Centre Place, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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City laneways

There's always an exhilarating thrill to be had when entering Melbourne's hive of bustling, creative laneways with their covert boutiques, famed restaurants, hole-in-the-wall cafes and astonishing bars.

Bar finds
Make a break from the mainstream, down alleys covered in stencil work, lightboxes and sculptures that seem to exist only to provide the address for 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 other unassuming 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. Meyer's 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 a boozy dens or caffeine lairs, you're likely to find colourful street art as part of the annual Laneway Commissions. See anything from neon animals in Cocker Alley to video installations in Manchester Lane and paste-ups in Westwood Place.

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 temporary exhibitions, video art at Screen Space, as well as independent art and exceptional opening parties at Utopian Slumps.

Somerset preening
Menfolk who give a hoot about the cut of their jib should make their way to Somerset Place and neighbouring Rankins Lane to Comeback Kid and Captains of Industry for streetwear, bespoke footwear, made-to-measure attire, and good grooming. Ride away with a takeaway coffee and custom wheels from The Little Mule Cycle Company & Cafe.

How to get there
By tram: Any tram along Swanston or Elizabeth streets.

Le Belle Miette, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

La Belle Miette

Pick up a box of dainty French treats from La Belle Miette, purveyor of specialty macarons presented in boxes as tempting as the delicacies inside.

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Utopian Slumps, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Utopian Slumps

A curator-run commercial exhibitions space with a small stable of rising independent artists. Its name, a nod to the highs and lows of gallery life.

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Jungle Juice, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Jungle Juice

Squeezing into Jungle Juice might not be easy, but it's worth it for a filling bagel or bowl of soup, a fancy coffee, and naturally, a fresh juice.

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Pellegrini's, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Pellegrini's

Do your bit to ensure Pellegrini's gets to its centenary as it's a known fact Melbourne would be poorer without its charm and comforting Italian food.

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Captains of Industry, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Captains of Industry

Get a haircut and have a coffee all while getting measured for a bespoke suit. This is a one-stop shop for real gentleman. Grandfather would approve.

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Journal, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Journal

Enjoy an 'intellectual' date of highbrow chat and down-home cooking amid the bookish atmosphere at Journal, where it's ok to eat, drink, and talk.

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Manchester Press, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Manchester Press

Get in line to praise Manchester Press, the huge lucent space softened with old timbers and quirky junkyard installations where coffee reigns supreme.

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Degraves Espresso Bar, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Degraves Espresso Bar

Never tire of the prototypical 'Melbourne cafe', with its laneway location, old-world charm and uncompromising coffee for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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