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Secret Sanctuaries

Updated: Mar 7

During our precious few warmer months, Melbournians embrace outdoor dining wherever possible. In Glenferrie Hawthorn, there are obvious on-street options such as: Santoni Pizza & Bar, Viet Star, Grill'd, Osteria 20, Rococo and St-Germain Wine Bar that offer an al fresco experience, ideal for people-watching and feeling connected to the bustling main street. But behind some of Glenferrie’s facades, a slew of hidden, cosy outdoor spots are awaiting discovery for seekers of a more secluded meal, coffee, dessert or wine catch-up.

LE CLEC, 727 Glenferrie Rd

French-style café, Le Clec contains one of the most spacious covered-courtyard dining rooms in Glenferrie Road. The ceiling slats allow scattered natural light without saturating the space with glaring UV, and their monstera plants add a real outdoorsy flair. Nothing in here feels cramped or overstuffed, making it ideal for a group to comfortably spread out or an intimate catch up.


Wine specialists, Small Patch nail the right atmosphere with low-level background music and an enclosed courtyard. Decked out with shade umbrellas, they allow just enough sunshine to keep the space warm without baking their customers. Located at the end of the long walkway, you feel you are leaving the hustle and bustle of Glenferrie Road far behind while you enjoy your post-work wine-time.

LAURENT BAKERY, 703 Glenferrie Rd

Laurent's secret-hideaway courtyard is idealic for relaxed, free-flowing conversation over a coffee. It's a place where all the noise of nearby Glenferrie Road just drops away. Its featured central shelter is flanked by open-air seating spots, and even on hot days, there is still plenty of shade to be found without compromising on fresh air or sky views.

NEVERMIND BAR, 336 Burwood Rd

Not being a corner pub, Nevermind had to get clever with their interior to bring in a little exterior charm. The appropriately dark and retro front bar leads to a mezzanine level, where dappled natural light permiates a sizeable terrace. Attracting a younger crowd, this enclosed patch comes alive after 8pm with comedy, bingo, trivia, karaoke and live DJs. Ideal for the shy and reserved to sing and dance without fear of being on public display.

MOTOR, 735 Glenferrie Rd

Motor boasts a roadside courtyard cleverly ‘hidden’ behind an actual white-picket fence, forming that all-important barrier between street and inner sanctum. In the shade of two prominent early 20th-century buildings with decorative hedging, this courtyard invites you to escape into a more relaxed bygone era.

Further secluded al fresco experiences to explore include: Fonda Mexican Hawthorn (651 Glenferrie Rd), Vaporetto Bar & Eatery (7/681 Glenferrie Rd), De Barcelona (710 Glenferrie Rd), Cocolo (717 Glenferrie Rd), Nini’s Hawthorn (302 Burwood Rd), Glenferrie Hotel (324 Burwood Rd), Amazon State Restaurant (329 Burwood Rd) and The Hawthorn Hotel (481 Burwood Rd).

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