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Lucy reporting from Melbourne...

Monday, 11 October 2010 by Irene Hoofs


Thank you Lucy for writing the great story about your favorite must-see spots in Melbourne area...

"Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) has long been intertwined with narrow lanes and alleyways, largely used as service lanes for the larger buildings and businesses on the main streets.  For a long time, shops and businesses paid premium rent for frontage on these main streets, and the dusty back alleys were largely forgotten.

In recent years, as rent has crept up higher and higher on the main thoroughfares, Melbourne’s laneways have undergone a renaissance. These days, the laneways are full to the brim of smaller, eclectic shops, cafes, and bars.  In fact, the most popular new bars and cafes increasingly position themselves hidden down cobbled streets barely wide enough for a bicycle (let alone a vehicle!), either up or down a dark flight of stairs, and often behind an unmarked door… it appears the more ‘hidden’ the establishment, the more in demand it will be!

{Laneways - Block Place}
Adjoining The Block Arcade is a very cute narrow laneway called Block Place, dotted with lovely little cafes… Café Segovia (at 33 Block Place) is a perfect lunch spot.
Melbourne’s laneways are now prized position for many independent retailers, cashing in on the increase in foot traffic along these once-forgotten back streets.   For anyone visiting Melbourne, I highly recommend a stroll through these laneways…  They give the city so much unique character, and offer an amazing variety of window-shopping and people watching!

***The Block Arcade 

{Douglas and Hope}

{Douglas and Hope quilt, image by Cathy Hope}
Positioned off the main drag of classy Collins St, The Block Arcade incorporates a grand, high-ceiling interior with a select smattering of gorgeous shops including my favourite – Douglas and Hope, which is an Australian company who design and make unique patchwork quilts and cushions using a combination of vintage fabrics, Japanese silks and reproduction prints.  They also sell a beautiful selection of women’s fashions, accessories and homewares.

***Flinders Lane

{Journal Café}
Flinders Lane is home to some beautiful older buildings, including the stunning art deco Nicholas Building (corner of Swanston st and Flinders Lane).  The Nicholas Building is one of the few buildings in the CBD which is still leased out relatively inexpensively as artists studios.
One of the best spots in Flinders Lane is Journal – probably my favourite cafe in the City.  It’s located in the same building as the CAE (Centre for  Adult Education, where you can sign up for short courses in anything from screenprinting to breakdancing), and the City Library.  Journal has lovely food, a great atmosphere, and a really cool interior fit-out .

***Centre Place

{Centre Place}
Centre Place is another very pretty (and very narrow!) laneway adjoining Flinders Lane.  It’s jam-packed with every kind of lunchspot you can imagine (ie Italian, Japanese, Juice bar, Soup bar etc).  Some of Melbourne’s best street art and stencil graffitti grace the walls of this extremely popular little laneway.
Centre place is also home to The Majorca Building (corner Flinders Lane and Centre Place), which is another beautiful art deco building. It’s largely residential, but ALSO tourists can rent an apartment in the Majorca Building for quite reasonable rates – info and lots of lovely photos here:

***Degraves st

{Little Cupcakes}

{Little Cupcakes}
Degraves st is home to even more great snack spots! (Feeling hungry yet?)  The absolute best for lunch or coffee is Degraves Espresso (at 21 Degraves st), no question.  Also, Little Cupcakes (shop 7, 250 Flinders st - is a relatively new addition to this lively little strip, where you can select the tiniest, prettiest cupcakes to snack on. 

***Hosier Lane
{Movida Bar de Tapas Y Vino}
This cobbled laneway leads from Flinders Lane down towards the City’s main meeting point – Federation Square .  The best spot in this little alley is Movida, at number 1 Hosier Lane. Melbourne’s longest-standing and ever-popular tapas restaurant.  (Make a booking – or try your luck for a spot at the bar).  The food is sensational, and the atmosphere truly international(!).

{Hosier Lane grafitti}
Hosier Lane is home to more of Melbourne’s famed street art/grafitti, and is also one of the sites for City Lights (the other site being Centre Place – mentioned earlier).  City Lights is an ongoing project where lightboxes installed along the laneway wall illuminate artworks by local and international artists.

Thank you...Lucy Feagins form the Design Files...

{originally posted on May 9, 2008}

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