The hottest laneway haunts of Melbourne

Some of Melbourne's coolest bars and restaurants are hidden down the city's laneways – here's where to find them.

Whitehart bar is hard to spot but worth the hunt.
  • Larissa Dubecki
  • April 2019

There are some very hip bars and eateries to be found in some of the most unlikely places around Melbourne opens in new window’s CBD. The alleyways might be known for awesome street art but look harder and you just might find tasty cocktails and snacks, too. Join the cool kids at these hotspots.

Whitehart Bar

A shipping container bar hidden down an obscure laneway? Yes, Whitehart Bar opens in new window doubles down on two Melbourne tropes and comes up smiling. Set your GPS for this former car park lurking off Little Bourke Street in the CBD’s lower reaches and you’ll find the indoor-outdoor venue of your dreams, complete with DJ sets and innovative cocktails.

Arlechin

It took the Grossi family years to realise the gem lurking behind their flagship restaurant Florentino but the magnificently moody makeover of their wine cellar into one of the CBD’s best laneway bars is reason enough to forgive the delay. Head to Arlechin opens in new window on Mornane Place for best-in-show cocktails and the midnight spaghetti, which comes out punching with capers and colatura (an umami-rich fermented anchovy sauce).

Arlechin Bar is Melbourne's secret speakeasy
Arlechin Bar is Melbourne's secret speakeasy.

Sunda

Tucked down Punch Lane at the top end of Chinatown, Sunda opens in new window is wowing the crowds and critics alike with a menu that combines Vietnamese, Malaysian and Indonesian influences. Don’t miss the roti with Vegemite curry – the cultural mash-up that’s taken the city by storm.

Curious visitors will love Sunda's roti with Vegemite curry
Curious visitors will love Sunda's roti with Vegemite curry.

Bar Tini

A Spanish pit stop amid the street art of Hosier Lane, Bar Tini’s opens in new window drawcards are equal parts snacks and drinks. Colonise a bar stool, order a vermouth or gazpacho bloody Mary and get stuck into the house-cured seafood. It’s an authentic slice of Iberian life in the heart of the CBD.


Bar Americano

It’s standing room only at this cocktail bar tucked down an alley off an alley (Presgrave Place) – but that’s part of the charm of Bar Americano opens in new window, where aficionados imbibe classics like the Chicago Fizz and Old Cuban.