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Postcards: Melbourne, Australia & Long Beach, California

For our regular series, we ask creative professionals around the globe to introduce us to the cities they are based. Focusing on city secrets and neighbourhoods under transformation, we’ve reached out to those in the know to lend some generous guidance to unsuspecting visitors

Long Beach, California

Tommy Kerns, Small Business Owner

Tommy Kerns is a fashion consultant and independent shop owner working out of the East Arts Village of Long Beach, California. His store, ButterScotch, is a fashion and lifestyle hub for those who share a passion for good times, great coffee and quality, heritage-forward fashion.

What is Long Beach’s best kept secret…that you’re willing to share?

Now, the first rule of keeping secrets? Don’t tell anyone. Pretty sure that’s how this whole thing works. But the obvious answer is the shop: ButterScotch may only be in its infancy but it’s on the up and coming. Aside from that, there’s good friends at Snake Oil Provisions [boutique menswear shop specialising in ‘working classics’] and [upcoming sister shop] Snake Eyes Society right around the corner, so it’s a win-win if you come down to visit.

What’s a bar or restaurant (or coffee shop, or all three) that best captures the spirit of LBC?

Man, now that’s a tough one. Truly, Long Beach has a pretty great spread of eateries, coffee shops, and good times. Each space is unique as the mom and pop running it. That’s why it’s such a hard call. Commodity really comes through with the coffee, The Blind Donkey has all the whisky you could ever need, and Snake Oil Provisions provides a truly unique shopping experience. But the list could go on: There’s Restauration for all things seasonal, locally-sourced and responsibly-grown, and then there’s Taste for some killer wine pairings. So many of these places are the heart and souls of the people who own and run them. From one small business owner to another I get it and I respect it.

What’s a neighbourhood that’s transforming for the better?

Honestly, Long Beach in general is on the transformation. I have been here in my little nook of LBC East Arts Village for 8 years, and the transformation has been slow, but over the past 3 years alone a lot has changed. You asked me the best kept secret just now and that might just be it: This isn’t the same LBC as it once was 5 to 10 years ago…but you didn’t hear that from me…I’m no snitch.

When is the best time to visit?

Never not a good time to visit. Not to sound smug, and I never take it for granted, but I’m sitting in a cafe sipping coffee after just taking an hour ride on my Triumph while the rest of the United States is being pounded with cold and snow. Honestly, this is a place where it’s always summer. Even on our “cold” days.

What is a tourist trap to avoid? And what is the essential alternative?

Let’s just say this: If it looks like a chain or a “big box” brand then that might be your red flag. In the words of Star Wars “it’s a trap!” As for an alternative, walk into a local mom and pop shop and get some references of places to see and things to do. That’s the awesome thing about LBC: We’re a community. Something that just doesn’t exist in a lot of places anymore. We are a collective of people chasing our dreams and supporting others on the journey. Walk into a shop, ask questions, explore, and find the next little gem of a place you might just fall in love with. I’ll guarantee you’ll meet some great people and shop keeps along the way.

Melbourne, Australia

Jets Langland, Marketing Manager for La Marzocco

Originally from New Zealand and having “done her time” in London. Jets can now be found weaving through Melbourne’s laneways for La Marzocco, Australia.

What keeps you based in Melbourne?

The people, the culture, the open spaces, having lived in Europe several times and being from New Zealand I like the perfect mix of down to earth people and easy lifestyle, with the restaurants, culture and nightlife of a city.  I travel a lot for work both nationally and internationally and always find myself breathing a sigh of relief when I land back in Melbourne. Also you just can’t beat the skies here any time of the year, they’re huge, and breathtaking.

What is Melbourne’s best kept secret…that you’re willing to share?

I feel like this secret isn’t specific to Melbourne only, but in Melbourne it truly pays to look up.  This is one of my favourite pastimes, as each building facade holds within it many secret lives and stories passed.  You never know where you may be standing and what history you could stumble upon.

What’s a restaurant or bar that best captures the spirit of Melbourne?

Joes Shoe Store in Northcote – a bar in you guessed it, an old shoe store.  It’s long, narrow and has a beautiful wooden bar running the entire length of it, serving classic cocktails and an ever rotating delicious wine list.  There‘s always a classic vinyl spinning on the turntable and you can order food from Pizza Meine Liebe next door to be delivered to your table. I have spent many a day and night in their huge garden space.  This is truly what our community is like here in Melbourne, warm, inviting and hard to leave.

What’s a neighbourhood that’s transforming for the better?

Footscray – It’s just 10 minutes on the train west from the CBD and has always been an incredible mix of cultures and characters.  It has some of the best African & Vietnamese food in the city alongside Italian bakeries that have been trading since the 50s. Recently, with rising rent prices and apartments overtaking the traditionally popular inner city neighbourhoods Footscray is developing a very cool bar and restaurant scene, west is definitely best.

When is the best time to visit?

Autumn, namely the colours, an afternoon spent cycling through one of the many beautiful parks that surround the city.  Then finding yourself wandering through the laneways jumping between the many secreted away bars to listen to live music and drink and dance the night away.

What does the future hold for Melbourne?

The population is growing rapidly, the city scape is changing and with it comes fresh people, ideas and life.  I feel like the Melbourne we know now has always been shaped by the people who have chosen to call it home and with this new and ever increasing population we can only expect a new Melbourne. If I love the old Melbourne and who and what has shaped it I can only look forward in anticipation and awe at what future Melbourne has in store for us.

Words by Will Halbert and Thomas Sumner
Image Credits by Sterling Reed