Evan Evagora’s Melbourne
The Star Trek: Picard actor delights in his hometown Down Under.
By Maria Neuman
When actor Evan Evagora moved across the Pacific Ocean from Melbourne to Los Angeles for CBS All Access original series Star Trek: Picard, he wasn't exactly prepared for life in Southern California. "The weather is similar," says Evagora, who plays Romulan refugee Elnor on the critically acclaimed series. "But I'm not used to the sheer size of everything, like the massive freeways, and the little earthquakes—that was a total shock."
Equally shocking for Evagora were the devastating bushfires that impacted Melbourne and its surrounding area in January. "The air was terrible; it was hard to breathe. And I have family friends in [outlying Victoria] whose entire town was destroyed, and they have to rebuild," he says. "But it has been great to see people donating and the overwhelming international support." Here, Evagora shares tips on how to spend the days (and late nights) in the city affectionately dubbed "The Europe of Australia." "Sydney may have the beaches," explains Evagora, "but Melbourne has everything else."
Post A Perfect Picture
Photo Credit: ymgerman/Getty Images.
If you want to take an authentic selfie, go to Hosier Lane in the Central Business District and walk around. It's one of the most Instagrammable parts of the city, as there is amazing street art and graffiti lanes where both international and local artists come and put up their work.
Ogle Some Artwork
Photo Credit: Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat & Keith Haring Foundation.
The National Gallery of Victoria is definitely worth a visit. They have amazing exhibitions, and a lot of them are interactive, which is great if you are going with kids. They had an exhibit by Salvador Dalí, who is my personal favorite, in 2009, but there have also been recent exhibits by Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The building is incredible, so there's always something to see.
Photo Credit: Zoya_Avenirovna/Getty Images.
I love running. If you want to get active and have a great view, go for a run around the Royal Botanic Gardens. It's a runner's dream come true: There's a great track and beautiful scenery, but you're still in the middle of the city, so it's a great way to see the sights.
Photo Credit: Marco Fink.
Any pub is a slice of Australian culture. Whenever I go back for a visit, I always make sure to meet some mates at a pub for a drink and a cheap meal. I'll usually drink a Victoria Bitter on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. For cocktails, I like Naked for Satan (above)—I won't give away the story behind the name, but it has to do with Prohibition. For quiet cocktails and a great view, I'd suggest Blue Diamond, which is [a penthouse bar] in the middle of the city.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mr. Miyagi.
Melbourne is a multicultural city, so there are tons of interesting food options. If you want Vietnamese food or dumplings, go to an area called Fitzroy, which has tons of eateries and they are all good. Whenever I'm in town, I go to Mr. Miyagi on Chapel Street—they do an amazing broccoli tempura, and I am obsessed with it.
Savor a Sweet Souvenir
Photo Credit: Ashok Rodrigues/Getty Images.
Take home Tim Tam biscuits, and bring some back for me! They are the most delicious chocolate biscuits. I'll have a whole box sent over [by my family], and even though you can buy most stuff online, it still feels better when it comes from home.
Be A Fan
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates at the Australian Open, January 2020.
Photo Credit: Jack Thomas/Getty Images.
If you're into sports, you should check out an Australian football game, which takes place in the winter. You don't need to understand the rules to get excited by it; it's a great spectator sport. We also had the Australian Open [in January], and a lot of money from that went to bushfire-relief charities. All the sport in Melbourne happens near an area called Richmond, which has stadiums for soccer, rugby, Australian football, and tennis.
Photo Credit: Visit Roemvanitch/Getty Images.
I grew up in the north part of Melbourne and used to work at a café called Proud Mary, which is one of the top coffee spots in the whole city. They also have another coffee shop right down the street called Aunty Peg's, which is a black-coffee bar for serious connoisseurs. I spent a lot of time there when I was younger, but my true drink of choice is a simple almond milk latte or a nice cold brew when it's warm outside.
Cut A Rug
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Baroq House.
Melbourne is a big nightlife town; public transport goes all weekend, and there are great clubs if you want to have a boogie. My favorites are Pontoon in St. Kilda for dancing and drinks. Or if it's a Friday or Saturday night, I like Baroq House (above), which is in the middle of the city. It's a two- level nightclub that feels intimate, and there are great DJs. I always have a good time, and I'll be out until about 3 a.m.
Enjoy A Midnight Nosh
Photo Credit: The Pancake Parlour.
There are late-night eateries like The Pancake Parlour, which serves pancakes and cocktails—the ultimate combination at 2 a.m. There are also amazing kebab joints everywhere, and they all do a halal snack pack, which is meat, veggies, sauce, and cheese on a bed of fries—it's one of the best things I've ever eaten.
Originally published in Watch Magazine, May-June 2020.
Editor' Note: This interview took place in February, before COVID-19 took hold in the United States.
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