Melbourne is a city famous for its nooks and crannies. From a bar inside a wardrobe to an underground cheese cellar, here’s how to find them all.
The pinball bar behind a bookshelf
Imagine yourself in a kooky mystery novel at Island Somewhere bar. In-the-know patrons give one of the bookshelves a push to reveal a winding staircase in a secret passage, leading up to Pinball Paradise. As Australia’s first dedicated pinball bar, it offers plenty of machines both old and new.
The swamp room behind Bar Ampere
Another surprise is the Swamp Room, where bayou decor and American tipples transport Melbourne punters to the Deep South. Bar Ampere’s mysterious back room – complete with fairy lights and suspended ceiling plants – is a great spot for cool kids in the know.
The Nicholas Building’s treasure trove of ephemera
The Nicholas Building adds endlessly to Melbourne’s reputation for hidden spaces. It’s home to lots of eclectic little studios and small businesses, including Harold & Maude. Victoriana meets Victorian Gothic in this unique boutique of found objects and upcycled wares. You won’t find them on social media – so visiting in person is the only option.
Trinket’s Narnia bar
The main bar on Trinket’s street level is all bright, sleek, vintage-inspired glamour. In the basement is another, more dimly lit spot made for secret rendezvous. How do you get there? Follow the lead of those young adventurers in Narnia and open the wardrobe. Push back the clothes, head down the stairs and discover cocktail treats as sweet as Turkish delight.
The underground cheese cellar
If you’re seeking gourmet goodness, follow Spring Street Grocer’s neon cheese sign down a spiral staircase. Behold! A white-tiled basement temple of cheese sourced from around the world and stored in strict fromage friendly conditions. From brie to blue, your heart’s desire awaits at Spring Street Cheese Cellar.
Carlton’s hidden coffee roaster
In a hidden alley behind a petrol station, Vertue Coffee Roasters used to have a name even more obscure than its location. Inspired by a handbill promoting London’s first coffee house, it began as The Vertue Of The Coffee Drink. A micro-roaster, cafe, kitchen and retailer, they take their coffee very seriously.
The car park from Mad Max
A couple of blocks away at the University of Melbourne, explore the car park hidden under South Lawn. Built in the early 1970s, its network of pillars is like an orderly forest of concrete mushrooms. An amazing architectural feat, this space was a location for the original Mad Max movie.
Touch, feel and grab the camera at this one-of-a-kind art gallery in Docklands. ArtVo is the ultimate trick art spot, home to a collection of over 80 hand painted immersive artworks. Kids young and old will love the different zones where viewers become the art.
The laneway you’ve never heard of
Guildford Lane is one of Melbourne’s lesser known laneways – but one of its most intriguing. This rare example of the city’s industrial heritage is a little different than it used to be. A recent Green your Laneway makeover introduced greenery and a man-versus-nature mural by Mike Makatron. There’s no shortage of hidden cafes, either. Like Krimper, the vintage-industrial spot built in a former sawmill. There’s also the quirky Cat Cafe Melbourne, the perfect spot for a very Melbourne first date.