Curtin House & Nicholas Building
When you've exhausted the drinking dens, subterranean restaurants and witty street art of Melbourne's laneways, what else is there to do but go up?
The city's Curtin House and Nicholas Building have been characterised as vertical laneways, boasting the requisite boutiques, bars and eateries, but both adding distinctly quirky stamps to the scene.
The perfect fit of fine craftsmanship
Nicholas Building is where you go for the perfect fit. The veteran lifts in the Nicholas Building will take you back in time, and deliver you to floor after floor of studios, galleries and curiosities. Find craftspeople making the finest made-to-measure shoes, couture, hats and jewellery. Dig around for collectable buttons, and stumble upon breathtaking kimonos. Check out the surprises in store at Blindside artist-run gallery.
You won't always have access to the busy studios within the Nicholas Building, but schedule in a visit during the regular Open Studio days and plant your peepers on all the tools of the trades.
Raise the roof
Tackle the stairs at Curtin House (often faster than queuing for the lift) and emerge into a scene reminiscent of 1970s New York, with city kids lounging on sultry rooftops. Brave the elements and stop by for a drink, and during summer it's a rite of passage to stick around to watch movies illuminated by Melbourne's skyscrapers.
Work your way down from the rooftop through the levels of what appears to be a hipster ant colony. Spy on the soldier ants training at the Wing Chun Bing Fa Kung Fu and the drinker ants who swarm Cookie and Toff in Town at any opportunity.
Even ants need to look the part. Spend your hard-earned on threads from Someday and Bul and specialty books from Metropolis.