Eight hole-in-the-wall hotspots

In Melbourne, every nook and cranny is just waiting for a small business to make their mark. From coffee to art, cocktails to dumplings, life’s little pleasures await in these tiny boltholes.

Robot Sushi & Bar

Melbourne is famous for its pint-sized bars tucked down laneways off laneways, and one of the pioneers is Robot Sushi & Bar.  The drink list and bar snacks also look to the Land of the Rising Sun, so settle in and escape to Tokyo.

BE.AN by Workshop Brothers

Just across from one of Melbourne’s oldest pubs sits this tiny outpost for coffee, kombucha and Noisette croissants. BE.AN by Workshop Brothers is quite literally a hole in the wall – albeit a very chic one, with minimalist white appliances and scandi-style timber details. If you like the taste of their lattes you can even buy a bag of beans to take home!

A small cafe in a laneway with a woman ordering a coffee

BE.AN by Workshop Brothers

Holy Crumpets

Holy Crumpets has gone from selling their hotcakes at farmer’s markets to a new CBD crumpet cafe. Get ‘em dripping with one of six kinds of honey or other spreads like peanut butter, or savoury options including grilled taleggio. Grandma was right, crumpets are rather good, so you’ll be glad to know they’re also available un-toasted in take-home packs.

Crumpets on a plate at a cafe

Holy Crumpets

Romeo Lane

Crossley Street was called Romeo Lane in the 19th century when this pocket of the CBD was Melbourne’s red-light district. Today, behind one of the alleyway’s inconspicuous doors, is a bar named after that romantic old moniker. A cosy heritage space of whitewashed walls, sombre wood and old-school cocktails, Romeo Lane is a hidey-hole far removed from modernity’s mayhem.

Connie’s at Heartbreaker Bar

Follow the irresistible scent of pizza to the back of Heartbreaker Bar, and discover the teeny pick-up hatch of Connie’s Pizza. Named in honour of the owner’s nonna, this literal hole in the wall proves that less is more. There are five kinds of New York-style pizzas on offer, whole or by the slice, and they’re hugely satisfying.

A red neon sign that says 'Heartbreaker' on the wall of a dark bar

Heartbreaker Bar

Union Kiosk

Another little window onto deliciousness is Union Kiosk on The Causeway. They’ve got your hot-drink cravings covered, right down to milk alternatives such as soy, almond and coconut. The tiny kitchen’s tasty tucker – think soup and jaffles – also accommodates your gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian needs.

A hole in the wall which is the serving area for a cafe in a laneway

Union Kiosk

Shandong MaMa

ShanDong MaMa Dumplings, a go-to spot for Melbourne’s favourite little parcels of deliciousness, obviously likes to think small. The compact original seems like a banqueting hall compared to ShanDong MaMa Mini in Centre Place. Squeeze inside and fill up on some of the city’s best dumplings and a craft beer.

Stand Up Cafe

For coffee on the go, Stand Up Cafe makes perfect sense. Options are streamlined, but every cup is made from quality Seven Seeds beans, and there are a few petite munchies too. While you’re there, pick up a handmade moisturising and exfoliating body scrub made from coffee grounds. There’s no room for waste here.

A large black building with a small cafe on the corner

Stand Up Cafe

And if you’re looking for more, find them at Melbourne’s favourite hole-in-the-wall hotspots.