While there’s a lot to head into the city for this winter, there’s no reason to dilly dally in the drizzle. If you’re looking for something to do between Film Festival sessions or you’ve got time to kill before a visit to the NGV there’s no reason to be left out in the cold. The City of Melbourne has trained their GPS-like knowledge of all things CBD on the laneways and come up with Look.Stop.Shop
. Next time you head out for a gig, exhibition or film, check out this guide and see how you can make the most of your trip out.
It’s no secret to anyone who lives here that Melbourne is chock-full of hidden gems and rough diamonds. We’re not saying you’re going to find precious rocks in on the streets (although that may be possible up the Paris end of Collins St), but there’s no shortage of unique local shops and restaurants if you’re willing to head into the laneways less travelled.
We know that if it was humanly possible, Melbournians would ban cars, sprout two wheels for legs and roll around the city like it ain’t no thing. At least that’s the impression we get from anyone who walks into the Little Mule
. This multi-purpose cafe/bike shop serves up a mean lunch and coffee as well as selling bike gear, and recently they’ve started Laneway Learning
, short (and cheap!) night classes on anything from brewing the perfect coffee to an intro to Bollywood cinema. Great idea if you want to know what the heck a Chemex is or what that Bollywood film showing at MIFF
your friend bought tickets for is all about.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably spent quite a lot of time in front of the TV this winter. Despite what reality shows may lead you to think about Gen Y chicas, there are actually some out there who appreciate the art of being lady-like. Take Lady Petrova
, for instance, whose boutique (lined with flower boxes, no less) occupies a space just off Flinders Lane. Petrova’s signature girly collections also pack just the right amount of punch, enough to impress younger girls and sophisticated ladies alike.
Not to forget the well-mannered gents, head down to Lord Coconut
, purveyor of contemporary men’s jewellery. We’re not too sure who Mr Coconut is, but he has a taste for made to order locally-designed cufflinks, rings chiseled by hand and, for the more risqué gentlemen, expertly designed and made necklaces. For the ladies, we have one piece of fashion advice for you: ‘Follow the big neon pretzel’. Jeweller Lucy Folk
bases her gold and silver jewellery lines on food items, from pretzels to peppercorns, popcorn to pasta. Her little store on Crossley St also ticks all the right boxes: it’s in a laneway, it’s small, it contains unusual (but pretty darn cool) things and, of course, food.
If you’re in the area and you’ve got time to kill before you catch a gig at the Palace Theatre
, grab a table at Von Haus
(book if you don’t want to play musical chairs with other diners) and order one of their hearty meals and some wine to warm those cockles. But while Von Haus is a place for those who enjoy good food and wine and are not afraid to pay for it, those of us with a little more than change in our pockets can wander down to Sister Bella on Sniders Lane (near Melbourne Central), where they serve cheap beers and burgers and pizza around the $10 mark. The fit-out is milk crate-chic and there’s a basketball hoop by the door you can play with, as long as you don’t hit the queue of punters waiting to get into the glitzy club next door.
It might be tempting to rug up at home, but there are plenty of reasons to stay out. If you’re visiting the Napoleon exhibition
at the NGV, continue your night European style with a Beef Bourguignon or Steak Frites (that’s fancy-talk for stew and steak with fries) at The French Brasserie, followed by a beer or two at the European Bier Cafe
. Meanwhile, if you’re game for a late night out, trek up to the SmartBar pop-up for a grown-up excursion to the Melbourne Museum, or rub elbows and break out some moves at the Heavenly Bodies launch party
at the Rooftop Bar. Nothing beats the cold quite like a turn on the d-floor!
Keep an eye out for shops with the Look.Stop.Shop sign next time you’re in town and duck out of the cold to have a squizze at the instore installations by 20 young and emerging designers. For more information on Look.Stop.Shop and a map of the tour visit melbourne.vic.gov.au/winter
WORDS: Delima Shanti