In the Gothic laneways winding between Melbourne’s grid of perfectly ordered city streets, you’ll be able to unlock the real character and charm of the city. Home to a rich art culture, one-off boutiques and a range of local eateries from high-end dining to late-night nibbles, Melbourne laneway food make these back streets the perfect place to sit back and watch the world go by.
Every laneway is home to some excellent restaurants and bars, so it can seem like an impossible task choosing which one to check out first. We’ve made the process a little easier for you. Here are our four favorite Melbourne laneways for food and drink. Enjoy!
One of the most popular laneways, Centre Place is more photographed than any other. It’s no surprise, really. Lined with charming hole-in-the-wall cafes, as you walk through the back-streets of Centre Place you’ll be transported back to Continental Europe.
If it’s your first time visiting Centre Place, head down at lunchtime. All the best food spots are open, such as The Soup Place, serving a wide range of soups from small, rustic cauldrons; Jungle Juice, the place to go for a variety of fresh juices and tasty bagels; Café Vicolino, the place to be for wraps, paninis and other light lunch options; and Aix Creperie, to treat yourself with a selection of sweet and savoury crepes. Pick sweet. Trust us.
“What’s the deal with the name?” Is usually the first thing people say when they hear about AC/DC lane. Melbourne immortalized the moment the famous rock band rode down Swanston Street on a truck to film a scene for It’s a Long Way to the Top by renaming the lane after them. Unfortunately, the band doesn’t perform there. Cherry, a hugely popular live music venue, is the place to go if you wanna rock ‘n roll.
At the bottom of the alleyway, you’ll find the Peruvian restaurant Pastuso, boasting a huge open-space dining area with distinctively colored floor tiles, they serve some of the finest ceviche in the city. Follow the laneway round the bend and you’ll find Tonka, a restaurant serving up authentic Indian cuisine with a contemporary twist. Finish the evening off with a tipple at Mary Fortune, a trendy wine bar paying homage to Melbourne’s first ever female crime writer.
Meyer’s Place has a great sample of what the Melbourne laneway food and bar scene has to offer. The city’s oldest laneway bar, Meyers Place, is a favorite for those looking to take an alcohol-driven history lesson.
Loop Bar is a hip spot doubling up as an arts venue, hosting regular music gigs and film events. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat with a view, Loop Roof is the area’s coolest cocktail bar and restaurant with jaw-dropping city views. The longest-serving eatery here is the Waiters Club, which has been serving authentic, simple Italian dishes since the 1940s.
It’s easy to mistake Hardware Lane for a tourist trap. With brick-paving, it’s a little less old-school than the others mentioned on this list. But the outdoor seating surrounded by old warehouses serves as an atmospheric place to eat.
If you head to Hardware Lane at night, you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of live music with your food and drink. Amigos serves authentic Mexican cuisine with a wide range of tequilas and tapas options for if you fancy something small. II Nostro Posto is another great Italian eatery, while Aloi Na will satisfy your Asian cravings with some next-level Thai food. If you desire something a little more intimate and romantic, the Golden Monkey is perfect, with a glamorous, candlelit dining room. The Campari House’s rooftop bar is the best place to end your journey with a pizza and a cold beer. Cheers to that!