Not surprisingly, given Melbourne's reputation for its "laneway culture," many of the best cafes can be found in the city's winding backstreets. If you are looking for a great CBD cafe, or a cafe in the city's central business district, consider stopping by one of these spots.
Every one of them, in addition to delicious food, offers something truly special. Any of these fantastic spots would be ideal for unwinding and making the most of your time in Melbourne.
Many people in Melbourne frequent the laneway cafes. Coffee shops are popular for a good reason; whether you're looking for a satisfying beverage or food item, this is the place to go. To make matters more complicated, there are numerous cafes and alleyways to choose from. Good thing help is at hand from us. Melbourne's CBD is home to many wonderful laneway cafes, and we've compiled a list of some of the best (CBD). Enjoy!
Best Laneway Cafes in Melbourne
Melbourne is well-known for its excellent coffee and cosy cafes tucked away in hidden alleys. The latter are sometimes challenging to locate, but they consistently serve the excellent coffee we discussed earlier.
Here, we feature a few of our favourite shady laneway hangouts where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and some peace and quiet.
Rustica Canteen is hidden in the maze of red bricks behind Queen Street, but if you just follow the people, you'll find it in no time. Despite this, it is still the original restaurant where everything began. At this laid-back industrial hangout, you can get a peppered brisket sandwich that will blow your mind in addition to some seriously good sourdough and epic cronuts. You should probably get there before 12:30 because it will be jam-packed by then.
Their slogan, "decadence without the guilt," is a perfect description of the Raw Trader brand. We're well aware that this doesn't do much to promote the business, but you'd be surprised at what they can whip up without resorting to questionable ingredients.
Almond snickers cake's popularity stands out as an example of this. A word of caution is in order, though, as the cafe is officially a "gluten-free zone." The manager will have words with anyone who brings in doughnuts from the Shortstop.
Please let us know if there is a cafe in Melbourne that is more well-liked on Instagram. A prominent Tripadvisor mention has done wonders for Hardware Société's popularity among foreign tourists. Waiting for a table may be inconvenient, but it's well worth it.
As an alternative, try some of our baked eggs. Just what your shopping habit needs. The Paris location is part of Société's plan to expand the company's reach. Ooh, la…
As the name of the street suggests, Hardware Society is located at the terminus of Hardware Street. Cafés and restaurants line Hardware Lane, which is itself packed to capacity. Because of the kitchen's emphasis on French and European cuisine, you won't be limited to the usual breakfast fare. Seeing as how this bad boy isn't exactly top secret, you'll likely have to wait until the weekend. Get there as soon as you can if you need to. Its address is 120 Hardware Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
If you're craving a CBD bagel, do you have to decide between 5 & Dime and Schmucks? Schmucks' hot cross bun bagels with melted butter are delicious, but we think 5 & Dime is the best bagel shop in town.
Their hot, piping jalapeno and cheese bagel with an inch of smooth cream cheese inside gets most of the praise. Without a doubt, this is one of the city's tastiest breakfast snacks, and for only five pounds, you'll even get a refund.
Centre Place is our favourite alley in the entire city, and Jungle Juice is our favourite eatery on the strip.
Club Sandwiches have lost some of their lustre over the years due to their association with golf courses and perceived tactlessness, but this particular Club may be the one to redeem the category.
Although it is on the smaller side, this place knows its juices inside and out, as the name suggests. Most of the time, if you keep switching, you'll get a different result. If you can find a seat in this tiny establishment, you should get a bagel with your juice, but if not, you should order takeout. Street Address: 20 Centre Place, Melbourne
Authentic crepes are a local delicacy in Aix. This eatery can be found in Centre Place. John, the owner, is still behind the counter, spinning thin rounds of dough on massive black hotplates like he has done for years.
No matter what time of day it is, you will be greeted with a warm smile and an enthusiastic "Bonjour." You can people-watch while enjoying a large serving of bananas and Nutella at the tiny table in front of the counter. Positive emotions are present at the moment.
Finding a "quiet time" to visit Manchester Press does not exist. This place is jumping from 7:30 in the morning until it closes at midnight. Coffee is the country's main product and claim to fame (a priceless commodity in the CBD). 8oz Coffee Roasters provides the coffee for the proprietors, Nir Kalif and Issy Shaked. In order to maintain interest, they also provide a rotating selection of single-origin and batch brews.
