Melbourne is famous for its lanes, but some have barely begun to be appreciated. Thanks to City of Melbourne’s in-the-know Visitor Services staff and volunteers, here are more cool little streets and their hottest spots to discover. For more inside tips, seek out their friendly team at various locations around the city or head to our new Melbourne Town Hall visitor hub for more information.
A little laneway with a whole lot of foodie goodness, Equitable Place satisfies, whether you’re craving healthy or comfort food. Highlights include the Brazilian bites at B’Cos, like the 16-hour slow-cooked pork dish, Porco Assado. Try traditional Thai street food, a lot of it under $10, from the Melbourne outpost of Sydney’s super-popular Dodee Paidang. How about 11 Inch Pizza’s circles of gourmet deliciousness – including dessert pizzas!
Find early morning to late afternoon cafes include Fugazza, which brings Italian authenticity to daytime meals and treats, from espresso to focaccia. At Cafenatics coffee is king, but food like baguette sandwiches and roti wraps also get the royal treatment. And Seedling Cafe is a temple to nutritious, delicious food that’s paleo-inspired and 100% gluten free.
Take a break from the foodie frenzy by gazing at Continuous Moment: Mutual Life, Platform Hero Billboard. This public artwork by Damiano Bertoli recontextualises fragments saved from the grand facade of the Equitable Life Assurance Society building, demolished in 1959.
This thoroughfare in the CBD’s legal and financial district has been completely made over with sleek, modern lines. The mall-meets-laneway contemporary shopping and dining experience includes Italian eatery Lt Osteria. From the morning or afternoon coffee run to a quick lunch for one or long lunch with workmates, they’ve got you covered.
Treat yourself at Laurent Boulangerie Patisserie, which has a tempting display of French-style bread, cakes and pastries. Then treat yourself again at Little Cupcakes, where 20 different kinds of petite perfection awaits, including red velvet and dark chocolate.
This classic little cobblestone laneway is overshadowed by its more famous neighbours, ACDC Lane and Duckboard Place. But what treasures await for anyone who takes the path less travelled. Like Coda Bar & Restaurant, where renowned chef Adam D’Sylva explores the flavours of Asia with innovation and style. Or feel the buzz of an Asian street-food market at Lucy Liu’s Kitchen & Bar, where lively bites, drinks and conversation rule. Then recover after a big night with a big Columbian breakfast at Cento Mani, hidden in plain sight on the corner.
In a New York state of mind? Imagine yourself in a Big Apple diner at Bowery to Williamsburg, which does classics like pastrami on rye sandwiches and bagels. On the corner of Oliver Lane and Flinders Street, kick back at The Duke Of Wellington. Melbourne’s oldest pub has just emerged from a schmick ground-floor-to-rooftop makeover, with smart drinks and food to match.
A bridge between Chinatown and Bourke Street’s mixed bag, Market Lane takes you from fine Cantonese cuisine to Bavarian beer and schnitzel. If you’re looking for the latter, there’s nowhere better than Hofbrauhaus Restaurant. They’ve been turning on traditional German good times since 1968.
As for quality Cantonese, Flower Drum Restaurant has been offering the best in town since 1975, with impeccable service to match. For a more casual, affordable take on traditional Chinese food, hit Hutong Dumpling Bar. Stuff yourself with their little bundles of joy, from bao to wanton and, of course, dumplings.
OK, so this street’s not a laneway, either in name or feel, but hear us out! In July, a bunch of shops on Therry Street relocated to Victoria Street, whose shops back onto the Queen Victoria Market. It’s here you’ll get that pedestrian laneway feel, with the shops on one side and the market’s heritage sheds on the other.
The relocated retailers include destinations to make your life more beautiful. Like the legendary Books For Cooks, which has more than 40,000 old and new titles in stock that make salivating reading. Folia House is the place to go for indoor plants, as well as vases, pots and planters. Get yourself to Pussycat Black right meow if you’re looking for independent Australian fashion. This store stocks labels like Kuwaii and Lois Hazel, plus emerging designers. Another indie label is just a few doors down: Wendy Voon Knits is both atelier and retailer for timeless womenswear.
Keep exploring with Melbourne laneways you’ve never heard of – part 1!