Suzuki Night Market @ Queen Victoria Market
Am I the only one who feels just a little sordid and used every time I'm forced to repeat a corporate sponsor's name? Clearly, the Queen Vic has been well compensated for attaching Suzuki's name to its night market, but I'm not on their payroll, so I'll follow the example of most Melburnians and call it simply the Queen Vic Night Market.
Anyway, despite its undignified official name, the night market has steadily worked its way into the public's affections. Many would even call it a "Melbourne Institution". You know that summer's just around the corner when the Queen Vic Night Market begins its run and sure enough, the opening night of the 2010-2011 season was bathed in glorious sunshine. I went along to check it out.
Queen Victoria Night MarketView from outside.
The night market tends to attract a slightly younger crowd than the regular daytime event. The appeal might lie in the availability of alcohol, the free live music or just the minor illicit thrill of shopping here outside of normal hours, but whatever the draw, it's certainly a lively affair.
The Queen Vic Market has always excelled with its food. During the day, it's the superb fresh produce that pulls in the crowds, but at night, it's all about the take-away food stalls. This isn't the place to come for fine dining, but what it lacks in finesse, it more than compensates with variety: Korean, Mexican, Spanish, Moroccan and, of course, Australian - you'll find something for everyone here. There are dishes from pretty much every continent on the planet.
When queuing at the main row of food stalls, take a look at the wall in front of you (the one inlaid with arches of lighter-coloured brick). That's the north wall of the old cemetery, which once occupied this spot. While enjoying your meal, you may like to contemplate the 9000 corpses that still remain here, buried beneath your feet. Seriously, guys, has no one seen what happens in Poltergeist???
Queen Victoria Night MarketView from inside, facing the old cemetery wall.
The Queen Vic Market has never been the best place for really classy shopping. Sure, there are always a few interesting stalls run by independent designers, but they're usually outnumbered by the places selling cheap sunglasses and novelty T-shirts. The night market still has a much higher proportion of quality stalls than the regular daytime market, but I suspect the standard has slipped just a little. It could be my faulty memory, but I don't remember quite so many tie-dye dresses last year.
Nitpicking about the quality of merchandise at the Queen Vic Night Market is rather missing the point though. Ultimately, people come here for the atmosphere and the sense of occasion. It's a great place to meet friends, buy a few trinkets you don't really need, grab some cheap food and wine, then settle down in front of a band.
So get down there soon, marinate yourself in that barbeque smoke and say g'day to summer.
The Queen Vic Night Market runs 5.30pm-10pm every Wednesday night until 2 March 2011, except 29 December 2010. You'll find it at the corner of Queen St and Therry St, just north of the city centre.
| Discover Melbourne's secrets with our Melbourne Guidemap. |
Buy today for just $12.95 with free worldwide delivery.