A vibrant hotspot loved by tourists and locals alike, Degraves Street is a quintessential Melbourne laneway.
Here, you will find many things the locals hold dear: street art, year-round alfresco dining, quirky boutiques and a buzzing atmosphere.
Take some time to explore the explosion of tiny shops, hole-in-the wall cafes and European-style restaurants crammed along its hundred-metre length. Here are five things you need to know for your next visit.
Why it’s called Degraves Street
The street is named after pioneering merchants William and Charles Degraves who built a steam-driven flour mill on the site in 1851. The Degraves underpass (Campbell Arcade) was then built in 1955, connecting Flinders Street station seamlessly to the laneway itself. Take a quick detour into its subterranean depths and discover an abundance of off-beat shops and artworks.
An emporium of 3pm treats, Waffle On is conveniently located if you’ve got a sugar itch. Located at the entrance to Campbell Arcade, try its famous warm waffles with toppings including Nutella, ice-cream and strawberries.
For a return to childhood, pick up a tasty morsel from Little Cupcakes – and bring a few boxes back to the office to be the instant favourite.
Coffee, glorious coffee
There’s certainly no shortage of coffee along Degraves Street. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a shop that doesn’t serve up any sort of caffeinated drink. Degraves Espresso, one of the longest-serving cafes in the laneway, is a sure bet. Its outside Parisian-style tables, with heaters for the colder weather, are busy all year round. Newer kid on the block is Tulip Coffee, which crafts flat whites and the like from locally-roasted beans and serves fresh pastries.
Restaurants and eateries
RMB Café Bar is a reliable all-day dining option. Its breakfasts, including Spanish eggs and pancakes with a variety of choose-your-own toppings, will help put a spring in your step.
Organic, vegetarian and vegan food has a home at The Organic Food and Wine Deli. Gluten-free, wheat-free and other dietary-friendly lunch options include pies, soups, sandwiches and salads.
If you’re looking for a spot of dinner, try The Quarter or Il Tempo for something more substantial or head to Metro Burgers, a hole-in-the-wall cafe with a vintage, American diner-style interior. The Metro Supreme, with a beef patty, tomato relish, cooked onion, grilled pineapple, cheese, balsamic glaze, lettuce, tomato and pickles, is a good place to start. Or, enjoy chicken teriyaki, veggie curry or crispy katsu don and other Japanese fare at Yuzu At Degraves.
Home to handmade Victorian produce and products, everything in Clementine’s is charmingly local. Street-bag brand Crumpler is a tourist must-visit, while you can pick up vintage-style leather journals and stationary at Il Papiro.
Other shops to add to the hit-list include jeweller Sine Qua Non and just opened first Australian store for John Fluvog Shoes.
Hidden street art tour
A new app allows visitors to take an augmented reality tour through Degraves Street and surrounds, highlighting some of the stunning art that’s adorned this iconic Melbourne precinct. Much of the art is located out in the open, so it’s the perfect option for post-work strolling! Pop in to the visitor hub at Town Hall to grab a map and see the past, present and future of Flinders Quarter unfold before you.
Around the corner on Flinders Street…
One of Melbourne’s original vintage stores established in the 1980s, Out of the Closet offers ‘A’ grade quality vintage clothing and accessories, at affordable and competitive prices. Sourcing internationally, they also sell vinyl records
City Hatters is worth a look whether you’re a mad on hats or not – it’s been covering the heads of Melburnians from its shop beneath the Flinders Street Station clocks since 1910.
One of Melbourne’s most iconic watering holes, Young and Jackson is over 150 years old and still going strong. Their weekday $15 parma lunch special (12-2pm in the public bar) will keep the wolves from the door while their pre-theatre dining deal (wine or beer, main course and sweet treat for $34) is great value meal just a stone’s throw from Melbourne’s arts precinct.