Melbourne's laneways are narrow enclaves where mainstream culture takes a back seat to allow for one-off boutiques, unique galleries, tiny cafes and hidden bars. 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.
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.
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.
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.