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It's always something new to discover in Melbourne's hive of bustling, creative laneways, with their covert boutiques, famed restaurants, hole-in-the-wall cafes and astonishing bars.

Bar finds

Give 'Mainstreet' a miss and head down alleyways to find walls covered with stencil work, lightboxes and sculptures that point you to the door of quirky bars. Check out Bar Americano in Presgrave Place, Section 8 in Tattersalls Lane, Croft Institute in Croft Alley and Cherry Bar in ACDC Lane. Find addresses that reveal themselves to be velvety jazz clubs and flashy wine bars, or bare-bone student hangouts and dimly-lit hideaways.

Old favourites

Never forget those tried and true laneways, favoured for their reliability. Meyers Place still hosts the eponymous bar plus no-fuss Italian amico Waiters Restaurant, while the Pellegrini's welcome to Crossley Street is an institution. Hardware Lane, Degraves Street and Centre Place are vying to feed you and ensure you look the part.

Visual arts

On the off chance that a tiny laneway isn't hiding boozy dens or caffeine lairs, you're likely to find an ever-changing outdoor gallery of street art. Check out the murals, paste-ups and stencils in the laneways off Flinders Lane between Russell Street and Swanston Street – don't miss Hosier Lane – and in Blender Lane, off Franklin Street. 

More secret art can be uncovered in the galleries that line Guildford Lane. Duck into the old red-brick furniture warehouses and printing suppliers and find lofts showcasing independent exhibitions.

Somerset preening

Menfolk who give a hoot about the cut of their jib should make their way to Somerset Place for bespoke footwear, made-to-measure attire and good grooming at Captains of Industry. Ride away with a takeaway coffee and custom wheels from The Little Mule Cafe.

Explore

City laneways

Destinations

Centre Place and Degraves Street

Idle the afternoon away by the bluestone cobbles at a Degraves Street or Centre Place cafe and become part of a Melbourne postcard scene.

Destinations

Crossley Street

There's great comfort in knowing places like Crossley Steet still exist, with the venerable Pellegrini's standing guard over quirky shops and cafes.

Destinations

Curtin House and Nicholas Building

The city's vertical laneways Curtin House and Nicholas Building each add a unique stamp to the scene with levels of boutiques, bars and eateries.

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Things to do

Laneways

6 of 13 results

Laneway dining

Turn off the main streets and into Melbourne's laneways to find some of the city's favourite eateries.

Manchester Press

Get in line to praise Manchester Press, the huge lucent laneway space where coffee reigns supreme.

Bar Americano

Knock back daytime espressos and nighttime cocktails in this standing-room only bar.

Cherry Bar

This old soul of the Melbourne rock scene was a launch-pad for local heroes Jet and Airbourne.

Hells Kitchen

Climb the stairs next to Jungle Juice and settle into a window seat in this perennial indie gem.

The Croft Institute

Kitted out with items from a de-commissioned hospital, Croft offers a clinical approach to partying.

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Eight of the best

Laneway coffee spots

Switch Board Cafe

Squeeze into the storage cupboard and experience Switchboard's unique charm as well as great coffee.

Traveller

Savour a coffee and dream about places you've been and those you're yet to discover at Traveller.

The Little Mule

You'll be surprised at how often you feel the need to return to this weirdly welcoming workshop.

Krimper

Get a dose of Australian architecture and design history alongside your Proud Mary coffee.

Dukes at Ross House

Get your coffee fix with a dose of feel-good factor from the combined forces of Dukes at Ross House.

Patricia

Stand around with a serious but simple brew. Coffee here comes three ways: black, white and filter.

Manchester Press

Get in line to praise Manchester Press, the huge lucent laneway space where coffee reigns supreme.

Operator 25

Purveyor of brunch and specialty coffee from Code Black Coffee Roasters, Operator 25 answers your call.

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Food & wine

Bars

Take an unexpected turn, duck into one of Melbourne's famed laneways, scamper up some stairs and take a tipple in a bar with a distinct personality.

48-hour itinerary: Laneways

48 hours: Laneways

Lose yourself among bars and boutiques, galleries and street art, and high-end restaurants and hole-in-the-wall cafes in Melbourne's famous laneways.

Food & wine

Breakfast in the CBD

Whether it's for weekday wheeling and dealing or a weekend crossword marathon, Melbourne's CBD has a breakfast venue to meet your morning needs.

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Shopping

Whether you're after high fashion, local designers, jewellery, furniture or fine art, find out where to start your spree in Melbourne.