It's going to be tough to get a table during lunch because the place will be packed with businesspeople in suits and starving students with no money. There aren't many options, but bagels are a mainstay of the menu.
Once you have plush seats, plenty of space to stretch out, and delicious bagels, what more could you ask for? After braving the chaos of Little Bourke Street, you'll appreciate the calm and spaciousness of the Manchester Press, which was once a gallery. In my opinion, they are the best option because they have around ten different kinds of bagels to choose from. The rolling door is dangerous, so be careful, but do enter. Location: 8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne, Australia
Up some steps off of Somerset Place is where you'll find the bar known as Captains of Industry. Captains is what the locals refer to it as.
The interior is decorated in warm timber with a vintage touch, and the chalkboard menu usually features a rotating list of sandwiches and occasionally sweets, making this a favourite spot for us to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
In a quiet, underground sort of way, Little Mule, a bike shop and cafe, is well-known for its steaming cups of Proud Mary coffee, fresh seasonal salads, and late-night jaffles. Just as long as you're on Somerset Place, you might as well pop into Little Mule.
At nightfall, it transforms into a cosy laneway bar where you can enjoy wine, cocktails, and even some obscure beers. Customers are mostly startup entrepreneurs and RMIT study groups
Cup Of Truth
Although it is not technically a laneway, we still refer to it as such due to its narrow width and potential for being missed. Flinders Street station and Degraves Street are connected by a subway underpass that is also home to a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop called Cup Of Truth (near the Sticky Institute).
The cafe may be small, but it has won a prestigious award: in 2013, barista Courtney Patterson was named Best Barista by The Age Good Food Guide Awards. A welcome respite for city dwellers on their way to and from work.
Atmosphere is breezy and light, service is friendly, and the Noisette pastries for sale at the counter are delectable. Those magically flaky almond croissants are a must-try.
These guys are coffee experts; they were on the teams that created Padre and the Brunswick East Project. It's likely that you'll have more than one place of origin to choose from each morning. Noisette pastries are offered as a starter on the menu, which is otherwise quite limited. However, what truly separates this establishment from its rivals is the quality of the beer and the relaxed vibe created by the friendly staff and comfortable setting. Melbourne, Australia, 8 Exploration Lane
As Matt Bax's laneway cafe and European-style aperitif bar, Bar Americano only has standing room, there is no seating available (the guy behind Bar Economico and Bar Exuberance). It's not a good place to grab a bite to eat during the workday because everyone is too busy getting a shot of caffeine. To order a double shot of espresso and an almond biscotti. It becomes a charming cocktail lounge in the evening, complete with bartenders who shake gin sours while exuding an air of faux-coolness.
In addition to being well-known for its serious cocktails, this little sister of Der Raum (and we do mean little) is a great spot to grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. Only ten people can stand here, so don't expect to be here for very long. In homage to Harry's Bar on the Grand Canal in Venice, the staff at Bar Americano now enjoy their drinks while walking around the bar. You'll need to explore not just one, but two alleys to reach it, but once you do, friendly locals will be happy to point you in the right direction at any time of day or night. Melbourne, Australia; 20 Presgrave Place
In the shadows of Melbourne's alleyways, Krimper has every right to be a bit rough around the edges. Since this establishment has a modest background that spans decades, you will need to enter through a worn-out door that emphasises there is "absolutely no admission." You can expect to find both real coffee and real people behind it, including the infamous Red Eye, considered by many to be the mother of all coffee.
Switchboard does not provide a large variety of seating options. Whether you choose to join the queue for some of Melbourne's best coffee or to relax on one of the wooden benches outside, you'll have your pick of places to rest while you wait. As an added bonus, you can also purchase toasties and freshly baked cakes here. Yum.
An establishment serving Seinfeld-themed jaffles in the heart of the Central Business District? In a word, yes. Even if you've walked by Kinship a dozen times before, now is a good time to stop in and sample some of their Industry Beans roast and Butterbing cookies.
Goran Bozinovski and Matt Cavanagh, the proprietors, have compiled an astute little jaffle list. The Kramer is loaded with pastrami, sauerkraut, and pickles, while The Jerry features neat honey leg ham and Swiss cheese, and The Susan is loaded with bananas and Nutella for a sweet treat. You should also take a look at the growing collection of sneakers owned by Goran and Matt, which has its own designated shelf (a legacy of their budget fit-out).
