Yes, you read that right. The northside strip of Smith Street has been named the coolest street in the world right now. The list has been decided by 27,000 city residents from around the world alongside Time Out’s editors and experts in an effort to celebrate the great local businesses and communities that make our cities and streets exciting.
The Coolest Streets in the World list is first and foremost based on the opinions of locals. Earlier this year we asked Time Out readers what the coolest street is in their respective cities as part of our annual Time Out Index survey, and Melburnians responded with Collingwood’s main artery, Smith Street.
It makes a lot of sense – Smith Street and Collingwood as a whole are extremely popular places to hang out in Melbourne. Once the stomping ground of street gangs in the 1800s, Collingwood has a long, proud, chequered history of giving the middle finger to authority. Sitting beside the perpetually popular Fitzroy and Brunswick Street, Smith Street is only getting better.
By day, you can wander into cool Scandi furniture shops, grab a banh mi from N Lee Bakery or a takeaway meal from Alimentari. But it's at night where Smith Street really shines, with pubs, gay bars and live music joints that act like a magnet for Melburnians who like to kick on ‘til the early hours of the morning. There are drag shows at Mollie's Diner, cool cocktails at Above Board and plenty of fun to be had at Mr Wow's Emporium and the Gaso. It’s far too common to see revellers kick on from one venue across the jostle of cars and the 86 tram, only to run into another business’s open arms for a couple more hours (and a couple more drinks).
After four city-wide lockdowns put immense pressure on everyone, small businesses especially, the unequivocal support that the people of Collingwood have for venues is what we like to see.
Of course, we have to mention the “cool” part. Naturally, what one person thinks is cool isn’t always what another person thinks is cool, so it’s likely we’ll see a bit of debate about this one. We also have to acknowledge the fact that Collingwood is in a state of flux as gentrification transforms the once working-class area. But it’s true that Collingwood is still holding fast to its reputation as a suburb of scrappers who don’t give a damn.
The Coolest Streets in the World list is the first of its kind for Time Out and works in a similar way to our Coolest Neighbourhoods in the World lists. Last year, the westside suburb of Yarraville was singled out in the top five for its vibrant community spirit during the city’s hard second lockdown.