WHILE YOU’RE more likely to spot a celeb in the City of Angels — one need only stroll down Rodeo Drive or Sunset Boulevard — it’s not to say you won’t ever see a celeb sipping their morning brew in say, Carlton, Melbourne. For the record, Jacob Elordi was snapped at Melbourne’s inner-north cafe hotspot, Florian Cafe early last year.
With a plethora of A-Listers coming down under for respective films, such as Tom Cruise for Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, major performances and music festivals — such as our biggest, Splendour in the Grass — and global sporting events like the Australian F1 Grand Prix — it means there’s more opportunities than ever to get up-close (and personal) with the talk of Tinseltown.
Esquire has rounded up some of the biggest celeb hotspots to increase your chances of taking that all-important celeb selfie, or at the very least — wine and dine where they indulged. And don’t worry, some of these celeb-approved venues won’t break the bank.
Star-approved seafood. St Kilda, Melbourne.
Barack and Michelle Obama had a lavish taste of classic Aussie dining when they enjoyed a beachfront lunch at St Kilda icon Stokehouse back in April. Amongst the top six seafood experiences in Australia, as nominated by Tourism Australia in November 2020, Stokehouse serves everything from caviar bumps to Wagyu steak — and delectable Local Rock flathead. While it’s unclear, what the former U.S. President and First Lady ordered — we do know they dressed the Aussie part for the outing. The restaurant shared an image to Instagram of staff with Michelle, wearing a classic white tee, wide-legged jeans and navy blazer; and Barack in a relaxed suit and captioned it: “Stoked is an understatement.”
Stokehouse general manager Hugh van Haande also offered some insight to Broadsheet about the experience, revealing they could only tell staff who was joining them for lunch that day. “Everyone was impressed by the stature and the presence that he had,” the restaurateur said of Barack’s “calm, gentle but authoritative demeanour.”
Saloon style wine bar. Melbourne CBD.
Continuing their sexy culinary ventures around Australia, the Obamas also dined at Melbourne fave vino joint — and former hotshot on the world’s top 50 restaurants list — Embla. According to the Herald Sun, they were joined by Formula One star Lewis Hamilton, who was also in the country for the Australian F1 Grand Prix in March. The outlet reported the trio were “hidden away” in the upstairs area of the city chic bar with “Obama’s large security detail occupying most of the bottom floor.” Nearby Russell St was also closed off during their dinner with the power couple leaving in a convoy of 15 cars, just casually.
“It was a pleasure to have them in,” Embla co-owner Christian McCabe told Broadsheet. “The Obamas are both great leaders who are still doing amazing things post-politics. They clearly have really good taste in restaurants, too,” he said. While Embla’s known as a wine bar those with “slightly weird” tastes, the Obamas apparently stuck to sophisticated classics. Barack apparently opted for a vodka martini, meanwhile Michelle enjoyed a crisp glass of wine. Embla shared their A-list attendees during an Instagram Post writing: “A secret service of our own last night.”
Relaxed seaside nourishment . Balmoral, Sydney
One of Barack and Michelle’s Obama’s first culinary stops down under included a spot of lunch at Sydney icon Bather’s Pavilion. After swinging by Kiribilli House for a chat with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the Obama’s reportedly made their way to Collins Flat Beach, north of Sydney City, before checking out Balmoral and dining at Bather’s.
Boasting an unrivalled waterfront location overlooking Balmoral Beach, the Art Deco-designed venue offers award-winning food, hand-picked international wine lists … and all the good coastal vibes, across three aesthetic destinations. From elegant yet unfussy dishes such as line caught coral trout at the Pavilion Restaurant, casual beach classics including battered ling fillets with hand cut chips at the Bather’s Bistro, and even the Asian fusion dishes of chicken & prawn coconut curry — there’s truly something for everyone, including a former US President and First Lady.
Japanese cafe and concept store. Collingwood, Melbourne.
@larry_leong Spotted in Melbourne this morning at CIBI cafe. This was taken by my friend Elesha Yan… I was at work and missed him 😭😭😭 #harrystyles #harrystylesmelbourne #harrystyleloveontour #harrystyleslot #cibicafe #collingwood #melbourne ♬ original sound – Larry Leong
Harry Styles is a Collingwood coffee boy. The man who singlehandedly led to the sell-out of feather boas across Melbourne during his ‘Love on Tour’ (real talk) performance was spotted sipping coffee and perusing the wares at CIBI in February. The Japanese concept store has been around for more than 15 years, selling artisan utensils and homewares — amongst its crowd-favourite coffee and signature Japanese breakfast platters.
During his downtime outing, Styles was stylishly seen wearing a matching orange-and-brown geometric set — think pyjamacore — while styling his hair in a man bun, atypical of artsy residents living across the river. After his incognito visit, CIBI shared to their Instagram Stories their preferred music that day — which of course was a homage to the Brit pop-star. As It Was, folks. Aside from his coffee date, Style also visited another Melbourne ace — Australia’s premier golf course, Royal Melbourne in Black Rock.
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Late-night boogying hotspot. Prahran, Melbourne.
Dua Lipa concluded her Australia/New Zealand tour last October with an absolute Melbourne bang. A wild —and fashion-fused — night out at Chapel Street institution, Electric Bar. Wearing a fishnet dress with Patrick Star nipple pasties, the pop princess shared a slew of images to Instagram of her partying at a Jean Paul Gaultier X ChaChá event hosted by the Prahran party favourite. Gloriously, the queen of pop’s parents and sister also joined her for a late-night boogie at the ’70s-styled venue alongside her Future Nostalgia world tour crew.
Hope St Radio
Banging Italian, banging beats. Collingwood, Melbourne.
Dua Lipa joined local tour guide and fellow hit-maker Troye Sivan for a little tasting tour of Melbourne. According to the Herald Sun, the pair were spotted enjoying some “natural Spanish wine” and fresh focaccia at Collingwood’s wholesomely chic Hope St Radio restaurant and bar. Lipa appeared to be happy taking photos with fans at the venue’s courtyard, with sources describing her to the outlet as “super warm” and “kind.” What was once — and still is — a community radio station for the cool kids, Hope St went through a transformation when it opened a canteen-styler diner at much-loved community precinct, Collingwood Yards.
Helmed by head chef Ellie Bouhadana (of Ellie’s Table pop-ups), Hope St Radio features an ever-rotating menu which heroes family-style pastas, nourishing focaccia — honestly, the whipped garlic-and-tarragon butter is heaven — and some of the most under-the-radar pet nats to impress those artsy mates of yours. Dua also reportedly attended iconic wine bar, Carlton Wine Room (of similar neighbourly vibes), with Sivan and his family that day.
This story appears in issue 01 of Esquire Australia, on sale now.