Port Melbourne

Port Melbourne is a strange place. Apart from confusingly not being home to hundreds of shipping containers, anyone over 25 will tell you that, not so long ago, it was a real gritty working-class suburb. But you wouldn't know that now, with all the gleaming bay frontage apartment blocks, multi-storey Victorian renovations and fancy European cars around.
From a map it's not hard to see why things have changed; residents of the town formerly known as Sandridge enjoy the unique combination of beach-side living and a 10 minute tram-ride into the city. However despite the astronomical property prices, Port Melbourne conspicuously lacks the hard-earned cool of other well-to-do inner-city suburbs such as Fitzroy, St Kilda and Carlton.

Those places have gentrified much more slowly; their bohemian bars and restaurants got a foothold before rents sky-rocketed, and existing businesses have adapted gradually to the changing social profile (and pocket) of their clientèle. Also, they don't have to fit the twice-daily, fog-horn signalled, arrival of a dirty great ferry into their identities.
Not that the local business association is ready to admit it. Reading the introduction from the glossy 'Your Guide to Port Melbourne' pamphlet, you could be forgiven for thinking they're describing somewhere else entirely: "Port Melbourne is Melbourne's coolest new hub of urban culture, style and cuisine, combining all the sophistication and excitement of the city, with a relaxed beachside vibe."
This site exists as a slightly less rose-tinted guide to the suburb, offering one cat's eye view of the best (and worst) of Port Melbourne, in the hope of encouraging a little more diverse culture and perhaps a little less conformity...