Corner & Bench
Office workers in the Central Business District often stop by Corner & Bench for lunch or a midmorning coffee break because it's a convenient place to get something hot, tasty, and relatively healthy. With its corner location on Hardware Lane, it is on the verge of being classified as a laneway (at least compared to the Maccas across the street).
There are a lot of doughnut fans, but Shortstop only has a few seats inside, so they all sit on the sidewalk of Sutherland Street and eat their fill while grinning widely. Even though the menu changes daily, you can always count on getting either their legendary Early Grey or a traditional glazed.
Look out for out-there flavour combinations like peanut butter and banana, or red velvet made with beetroot and dark chocolate. You should not waste your time visiting Shortstop any later than 3 in the afternoon, as this is when it closes for the day. The best stuff was probably taken a long time ago. If you want a double shot of espresso and the best doughnut you've ever had, you need to be there first thing in the morning.
Little Rogue has a bright blue door that stands out on Drewery Lane, and its interior is airy and well-lit thanks to a sizable light well placed close to the espresso machine. In the warmer months, cool off with a refreshing iced beverage and a bag of Small Batch Candyman beans.
They have also teamed up with the guys at Penny For Pound to offer a fantastic selection of baked goods and tasty treats. This is an acceptable place to stop before work if you need a sugar and caffeine boost. When you find donuts filled with dark chocolate and raspberry, don't let the opportunity pass.
Vertue of the Coffee Drink
Melbourne's winding lanes and deceptive facades make for a challenging game of hide and seek, but one of the city's most charming cafes ups the ante. You'll find the entrance to Vertue of the Coffee Drink (yes, that is how it is spelt, thank you) in a rusty parking lot; inside, you'll find perforated geometric lanterns and exposed brick walls. Micro-roasters have extensive knowledge of coffee culture.
The exterior of Cibi is not particularly aesthetically pleasing, what with its weathered chairs, rusted tables, and faded paint. Cibi's on Keele Street in Collingwood may be under the radar, but the Japanese fare it serves is some of Melbourne's best. The dining establishment's decor is unpretentious and spotless. Get away from the chaos of Melbourne for the afternoon at this charming café, which serves only fresh, in-season ingredients.
Some of the best local fare in all of Melbourne can be found at Northcote's Red Door Corner Store. Of course, the entire café is painted in bright shades of red, but the café's relaxed milk bar vibe is what keeps it busy well into the early morning hours in Melbourne.
Silo by Joost
Joost Bakker, a committed environmental entrepreneur, created Silo by Joost without creating any waste. Tossing used napkins or food scraps into the trash can here is not permitted. In the back, we use the dehydrator to preserve them for later use.
As far as menus go, this one is short and to the point. It boils down to a breakfast of spoiled-hen eggs, toast, and oatmeal. Food and drinks made with local ingredients are available until the wee hours. Silo is an eco-friendly restaurant where you can get a head start on saving the planet while having breakfast. Australia; Melbourne; 123 Hardware Street
It's hard not to imagine yourself curling up with a copy of Jane Austen or F. Scott Fitzgerald while sipping your morning espresso at this cosy coffee shop, which also happens to share space with the City Library. The large round table in the middle of the room gives the impression that everyone there knows each other through mutual acquaintances.
You can expect simple breakfast fare that has been expertly prepared. Also, from sweet to savoury, they offer six unique bruschetta varieties. Caf Journal, 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
The pastry chef spent many years honing her craft in Paris, so you can expect a French flavour. In case you're not in the mood for something sweet, there is a range of baguettes and hot breakfast options to choose from. Location: behind 285 and 287 Coventry Street, in the South Melbourne neighbourhood
The great coffee and cosy cafes that can be found down Melbourne's many backstreets have made the city famous. One of the best places to find a cafe is in one of the city's many narrow alleyways. Listed below are some of our favourite seedy alleyway watering holes. Because of their association with golf courses, club sandwiches have lost some of their lustre. Hardware Lane, lined with cafes and eateries, is bursting at the seams.
