Peeking around the corner from Chinatown’s bustle doesn’t do it 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.
None of these pleasures are readily apparent from either end of this narrow alley. Its high, brick walls only reveal their secrets to you when you turn the corner into Tattersalls Lane.
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!
Another timeless Melbourne favourite tucked down Tattersalls Lane is Gaylord Indian Restaurant. From countless locals to Indian stars including cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar, lovers of Subcontinental flavours have given their tried-and-true stamp of approval. It’s always good value, whether you’re popping in for a lunch-break thali or indulging in a dinner banquet.
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.