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A tram travelling down chapel street in Prahran
Photograph: Mark Lobo

The best things to do in Prahran

Discover the top attractions in the beautiful inner southern suburb of Prahran

Written by
Time Out editors
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Prahran – and that's Pran not Praahn – might be best known for its stretch of Chapel Street, but there's plenty more to love about the inner south suburb. It's here you'll find some of Melbourne most exciting restaurants, fun bars and quirky shops. Not to mention the spectacular Chapel Off Chapel performing arts space and the beloved den of sin that is Revs. New to the area? Here are the best things to do in Prahran.

Nearby make sure you check out the best things to do in South Yarra or Elsternwick

Best things to do in Prahran

  • Shopping
  • South Yarra

Technically Prahran Market is located in South Yarra (it's right on the suburb border) but this gourmet market is too good to not include. Inside you'll find a delicious range of deli produce and fresh fruit and veg. The market also hosts a range of foodie events and festivals throughout the year. 

Chapel Off Chapel
  • Theatre
  • Prahran

This highly respected and renowned venue just off Chapel Street is a veritable institution for the arts in Melbourne. Housed in a former church, it presents a well-rounded programme of cabaret, theatre, comedy, dance and visual art. The venue has hosted artists such as Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Tripod, and musicals including The Colour Purple, Rent and Blood Brothers.

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  • Restaurants
  • Prahran

David Zhou’s formal Chinese restaurant has had a 2012 make-under. Gone are the plush banquettes and novelty lamps, replaced with distressed school chairs, share tables, and a pristine white wash paint-job. Your placemat is the menu, and it’s spruiking regional-style share dishes.

Revolver Upstairs
  • Clubs
  • Prahran

Revolver is a sprawlingly decadent venue halfway between scummy and sublime. The bar/club goes all night more or less and is often responsible for the sort of behaviour best forgotten by morning. A great night out, in other words, and a right of passage for anyone living in Melbourne.

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  • Bars
  • Craft beer
  • Prahran
  • price 1 of 4

With white walls, an immaculate bar and smooth timber tables, this place scrubs up nicer than any saloon we’ve ever set foot in. It’s all about the shooters, slammers, chasers and cocktails here; don’t leave without dabbling with El Diablo. Made with Botella del Sol tequila, hibiscus, lime, and ginger beer, it’s a dangerous mix we could drink all night. Dude food is the name of the game with chilli mac and cheese, cornbread and jalapeño poppers on the menu.

  • Shopping
  • Prahran

One of Melbourne's largest plant depositories is hidden away in Prahran's back streets, inside an old plastic bag factory that has been transformed into a veritable floral wonderland. Botanicah bills itself as the biggest plant warehouse in Melbourne's south, and with 350 square metres of floors space dedicated to plants and pots, it's easy to agree. 

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Pawn and Co
  • Bars
  • Prahran

Pawn and Co is an operational pawn shop that's also a 1920s-themed bar-nightclub. It could only have been conceived of by the likes of Josh Lefers and Steven Wools – the guys behind Big Dog creative, Doss Blockos beer, and in Lefer’s case, kitschy Chinese restaurant Happy Palace. They’ve put together a good-looking space, albeit backed by a confusing concept. 

  • Restaurants
  • Prahran

What was once a grotty old pub is shiny and new again – the Smith is a smart and elegant all-day eatery with obligatory open kitchen, bar area up front, restaurant out back and double function rooms upstairs. The menu leans towards whatever’s hot right now (matching the clientele to a tee) and follows nobody’s rules. Head along on Saturdays for the pub's weekly Brunch with Soul sessions – two hours of bottomless drinks backed by a roaming gospel choir. 

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  • Bars
  • Prahran

Housed in Prahran’s former Hotel Max, the schmicko, Art Deco L’Hotel Gitan is a similar beast to its older sibling. It’s less formal, as befitting any family newcomer, but the similarities are unmistakable. This is pub food done Reymond-style: an ongoing French revolution of an Australian institution.

 

 

Greville Records
  • Shopping
  • Prahran

The Greville Records’ guestbook reads like a roll-call of international music greats… the likes of Pearl Jam, Sonic Youth, the Beastie Boys, Henry Rollins, Radiohead, and Beck have all dropped by over the years. Nowadays, Greville is a trove for rare finds. Specialising in more traditional forms of rock, it’s the place to start if you’re hunting that ultra-limited release of The Kinks b-sides. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Prahran
  • price 1 of 4

Away from the madness of Chapel Street, the narrow backstreets of Prahran are home to single-storey Victorian terrace houses fronted by picket fences and colourful, well-kept gardens. Here in this quiet neighbourhood, you’ll find the Flying Duck Hotel, loved by locals for its old-school pub atmosphere and massive beer garden. After changing hands and undergoing renovations, the Duck is back – and it’s still the perfect place for an easygoing Sunday session.

 

Onesixone
  • Clubs
  • Prahran

Onesixone is a nightclub with history. While the big clubs of the '90s were dwindling, Onesixone was just getting started. With an aim to encourage positive and creative thought, the atmosphere switches from heavy dance (including state of the art German sound systems) to quiet lounges and couches to talk to friends in. Many facets of this club make it unique, and standing out is the hard work that the owners and staff put in to make it great every time you visit.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Prahran
  • price 2 of 4

Here, suited-and-booted southerners gather around the tall communal table and tiny perches for two along one wall. On the opposite wall are some 400 wines, largely boutique Australians and interesting imports. There are two prices scrawled on each bottle and the premise is simple: pay the lesser price and get your wine to go, or add $15 to enjoy it in situ. 

 

  • Bars
  • Prahran

If the primary indoor bar at the College Lawn were empty, chances are its oval shape could make for a serviceable small running track for the modestly athletic. The bar is long enough to house a variety of sports-viewing clusters, spaced out enough so rowdy factions don’t encroach into quieter clusters. You might find a group of vocal gents grasping pints of Little Creatures Bright Ale and Heineken and young families at the other while their toddlers bop to the live cover band setting up for the final bounce. 

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Beyond Rest
  • Health and beauty
  • Prahran

Have you ever felt truly, and absolutely, weightless? When staying afloat takes no effort at all, to the point that you begin to lose any sense of your own body? Beyond Rest offers float tanks that aim to reduce stress through sensory deprivation. 

 

  • Hotels
  • Prahran
  • price 2 of 4

The Cullen – located two minutes’ walk from buzzing Chapel Street – was the first creation by the Art Series Hotel Group, whose hotels blend the visions of some of Australia’s most influential modern and contemporary artists with clever design and seamless service. Every room of the hotel, from the compact studio suite to the sprawling penthouse, pays tribute to Sydney artist Adam Cullen, thanks to a large private collection of his work.

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