Nir Kalif and Issy Shaked, the business's owners, get their coffee from 8oz Coffee Roasters. The steaming cups of Proud Mary coffee at Little Mule, a bike shop and cafe, are legendary. At night, Captains of Industry becomes a cosy laneway bar. Bar Americano, a coffee shop, and aperitif bar in the European tradition are two of Melbourne's less well-known coffee establishments. The Noisette pastries at the League of Dishonest Coffee Drinkers are delicious, and the café itself is airy and relaxing.
Explore Goran and Matt Cavanagh's ever-expanding sneaker collection while snacking on some delicious jaffles from Kinship. To get the best doughnut and a double shot of espresso in the morning, stop by Shortstop first thing. A sizable light well by the espresso machine makes Little Rogue bright and airy. Geometric perforations decorate the lanterns at Vertue of the Coffee Drink, and the walls are made of brick. There's no better way to start your day than with a healthy breakfast at Silo, an eco-friendly restaurant. In Northcote, at the Red Door Corner Store, you can get seasonal, locally sourced food.
- Melbourne is known for its "laneway culture," so it's no surprise that many of the best cafes are hidden away in the city's mazelike alleyways.
- The laneway cafes of Melbourne are popular gathering places for the city's inhabitants.
- We've rounded up a few of the best laneway cafes in Melbourne's central business district (CBD).
- If you know of a cafe in Melbourne that has garnered more Instagram followers, please let us know.
- The opening of a branch in Paris is a step towards Société's ultimate goal of global expansion.
- Exactly where Hardware Street "ends" is at Hardware Society, as suggested by the street's name.
- The Manchester Press, formerly a gallery, offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Little Bourke Street.
- Little Mule, a bike shop and cafe located in a more subdued part of the Central Business District, is famous for its late-night jaffles, seasonal salads, and steaming cups of Proud Mary coffee.
- Cup Of Truth is a hole-in-the-wall cafe located in a subway underpass that connects Flinders Street station and Degraves Street (near the Sticky Institute).
- Even though the cafe is relatively modest in size, it has been recognised for its excellence: in 2013, barista Courtney Patterson was named Best Barista by The Age Good Food Guide Awards.
- In Melbourne, Down Under, Road to Discovery, No. 8 It's the Americano BarCBDAs Matt Bax's laneway cafe and European-style aperitif bar, Bar Americano only has standing room, there is no seating available (the guy behind Bar Economico and Bar Exuberance) (the guy behind Bar Economico and Bar Exuberance).
- Workers at Bar Americano now drink while milling about the bar, a nod to Harry's Bar on the Grand Canal in Venice.
- Office workers in the Central Business District often stop by Corner & Bench for lunch or a midmorning coffee break because it's a convenient place to get something hot, tasty, and relatively healthy.
- You'll find the entrance to Vertue of the Coffee Drink (yes, that is how it is spelt, thank you) in a rusty parking lot; inside, you'll find perforated geometric lanterns and exposed brick walls.
- Cibi's on Keele Street in Collingwood may be under the radar, but the Japanese fare it serves is some of Melbourne's best.
- Joost Bakker, a committed environmental entrepreneur, created Silo by Joost without creating any waste.
- Silo is an eco-friendly restaurant where you can get a head start on saving the planet while having breakfast.
FAQs About Melbourne Cafes
Melbourne's best laneways and arcades
- AC/DC Lane. Melbourne might be awash with cute laneways, but the one that'll leave you 'thunderstruck' is AC/DC Lane.
- Centre Place.
- Hardware Lane.
- Block Arcade.
- Degraves Street.
- Cathedral Arcade.
- Hosier Lane.
- Tattersalls Lane.
Melbourne is known globally for its coffee obsession. It offers more than 2,000 cafés as well as some of the world's best baristas.
Melbourne's laneways began as rear access to properties with frontage on the main streets, with many later being roofed as 'arcades' to provide refuge from inclement weather and crowds. Melbourne laneways are well-known for rich art culture, one-off boutiques, unique galleries, tiny cafés and hidden bars.
The Central Business District (CBD) of Melbourne, Australia, is home to numerous lanes and arcades. Often called "laneways", these narrow streets and pedestrian paths date mostly from the Victorian era and are a popular cultural attraction for cafes, bars and street art.
Melbourne Laneways History
The laneways, or “little streets,” of Melbourne's central business district (or CBD) originated in the Victorian era and were used at the time as lanes for horses and carts.