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There'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. 

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. Give your day a kick with a coffee from The Little Mule Cafe, opposite.

Highlights

Laneways

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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.

Patricia

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

Operator 25

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

The League of Honest Coffee

Dust off the morning cobwebs with a caffeine fix from the fine folk at The League of Honest 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.

Manchester Press

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

Krimper

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

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Dining out

Laneways

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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.

Art & culture

Public art

Take the City Circle tram or walk through city streets and laneways and along the Yarra River to see the city's street art and public artworks.

Entertainment

Live music

Variety and energy characterise entertainment and nightlife in Victoria. Melbourne features an ever-changing number of clubs, bars and live music venues.