There is nothing better than being shown around a place by a local – the best places to eat, to shop, to get a coffee, to find a hidden gem. And for somewhere like Melbourne, you could walk straight past many of these without some insider knowledge.
Fortunately for me, I have a dear friend who lives in the city and for whom Melbourne’s laneways are her backyard. To start in Degraves Street (stopping for a bagel and a coffee), popping onto Flinders Lane and cutting through to Collins Street, then past Haigh’s Chocolates, into the Block Arcade, calling in at boutique t-shirt or a jewellery store, into the Royal Arcade for a macaroon and then arriving on the steps of the old GPO – now the clothing Mecca of H&M – is all in a short stroll for this Melbournite.
Now, I have been to Melbourne several times before and knew of the lovely little laneways. However, the diversity of incredible bars, boutiques and restaurants that exist in these streets blew me away. Here are photos from some of my favourites…
CHUCKLE PARK, Little Collins Street – http://www.chucklepark.com.au/ – cocktail jars and yummy bar food. Absolutely love the quirky mason jars, striped awning and fake grass. Great spot for a mid-afternoon refreshment or an easy lunch stop while shopping.
FALL FROM GRACE, Collins Street – http://www.stateofgracemelbourne.com.au/ – hidden away in the cellar below restaurant State of Grace, gaining entry to this groovy cocktail bar is as much of the experience as actually being there. Take pot luck at which hardback on the bookcase is the key to opening a secret doorways – or else stand back and wait for someone to come out!
HOSIER LANE, off Flinders Street – amazing street art and home to Movida tapas bar – http://movida.com.au/. I had literally walked past this lane way ten times and never noticed it until my most recent visit to Melbourne!
EAU DE VIE, Malthouse Lane – http://www.eaudevie.com.au/Melbourne/ – part jazz club, part speakeasy, and with more whisky and smoking cocktails than I have ever seen in one place. It’s olde worlde, it’s cozy and it’s bloody hard to find! Hidden at the end of an unlit lane behind a non-descript wharehouse-like door and with zero signage, you have to know where you are going to find this gem.
HARDWARE LANE – For a relaxed lunch in the sunshine, head to Hardware Lane. Great range of restaurants suiting all tastes and budgets.
The city’s unofficial tourism slogan is to “Lose Yourself in Melbourne” and once you enter these narrow streets you can understand why. I’ve barely scratched the surface here!
For a full list of the laneways, what is unique to each of them and how to get there, check out this website: http://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/melbourne-laneways#.VFW2tTSUddU
Special thanks also to my good friend and fellow blogger Life Is Short. Eat Hard! for being my personal tour guide around the streets of Melbourne.