the tip ๐Ÿ™‚ ooo phat brat seems like a place my bf would love going cuz he loves his hot dogs hahhaa

  2. That’s too bad. It’s great that they’re trying to do something like a market in an area like the Docklands, but I feel bad for the vendors who packed up all their gear only to have a “disappointing” afternoon.

  3. I was going to head to the People’s Market on Saturday, but was asked to go into work last minute. Now I don’t feel so disappointed that I missed it – only 3 farmer’s market stalls hmm.
    Do you think it has potential to become something bigger/better?

  4. Daisy – I love markets too but was left a bit disappointed by this one.

    Sarah Kate – Yes I agree it is tough for the vendors if it does not take off.

    Radfood – I guess it all depends how many stalls they can get there but I think in winter the location will be pretty exposed and windswept.

  5. Peoples market looks great! Never thought of going down there! x

  6. Emily – yes it’s quite out of the way

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