Melbourne is known (and loved) for its magical laneways. Venture down many of them and you’ll discover the city’s best restaurants, bars and street art. The city’s planners never intended for these thoroughfares to hold their own charm, and so unlike the main streets of Melbourne, they have evolved independently and organically. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite laneways in Melbourne, read about them below!
We’re in Hosier Lane, by far one of the most popular Laneways in Melbourne. Located just across from Federation square, Hosier Lane is a perfect showcase of Melbourne’s street art culture; Don’t be surprised if you come across an artist working on something new. You’ll also find a couple of venues, including a MoVida – a Spanish tapas bar – and Bar Tini – a Spanish cocktail bar. The most striking piece of street art is perched high above on a building’s facade. It’s a colourful depiction of an indigenous boy is by Melbourne based artist, Adnate.
Not far from Hosier Lane is Degraves Street, Melbourne’s most iconic cafe laneway. This laneway is often described as having a Parisian or European flavour because of the art deco buildings and café canopies. Named after Charles and William Degraves, they were pioneer merchants from Hobart who built a flour mill at the corner of Flinder’s Lane and Degraves Street in 1849. Degraves St houses the entrance to the Flinder St Station Subway, and is also home to several great venues, including Pidapipó and Il Tempo Pizza.
Visiting a cafe in Degraves St can be worthwhile, but it is nowhere near the pinnacle of the Melbourne cafe scene. There are much better meals to be had.
Just across from Degraves St, is Centre Place, a laneway as quirky as those from Harry Potter. Centre Place is home to many cafes, a couple of bars and Shandong Mama Mini – a great little dumpling place. Centre Place was one of the first laneways in Melbourne to be revamped by the city council in the 1980’s. You really can’t visit Melbourne without exploring this laneway.
Meyer’s Place is probably our favourite laneway in Melbourne. Originally named Nicolas Lane, Meyer’s Place is now home to some of the CBD’s best venues. These include San Telmo, Loop Roof, and Pizza Pizza Pizza. Pizza might not look like much, but it’s hiding an awesome secret – I won’t say any more!
Meyer’s Place has also been selected as one of the leading laneways for Melbourne’s ‘Green Your Laneways’ campaign. This means it is now home to a beautiful wall garden that hangs off Loop Bar.
Spanning from Bourke St to Little Lonsdale St (that’s long), is Hardware Lane. Home to countless restaurants, this lane has a very distinct European feel and features unique red brick paving. The land was formerly occupied by Kirk’s Horse Bazaar built in the 1840’s, but it’s residence now include Kirk’s Wine Bar, Campari House and Rice Paper Sisters. It is a popular laneway for dinner, and most of the restaurants will have a spruiker out front, doing their best to win your service. Feel free to haggle with them to get a good deal – they’ll often throw in free drinks.
Named (unsurpringly) after Australia’s greatest rock band, AC/DC Lane is a laneway filled with character. Home to The Cherry Bar, Pastuso and Garden State Hotel, it is a laneway brimming with activity. The walls are covered with some very impressive street art, including a tribute to AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young. Keep walking around and with a curious eye you’ll be able to find two stencils by infamous street artist Bansky. AC/DC lane is best explored during the day, when you’re able to see it all.