Peeking around the corner from Chinatown’s bustle doesn’t do Tattersalls Lane justice. You need to stroll this narrow alleyway to discover its treasures, from Asian eateries to cool bars and street art.
Running between Little Bourke and Lonsdale streets, this lane was named after the Tattersalls Hotel and Tattersalls Club during Melbourne’s early days. When Chinese migrants began to gather in this district during the 1850s Gold Rush, it became part of Chinatown.
Today, Tattersalls Lane is a transition zone between the northern CBD and Chinatown. You might hear Chinese opera drifting from a long-established migrant society premises on your way to one of Melbourne’s oldest dumpling houses. The Asian eateries have been joined by a couple of bars lately, and it’s become one the city’s best street-art destinations.
Where to eat
A Melbourne institution, Shanghai Dumpling House has been cooking up northern Chinese classics for decades. Best known for its many kinds of dumplings, this cheap and cheerful place also does great noodles and soups. Whether it’s a big feed on a budget or a quick bite between bars, you’re sorted. Bonus – get yourself some free, bottomless Chinese tea from the huge steel urn!
If spicy soup is more your style, Xialong Kan has a hot pot with your name on it. With a seemingly endless list of ingredients (ranging from quail eggs to bean curd and pork belly), their menu even comes complete with suggested cooking times for each additional delicious offering. Pick from sichuan, tomato, bone or beef broth soup to start and then let your tastebuds lead the way!
Where to drink
When a little Chinatown parking lot was transformed into Section 8 Bar in 2007, Tattersalls Lane got instant street cred. Instead of heading elsewhere after curry or dumplings, folks kicked on at this alfresco watering hole. With a shipping-container bar, wooden pallets for seating, potted plants, colourful party lights and an ever-changing gallery of street art, it’s raw. And that’s what makes this permanent pop-up bar so good.
Indoor sister venue Ferdydurke is next door, making it a perfect alternative to Section 8 if the weather turns cold or wet. It’s a destination bar in its own right though, with crafty cocktails and satisfying bar snacks like hot dogs and Polish dumplings. The entrance is unassuming, there are stairs to climb and the space is cosy, with lots of raw timber and brick. A classic Melbourne bar in other words.
What to do
Time spent in Tattersalls Lane is pretty versatile – you can eat, drink or eat AND drink. If you want an expert to let you in on the best way to combine food and drinks, the Tip Top Tours Buzzing Bar walk kicks off in Tattersalls Lane and shows you all the behind the scenes treats.
If you wake up the next day with a food baby that won’t quit, head straight back in for a session at F45 Chinatown, where all that extra energy will be put to good use.
Want more Chinatown fun? Explore all there is to see, do, eat and drink with our guide to essential Chinatown experiences.